Carolyn Niehaus: Be part of the solution |

Carolyn Niehaus: Be part of the solution

Carolyn Niehaus
Submitted to The Union

In the beginning, there were two.

Ten arrived Monday morning. Ten, five and seven-week old kittens. Ten adorable kittens infested with fleas and ear mites. Ten of another 20 kittens still being nursed by at least eight breeding females. Ten of probably 40 adult females, adult males and kittens. Ten that would have been lost to predators or that would have begun breeding at five or six months of age — adding to the growing number of cats.

Ten that were the result of someone not being responsible for two unaltered cats in the beginning.

Now the situation is out of control. Someone wanting to be part of the solution to too many homeless animals, finally stepped in and contacted AnimalSave for help.

An appointment was set for the person to bring the ten kittens to AnimalSave to be relinquished to its Foster/Adoption Program. Foster families were lined up to keep the kittens until they are old enough to be spayed and neutered and available for adoption. Staff and volunteers weighed the 10 kittens and evaluated them for disease. They were treated for parasites, vaccinated, combed for the worst of the fleas, and had their ears cleaned to remove the itchy residue from the ear mites. Following all that handling, the 10 kittens were happy to receive water and food and nap in clean, warm bedding while waiting for the generous folks who foster for AnimalSave to arrive to take them home.

As part of our agreement to take these 10 kittens, and probably 20 more that are still nursing, we wanted to make sure the adult cats were spayed and neutered. A female cat can have three litters a year starting at six-months of age. Each of those three litters can produce five or more kittens each year. A single female cat can have 15 or more kittens every year. Over a breeding life span of six years or more, that means she can produce almost one hundred offspring that start reproducing at six months of age! Multiply that by the 10 kittens we took in on Monday and you have 1,000 cats that could have continued to reproduce had AnimalSave not been able to intervene.

Six of the adult breeding females are scheduled to be spayed on Friday at AnimalSave’s Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic. Because of AnimalSave’s low surgery fee and with assistance from Sammie’s Friends Cat Crisis Voucher Program, the cost to spay these six female cats will be covered. The result will be 600 fewer kittens born to live difficult lives in the wild, reproduce or enter the shelter system.

This is just one of many true stories AnimalSave gets involved with as we try to reduce dog and cat overpopulation and the number of homeless animals coming to AnimalSave, other rescue organizations and our local shelters each and every year. Please consider donating to this important work and make sure you are part of the solution by spaying and neutering your own animals at an early age.

AnimalSave’s Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic has been operating since 2008 and has altered over 18,000 dogs, cats and rabbits. This service has greatly reduced the number of homeless animals in our community. For more information about the spay/neuter clinic or to make an appointment, please call 530-477-1706 or go to

For more information about AnimalSave’s Foster/Adoption Program, its volunteer opportunities or ways to donate, please contact or 530-271-7071 x 201.

Carolyn Niehaus is executive director at AnimalSave.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.