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Warm weather brings its own problems for free-roaming animals

The end is in sight. We’re just a couple weeks away from the promise of warm weather and long hours of daylight!

Personally, this is a great relief, but as far as the shelter is concerned, I know it means that it will be pouring cats and kittens and that there will be very long days indeed. On that note, this is the time to take care of any pets that need to be fixed and help prevent all those litters of kittens that are so hard to find homes for. We have also had very soggy weather for the last several months, which may cause an uptick in disease and parasites in outdoor animals. Last year proved particularly problematic for cats and kittens with the feline version of the Parvovirus known as Panleukopenia, which is almost always fatal for them.

There are ways to prevent the overpopulation and disease problems, and in this case, that old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” could never be more true. If you have intact free-roaming or feral cats in your neighborhood or around your property, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be finding a litter of kittens under your porch or behind your shed or any other area where they can protect their young from the elements.

This does not mean that you have to remove them! This is your chance to be a hero. Seriously, I know it may seem like a hassle, but a little effort and a small investment in even one cat, can save countless lives. There are low-cost spay and neuter clinics available to you in Cumberland, Gloucester, Atlantic and Cape May counties; even if you are not using our clinic here at the shelter, we are happy to help you find the one that’s most convenient for you.

One of the biggest problems with free-roaming and feral cats is that no one person takes responsibility for them, especially in neighborhoods where they may frequent many backyards and multiple people may be feeding them. Even if a cat is not technically yours, when it is being allowed to roam free and it is capable of reproducing, it’s everybody’s problem. Don’t hesitate to take the bull by the horns and do the right thing. Fixing them also eliminates many of the behavior problems that people take offense to — no more kittens, no more spraying, no more raucous mating behaviors.

I also want to remind you that there are only a couple of weeks left to get your pet’s license or renew the current one. March 31 is the deadline for almost every municipality. Dogs six months and over must have a current rabies vaccine and be licensed. Cats must be licensed in the city of Vineland. Please check with your municipal offices for other town’s requirements. The county health department still has free rabies vaccine clinics available to all residents over the next three Saturdays in five different locations. Check the list below for the one closest to you.

  • Saturday, March 16, Maurice River Township. 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - Leesburg Fire Hall 550 Main Street, Leesburg
  • Saturday, March 23, Deerfield Township Municipal Bldg 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. -  736 Landis Avenue, Rosenhayn
  • Cumberland County Fairgrounds 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. - Carmel Road, Millville
  • Saturday, March 30, Bridgeton Fire Hall 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Orange Street, Bridgeton
  • Hopewell Municipal Building 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Source: Warm weather brings its own problems for free-roaming animals

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