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The Cost of Free Kittens

You see their teeny little blueberry eyes, short little stubbly legs, and adorable, boopable little noses. Let's face it, it is almost impossible to not love a kitten. They are so curious and full of wonder. The joy and happiness they bring is unmatched. But what brought this beautiful creature into being? What blessed us with their creation? Unfortunately it is the same thing that gives us the need for shelters and rescues to exist.

I wanted to do this post for many reasons but the most important reason is to help people understand why it is never a good idea to get a "free" kitten. And no, this isn't a ploy for rescues and shelters to get your money. The cold hard fact is, it is what is best for the entire cat family of the kitten. Every cat born is a product of not "fixing" your cat. While some of us think that anyone who wants a free kitten is going to do right by that kitten, but truth is only 80% of cats are ever spayed/neutered. That number is only the cats that become pets. There is evil in the world and yes they will lie to you to get what they want. And yes sometime that is, the kitten to neglect or harm them. Your accidental litter is better off with a trusted no-kill shelter or rescue who will properly vet the adopters, and ensure there are no more litters.

I see many Facebook groups with free kittens and what I see is people who need help. It is unhealthy to allow your cat to continue to breed. I understand animal nature, but a domesticated cat does do well with having to be attacked and succumb to the many Tom cats that will attack her while she is in heat. Scratch her, bite her, harm her. Then forced to give birth. We see it all the time, a mom abandoned and malnourished because she just kept breeding. I have one in my rescue now, it's not uncommon. These momma end up with uterine infections, illness, anemia, the list goes on. The mommas suffer.

"Accidental" litters happen because we are informed about the need to "Fix by 5 months" rule. In my experience most people think you need to wait until they are 6 months, I've even heard people talk about a year. These are not correct ages, a kitten can go into heat at 4 months and absolutely will by 6. And kittens can be fixed at 12 weeks if they are 5lbs. The only way to prevent litters is by spaying momma. This is why every single shelter and rescue group you meet stresses and focuses on spay/neutering. It is a lifesaver.

As a cat owner, when you end up with these unplanned pregnancies it is far better to research a kitten exchange program. Kitten exchange programs run all throughout the state of Maine that will fix your momma cat for a very low cost or for free, you will just have to surrender the entire litter of kittens. They will be fixed, vaccinated and rehomed properly. At Cat Life Maine we offer this program many times a year to help our community as the funds allow it. See below for a list of programs in our state.

The truth of the matter is nothing is free. All cats regardless should receive a check up every year as well as vaccinations. To give your cat the best possible life they require medical care which costs money. In Maine you are required by law to have all your cats over the age of 3 months vaccinated against rabies. Having pets isn't free and no one should ever have to be denied access to owning a pet because of the cost. There are many programs out there to help but we all need to do our part to stop the overpopulation of cats so we can divert our funds to more of these programs. Imagine low cost vet clinics popping up in every county!!! (Currently there is only one in the state of Maine) Could you imagine paying $30 for a pet check up instead of $80?

I believe that most people have the best intentions, sometimes they are misguided just from not knowing. We need to work together as a community to teach each other how to help. There is one thing I know for a fact about Mainers, we come together when there is a crisis. And we are in kitty crisis.

Below is a list of just a couple of Spay Mom Programs in Maine.

Pope Memorial Humane Society- free mom and dad! And dogs!

Cat Life Maine- as funds allow

if you are a rescue and want your site listed here please email

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