Have you ever heard a friend or neighbor say, “Maybe we’ll let her have just one litter of kittens.” Or perhaps you have said to yourself, “Just one litter of kittens for the kids.” Here are some staggering statistics that should give you pause for thought. According to SpayUSA, an unspayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies and their puppies’ puppies, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to over 12,000 puppies in just five years. An unspayed female cat, her mate and all their offspring, producing two litters a year, can add up to nearly 12,000 kittens in five years, and over 11 million in nine.

“Just one litter” may not sound like it would create much of a homeless pet population problem but it all adds up, and quickly. Shelters all over the country are overflowing with cats, kittens, puppies and dogs with no homes to call their own. Even though you may have a home lined up for every member of the litter, that means less loving homes available for all the wonderful animals already in shelters. As we gear up for “kitten season,” where we will soon be overwhelmed by hundreds of kittens seeking homes, we ask for your help. If you have an unaltered cat, please get it spayed or neutered. If you need help and are a resident of one of the 22 towns that we serve (see below) you could obtain a spay/neuter voucher from HSKC for a discount off the procedure. Or contact the Help Fix ME program through the state of Maine’s Animal Welfare Program offering spay/neuter financial assistance. If your animals are already altered but you still want to help, consider donating money to the shelter’s spay/neuter voucher program so we can help all that need it. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you can support the state’s Help Fix ME program by checking off the Companion Animal Sterilization Fund check-off box on your state tax return, raising much-needed funds for the spaying/neutering of Maine dogs and cats. You can also support the sterilization fund by purchasing a Support Animal Welfare specialty license plate the next time you go to the DMV to register your car.

Our pet pick of the week is Lika. Lika is a petite spayed female domestic shorthair cat. She’s a youngster, no more than 1 or 2 years old, brought in as a stray from Cushing. She’s a shy girl. Lika likes to sleep in a little cubby where she feels secure. She is coming out of her shell more and more each day. She responds well to a calm, inviting voice and a gentle pat. In no time, she starts rubbing and purring, enjoying the attention. Lika likes and finds comfort in the company of other cats. If you are interested in Lika, please stop by the shelter and speak with one of our adoption staff to find out more.

Save the date: Our annual Blessing of the Animals Ceremony and bake sale will be held Saturday, April 10 at the shelter facility. The Rev. Michael Murphy of Waldoboro will be in attendance. If you’d like to help by baking your favorite confection for the sale please call Tracy at 594-4897.

Our wish list this week: KMR (kitten milk replacement), 13- and 30-gallon garbage bags, Ziploc bags (quart and gallon size), Dawn dishwashing liquid (for degreasing), toilet paper, paper towels, postage stamps, laundry detergent, Lexmark Ink No. 31 and 32, clay cat litter (non-clumping), canned cat and dog food, and gift certificates to Staples and Wal-Mart.

We are located at 65 Dexter St. Extension off Route 1 in Thomaston, providing animal services for the following towns in Knox and Waldo counties: Rockland, Thomaston, Warren, Owls Head, St. George, Port Clyde, Martinsville, Tenants Harbor, South Thomaston, Spruce Head, Hope, Union, Appleton, Montville, Searsmont, Cushing, Matinicus, North Haven, Vinalhaven, Stockton Springs, Morrill and Northport. Contact us at 594-2200 or P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841. We’re open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesdays. For more information visit hskcme.org.