Penn Vet Expert Says Spring is Critical Adoption Season for Cats

It is spring, the weather is warming, flowers are blooming, and the city's feral cat population is about to explode. Veterinarians and shelter workers are once again bracing for this yearly phenomenon that stretches animal care facilities to their limits. 

“During the peak season, there’s upwards of 3,200 cats a month coming into the shelter,” says Dr. Michael Moyer, the Rosenthal Director of Shelter Medicine at Penn’s School of Veterinarian Medicine. “That’s 100 cats a day coming into one facility in Hunting Park, Philadelphia.”

For animal shelters, like the Animal Care and Control Center of Philadelphia, where Dr. Moyer and his students work, the months of March and April are marked by a tremendous uptick in the number of cats that enter their care. Unlike dogs, which reproduce year-around, cats tend to have a litter once a year, generally in the spring or summer. And because a newborn kitten will be ready to reproduce by the next season, cities like Philadelphia can be home to an exponentially growing feral cat population.

There is no shortage of “free” cats available to those considering adopting a pet. Nevertheless, Dr. Moyer urges people who want to adopt do so through the animal shelter system because at shelters cats are spayed and neutered. Adopting from a shelter means saving a cat’s life, especially at this time of year, when space is at a premium.   

“Unfortunately, cat euthanasia is a reality, and there’s always more of it when there’s an overwhelming increasing in the number of cats and kittens coming in,” says Dr. Moyer. 

To learn more about cat adoption, visit the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and its adoption website:

Text by Evan Lerner