Daylight isn’t the only thing in greater abundance this time of year. Thousands of kittens could soon be roaming the streets of Delaware as temperatures rise and stray cats start their spring breeding.
But one local nonprofit is trying to curb the spread of these free-roaming felines.
A $50,000 grant from PetSmart will allow the nonprofit Forgotten Cats to sterilize and vaccinate 1,000 stray cats in Sussex County.
"With that 1,000 we will be able to prevent the birth of 100,000 cats,” said Felicia Cross, executive director of Forgotten Cats, which traps, neuters, vaccinates and releases strays into managed colonies.
One stray cat can have up 20 kittens in a single year. And those kittens can have their own babies three months after being born.
Cross said stray cat populations can quickly outgrow the available food source, leaving many kittens to die of starvation.
Others end up in shelters where they displace house cats looking for adoption and, in many cases, get euthanized.
Late winter is a critical time to sterilize cats, according to Cross. Females go into heat and start breeding as soon as February.
“It’s really important to do this now, because once the kittens are born you’re trapping a mom, plus kittens,” Cross said.
The trapping and neutering has already started and should be done in the next three months.
It’s taking place across Sussex County, except for in Seaford, Lewes and Georgetown, which already have their own programs in place.
A similar effort in New Castle County this past summer reduced the stray cat population there by an estimated 35 percent.
Delaware Delaware call line for anyone hoping to have stray cats sterilized: 302-429-0124
Learn more HERE.