Sometimes a creature enters your world and touches your heart in a way that changes you. We experienced that recently at Palmetto Animal League when Mama Maple came into our lives.

While the name “Mama Maple” may evoke visions of a sweet, doting grandmother, our Mama Maple is just a baby, maybe 6 months old, preparing to give birth to kittens soon.

“This comes as a surprise to many, but cats can become pregnant at 4 months of age,” said PAL President Amy Campanini. “Finding Mama Maple in this condition broke my heart because she is just a kitten herself.”

PAL saved Mama Maple from a local shelter where there is no adoption option, making rescue her only way out. After our vets checked her over, we immediately started making calls and found Mama Maple a loving foster home where she can raise her babies in a safe, quiet place.

Mama Maple is one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, her story is all too common in the world of animal rescue. You see, our warm weather climate allows breeding to take place nearly year-round, leaving our shelters overcrowded with wonderful but forgotten pets.

“It is easy to see why we have so many homeless cats in the South,” says Campanini. “If left unaltered, she could have four litters of kittens per year!”

Thanks to PAL’s committed network of caring fosters, Mama Maple’s life will take a much different path. Once her kittens are weaned and she is spayed, the lovely “Miss” Maple will be available for adoption at PAL.

Kitten season is already upon us. Palmetto Animal League needs your help to prepare for dozens of litters of kittens that will come under our care this spring. There are two ways to help. Visit PalmettoAnimalLeague.org and click on Kitten Shower for a link to send essential supplies directly to our adoption center via Amazon. Or, you may donate kitten supplies in person during our Kitten Shower from noon to 2 p.m. March 7 at the PAL Adoption Center, 56 Riverwalk Blvd. in Okatie. Enjoy some kitten-themed fun for the whole family, including refreshments, a craft for kids and get information about hands-on volunteer opportunities with kittens.

Because of folks like you, PAL will be able to give every spring kitten a great start in life. Your special Kitten Shower gift, donated in person or online, will help these furry, little newborns grow healthy and strong as they prepare for adoption.

Every gift, no matter the size, will make a difference because when it comes to caring for babies, the littlest things can make the biggest difference.

Lindsay Perry is the marketing coordinator for Palmetto Animal League. PalmettoAnimalLeague.org