California Law Makes Kitten Adoptions Easier

For immediate release:

Bill to remove mandatory wait time and reduce the euthanasia of kittens is signed into law


SACRAMENTO – Earlier this year, Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) introduced a bill to allow kittens in animal shelters to be made immediately available for adoption to members of the public. His bill, AB 1565, has been signed into law.


“I was surprised to learn that shelters are required to hold kittens for three days before turning them over to qualified individuals for adoption. These tiny animals require 24-hour care, and limitations at shelters mean that a lot kittens, are sadly, being unnecessarily euthanized,” explained Assemblymember Quirk.  


Despite recent reductions in intake and efforts on part of animal shelters, cats that have difficulty being adopted and are often euthanized. Kittens, in particular, are at a high risk of euthanasia. Not only does current law allow for the immediate euthanasia of unweaned kittens that enter a shelter without their mother, but they are highly vulnerable to contagious diseases due to their immature immune systems. During the mandated three day hold period, kittens can easily contract an upper respiratory tract infection, pan leukopenia, ringworm, or calicivirus.  The longer a kitten is in a shelter the higher the risk that they will become ill.


“I have adopted three dogs and know shelters work very hard to adopt the animals in their care. However, sometimes their ability to do so is constrained by odd laws. I’m thrilled that with the signing of my bill, shelters will now be able to immediately find caring homes for kittens that require around-the-clock care in order to grow into healthy adult cats,” stated Assemblymember Quirk.


“AB 1565 is a common sense measure that will increase positive outcomes for kittens by saving thousands of lives every year,” said Susan Riggs, Senior Director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region. “The ASPCA thanks Governor Newsom for signing this lifesaving bill into law, and we are grateful to Assemblymember Quirk for his work to secure better outcomes for some of the most vulnerable and innocent animals in California’s shelters.”


AB 1565 will go into effect on January 1, 2020.