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Calif. Drought, Warm Winter Leads to Surge in Abandoned Kittens

A rise in kittens surrendered to animal shelters this spring - in part because of the drought - has Oakland Animal Services officials asking residents to help foster the abandoned felines.

The number of kittens surrendered to the Oakland Animal Shelter this year is 38 percent more than at the same time last year, shelter officials said.

The number is concerning because "kitten season" has just begun and runs through the summer, according to the shelter.

Unfixed female cats go into heat during the summer as the weather gets warmer, and the region's drought combined with warm winter weather has led to the surge in kittens abandoned at the shelter.

Shelter officials said they need help because the kittens need a high level of care and the shelter is unable to care for them.

Kittens brought to the shelter without their mothers must be bottle-fed or fed by another mother cat in order to survive, according to shelter officials.

"We need help from the public to foster all of these kittens who are too young to survive at the shelter. Once these kittens are old enough, they can be fixed and adopted into loving homes," Rebecca Katz, executive director of Oakland Animal Services, said in a statement.

Residents can foster a kitten through a rescue group that partners with the the shelter.  For more information, people can join the shelter's upcoming free class about caring for kittens by emailing

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