Overpopulation of stray cats is a problem in many communities. During the spring and summer, otherwise known as “kitten season” or feline breeding season, an influx of kittens are born outdoors. As a result, shelters and rescues around the country get flooded with vulnerable kittens in need of homes.

How can you help?

Here are six ways you can make a difference and help shelters during kitten season:

1. Spay and neuter your cat

While it might not seem important in the grand scheme of things, one unneutered cat can result in many litters. Owned outdoor cats and community cats can come in contact with and mate with household cats,  creating more unwanted litters and, ultimately, more opportunity for further breeding.

2. Volunteer

Contact your local shelter or rescue to determine how you can help. Most organizations gladly accept applicants  with minimum experience to assist in different ways, such as cleaning, feeding, grooming, or playing with the animals.

3. Donate

If you don’t have much time to spare, donating is another great way to help. Many rescues and shelters are non-profits, which means they rely on donations of food, toys, beds and other pet products. If you’re not sure what to donate, consider giving a monetary contribution.

4. Adopt

What better way to reduce the number of homeless animals than by giving one a home? You’re not only saving a life, but you’re also creating space for another animal to take that open kennel at a shelter, and helping shelter staff provide more resources and attention to the remaining animals. Check online for adoptable animals near you, or pay a visit to a few shelters.

5. Foster

If you’re not ready for a permanent commitment, fostering offers the opportunity for you to look after a kitten in need until he or she finds a safe and loving home. You don’t need to live near a kitten nursery to foster kittens, and most shelters and rescues across the country welcome kitten foster homes during the season.

6. Spread the word

Education is an important method of prevention. Non-profit animal welfare organizations such as the ASPCA offer informational resources and materials to teach citizens how they can help properly manage community cat colonies through Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor and lessen the impact of kitten season. Do some research and consider sharing adoptable animals near you on your own social media channels.