MISSOULA – It’s a sure sign of Spring — kittens. Lots and lots of kittens.
Even though one Missoula shelter is up to its eyeballs in them, it knows that each kitten it saves is one less cat that ends up in a feral colony.
There are kittens galore at Missoula’s AniMeals No Kill Adoption Shelter — 61 to be exact.
The animals came from mother cats living in one of Missoula County’s many feral cat colonies.
AniMeals monitors more than 40 of those colonies but there are so many that it’s hard to get an accurate count of how many exist.
“Two cats show up on your property, unaltered — boom! And you’ve got, in a very short period of time, lots and lots of kittens,” AniMeals founder Karyn Moltzen said.
“And if they’re not alerted, then you have kittens having kittens because they can get pregnant at four months,” she added.
It’s a baby boom that happens every year but in this case, the cats came from a feral colony in Missoula where AniMeals employees went in with their trap, neuter and release program.
The pregnant mothers had their babies here and now their kittens are available for adoption”
AniMeals employees caught 43 cats in that colony and three were pregnant, so the shelter had to create five different nurseries to house the babies.
Once they’re weaned, socialized and given a clean bill of health, they’re ready for real homes. After all, life in a cat colony isn’t easy.
“It’s really a sad situation and if these cats don’t have food shelter and water, the odds of them of making it to their first year are slim, very slim,” Moltzen told MTN News.
AniMeals hopes to continue its mission with the Building for our Friends (BFF) project. Their current facility is in a 50-year-old warehouse that’s currently for sale and the capital campaign is raising money for a new facility.
Moltzen says she hopes to find homes for their new bundles of fur while continuing to rescue, feed and heal the rest.
Reporting by Jill Valley for MTN News