Jacksonville shelters declare 'kitten crisis,' ask public for help

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a record number of underage kittens arrived at area shelters last year, the Jacksonville Humane Society and Animal Care and Protective Services are seeking community support to help reduce the birth of kittens in Jacksonville.

The number of underage kittens arriving at both shelters has risen substantially each year since 2015. In 2018, 7,604 kittens were given to ACPS and JHS combined.

Data from 2018 reveals that the greatest source of kittens is free-roaming, unaltered cats. This includes owned cats who are given access to the outdoors and community cats who may not have a traditional owner, but are being fed by a good Samaritan. Community cats may also be unsocialized with humans making it more difficult to know of their presence and get them fixed.

Underage kittens are the most fragile population in shelters and require extra time, labor and resources that are not always available. JHS and ACPS are asking the community to take advantage of low-cost and free options for spay/neuter to help reduce the cat population. 

Both organizations are urging those who feed and/or own cats not to wait. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends[1] that cats have spay/neuter surgery before they reach five months for their own health benefits, to prevent reproduction and to help with community population control.

The following options are available in our area:

  • The Jacksonville Humane Society offers affordable spay/neuter for cats, ranging from $45-60, at our location on Beach Blvd.  Appointments are required; please call 904.493.4611 to schedule or visit jaxhumane.org. 
  • Duval Cat Fix – This program, funded by City of Jacksonville pet licensure fees, provides for up to 6 pet or community cats to be spayed or neutered per resident. This program is facilitated by First Coast No More Homeless Pets at 6817 Norwood Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32208. For more information, please call 904.425.0005 or visit fcnmhp.org. This program is while funding lasts.
  • SpayJax is an income-based program for free spay and neuter, available to pet owners in Jacksonville, also made possible by City of Jacksonville licensure fees. First Coast No More Homeless Pets also facilitates this program. For more information, please call 904.425.0005 or visit fcnmhp.org.

“The rising number of kittens entering shelters in Jacksonville is outpacing our capacity to care for them,” said Denise Deisler, CEO of the Jacksonville Humane Society. “We depend on our community’s compassion to resolve urgent animal issues. We need their help now more than ever. By starting with spay and neuter, we can save these precious lives.”

For more information on how to help with the kitten crisis, visit jaxhumane.org/kittenhelp.

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