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Humane Society Caring For Mother Cat With 11 Kittens

An 11-kitten litter is pictured at the San Diego Humane Society, August 8, 2019.
San Diego Humane Society
An 11-kitten litter is pictured at the San Diego Humane Society, August 8, 2019.

The San Diego Humane Society announced Thursday that its kitten nursery is currently looking after a cat with a litter of kittens that is more than double the average litter size.

Average kitten litters range from three to five kittens, according to the humane society. The unnamed cat in the kitten nursery gave birth to 11 kittens and also has 11 nipples, more than the six to eight found on an average cat.

"A healthy litter this size is incredibly uncommon and certainly not something we see every day in the nursery," said Jackie Noble, the kitten nursery's manager.


The mother cat and her kittens are all in good health, the humane society said. A resident found the mother and her kittens in a dumpster downtown and promptly brought them to the humane society. The litter did not appear to be dumped by a previous owner and the mother cat seemingly thought the dumpster would be a safe place to care for the kittens.

The humane society said the mother's case highlights the need to spay or neuter domesticated animals, but cats in particular. Because cats can conceive a litter of kittens roughly every three months, a single female cat can have more than 200 kittens in her lifetime. The humane society offers free spay/neuter services, vaccinations and ear-tipping services for identification for stray cats at each of its campuses.

The mother and kittens will remain in the nursery until the kittens are ready to be adopted and the mother can be spayed. The humane society did not say if the mother also will be put up for adoption or returned outdoors as a so-called "community cat."