Beginning in late March/early April and extending through October, thousands of kittens are abandoned to New York City shelters each year (millions nationwide). And those are the lucky ones… Millions more will face the fate of a harsh life of outdoor living, some with eye infections that, if treated, could be cured – but left untreated will result in blindness.

If you think that you do not have time for a pet, but you have a little extra space in your home and some love to share, why not consider becoming a foster parent? With the arrival of kitten season, animal shelters and rescue organizations are flooded with kittens that cannot be put up for adoption until they are eight weeks old. These groups rely on the assistance of volunteer foster parents to save lives by providing temporary care. You and your family can help.

In New York City, 84% of the felines that enter Animal Care Centers of NYC during this period are kittens. All these at-risk kittens make up a large part of the roughly 3.2 million cats entering shelters each year, of which, approximately 860,000 are euthanized.

Shelters across the country have made incredible strides in recent years to help decrease feline euthanasia rates. The Million Cat Challenge – a collaborative effort launched in 2014 to save a million shelter cats in five years – is just one example of an innovative approach to tackle this problem. Together, more than 1,000 shelters in North America helped decrease feline euthanasia by 63%, surpassing the goal of saving 1 million cats ahead of schedule.

But there is still so much work to be done and you can help. If you have room in your heart and your home and want to help, reach out to your local animal shelter, and tell them that you want to be a foster parent. You can also always contact me for guidance or assistance at [email protected].

At a time when most of us are feeling somewhat helpless, we each have the power to be helpful in a beautiful way. Please, if you let your own cat go outdoors, make sure it is spayed or neutered. There are so many beautiful cats in need of a forever home, and it is negligent to allow an unfixed cat to contribute to the over-population of cats and kittens. If you allow your own cat to have kittens, and you then find homes for those kittens, just remember that the person who adopted your kitten may have helped one that will instead face hot summers without the benefit of flea and tick protection, and cold harsh winters. We can all make a difference in reducing that likelihood by doing something to help!

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Article by Diana Clemente

Diana Clemente is President of the Black Car Assistance Corporation and Big Apple Car.

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