Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org

Talkin’ to Joe

By Rosalie Tirella

Rose is a little worried.

I just spoke with Worcester Mayor Joe Petty. I told him good things in bad times – what I believe to be true: THE CITY OF WORCESTER IS DOING A GREAT JOB battling COVID-19.

For every rogue construction project on Whipple Street/Blackstone River Rd

State of Massachusetts has temporarily halted all construction projects – to come up with guidelines for working these jobs during the global pandemic.

… there IS THE WONDERFUL JOB BEING DONE BY OUR CITY LEADERS to ensure we are all safe, to preserve lives, to battle the scariest, deadliest public health crisis in our American lives – this generation’s Spanish Flu. The tidal wave is still far from shore …

But we are girded for it…
We have, thanks to Petty and our city leaders:

♥️FREE MEALS FOR ALL CITY KIDS – HOT AND HEALTHY – distributed DAILY by the City of Worcester. No vulnerable child goes hungry during this pandemic.

♥️State of the art preparation and housing – 4 new shelters opened just this past week – for our homeless. To SAFEGUARD THE LIVES of our city’s most vulnerable, often least healthy people. Meals are given out for free, beautiful big rooms with cots spaced 6 feet apart are set aside for them … at St. Johns church, North High, Ascension Church and more. Places where our brothers and sisters get medical care, food, quiet, safety, peace. …police presence. LOVE.

♥️All our hospitals and the city’s DCU center expanded to accommodate more ICU cases … hundreds of new beds added …

♥️Our WPSchools NURSES leading PPE drives – then personally delivering the thousands of hospital masks, gloves, gowns and more to our hospitals.

♥️ Daily press briefings by City Manager Ed Augustus and Mayor Petty during which time THEY TELL THE TRUTH – the whole truth to us citizens. They TELL US HOW THE CITY IS READYING FOR THE DELUGE, what the City has accomplished so far. What the next challenge is … Programs in place. Phone numbers we can call. Websites we can visit. All to learn more. Questions taken – and answered – by Petty, Augustus and City Top Doc Dr. Hirsh!

Our PUBLIC AND ELECTED OFFICIALS are WORKING SO HARD! Unlike Prez Trump, they LEAD and INSPIRE us! We need to listen to their advice, follow the city’s advisories …

♥️City park and playground monitoring … Do kids need to be up close and personal playing basketball? Can WE ALL USE OUR PUBLIC LAND JUST FOR WALKS THESE DAYS? – social distancing the whole time? Otherwise, they will be closed. WE MUST SLOW THE SPREAD OF THIS HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS coronavirus!

♥️Our local businesses in snooze mode…parades and city celebrations postponed. As is throughout 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

♥️ WPSchools TEACHERS still doing lessons, engaging with their students – via computer, smart phone and old fashioned telephone calls. NO COVID 19 SLIDE for our Worcester Public School students!

So, I told Mayor Petty, this a.m: GREAT WORK, Joe! We are ahead of the virus!

… And like the modest, real guy he always is, Mayor Joe Petty, sounded a bit … afraid: “I hope so,” he said … very quietly. Without the bullsh”*t, self-aggrandizing fake assuredness of whacky President Donald Trump. Just that muted little “I hope so.”

After my acknowledging ALL THE GREAT WORK!

Classic Joe.

Now I know we are all going to be ok.





Rose’s relatives, during WW II. Atop Bigelow Street tenement building roof, Green Island♥️


Thursday wrap-up🌎🙏♥️

Rose’s Uncle Al led his own jazz band back when America had swing!👗👠🎶

Lots of music/art🎶🎶 on my late dad’s side of our family. One of my uncles – my dad’s brother – went to Hollywood during Hollywood’s Golden Years to paint the background scenery you saw in movies. My other uncle had his banjo, which he loved to play! His brother, my Uncle Al, was a professinal – led his own jazz band that played all over Worcester (pictured here, Uncle Al is on left holding conductor’s baton). They were not like the greats – Dizzie, Parker, Billie – they played white Dorsey, Harry James band stuff, but it was still wonderful! All the bands had their own girl singer. My Uncle Al once sidled up to me at a family reunion, and said, with a sly wink: “We called them ‘chirps,’ Rosalie.” At the dances, attended by hundreds, held in the Johnny Hines ballroom in Worcester – in dance halls all across America in the 1930s and ’40s – everyone wore beautiful gowns and tuxes. And the couples danced close!! It will happen again, America (our closeness)! Be patient!!
The full band

– Rose




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Chef Joey is staying safe in 🇫🇷

From Chef Joey! A quickie recipe!

French Tuna Salad for lunch!

😊Rice – tuna – parsley – tomatoes and red onion with a Dijon vinaigrette!

Tasty and healthy!

Joey’s daughter, Gigi, helping to make dessert – oatmeal cookies. Recipe below …


1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 gloves garlic (garlic butter perfect for this)

5 tbsp oil

1 to 2 tbsp cider vinegar

Mix the dressing together, add your other ingredients and serve!



So, trapped at home!! We need healthy snacks! Here is a quick recipe that’s healthy, quick and can be made in batches.

All you need is:

1 egg

1 stick soft butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar ( I skip this part – I don’t like sweet)

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups instant oats

3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Optional: add raisins or chocolate chips.


Mix the egg, sugar and butter until fluffy.

Add everything else – mix with your CLEAN hands for best results.

Get a sheet of parchment or Saran wrap and form a tube. Roll it and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Remove and …

… cut the slices you want to cook at 350* – 12 to 15 mins, depending on your oven. …


When the cookies’ edges are brown, you are all set for soft cookies!


Today, Rose made herself a farmer’s breakfast to stay healthy during the COVID-19 PANDEMIC.

Remember: COVID-19 IS HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS, THERE IS NO VACCINE FOR IT … AND IT CAN BE DEADLY. Already Worcester hospitals are low on PPE … Waiting for the deluge … Please! Be responsible and compassionate! Practice: SOCIAL DISTANCING (6 feet between two people), HAND WASHING, STAYING AT HOME EXCEPT FOR WALKS, TRIPS TO DRUGSTORES, SUPERMARKETS … The credit unions/banks are closed – their ATM and drive-thru windows open. – R.T.


Tuesday wrap-up💐💐💐!

Sheltering in place with my white chocolate😢☕and cups of java. …
Today: Rose and white chocolate chips stash

Pathetic. On the other hand, Chef Joey is in France wisely sheltering. …

Chef Joey and Gigi

Just in from Joey☀️: QUICKIE HEALTHY RECIPE …
GARLIC is a great anti-infammatory food, maybe even nature’s antibiotic!

text and garlic pics: Chef Joey👏👏👏😊:

Chef Joey file photo:R.T.

We all use a lot of garlic. Here’s a quick tip!

😊Make a little batch of garlic paste, put it in a jar, keep it in the refrigerator. Every time you need garlic to make a salad dressing special or for cooking, you’re ready! You have your fresh chopped garlic! You can use this to make bruschetta, or use as a base of your pizzas or use to add extra flavor – or even to add just a little zip to your a.m. toast. It’s simple, delicious, inexpensive and healthy!

Garlic cloves …

… – with the pressure of your BIG knife, crush them …
… move your wide knife in a back-and-forth direction until the garlic is completely flattened, add butter, pinch of salt if desired, and put your garlic paste in a little jar – for the fridge. Don’t forget the topper!

P.S. I’m making cookies tomorrow with Gigi! Will send recipe♥️

Another recipe just in from Joey:

So while you are making your chard pie, make soup with the stalks!

– just chop …

… add onion …
… and 4 cloves of garlic.

Sauté in a little oil until tender.

Add the Swiss chard, washed and chopped, to the mix and 2 large potatoes peeled and chopped …
two, please!

Add 6 cups of water and cook until until tender. Blend with an Emerson blender and add 1 cup mild or better yet Greek style plain yogurt

Salt and pepper and that’s it!








New Chef Joey Recipe + Monday Wrap-Up🎀!


Text, pics and recipe by Chef Joey

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Joe Joe!😊😊😊😊

We all know the benefits of fresh veggies and Swiss chard is no exception. It’s so good and, being in lockdown here, we need easy to access snacks – especially with myvhungry 5-year-old daughter.

This pie can be made vegetarian, or you can add meat, such as crumbled bacon or sautéed diced salt pork for extra protein.

Here is the quick list of ingredients – it takes about 50 minutes to make, start to finish.

What you need is:

1 bunch of Swiss chard, washed and chopped


1 leek, washed and chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 ready-made pie crusts

Salt and pepper to taste


In a pan add the leeks and the garlic, with a little oil, and sauté. Add the Swiss chard, lower the heat and cover …


In a large bowl, mix the eggs, then add the sour cream (you can use plain yogurt or even cottage cheese).

Get a pie plate and lay the first crust down – mix the ingredients quickly so the egg does not cook at to the shell. Add the top crust.


Brush with a little of the egg mixture from the bowl, and bake 35 minutes or so.

Your pie will puff up nicely – you want the interior to be cooked. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before serving.


This pie …

… goes well with a salad!

A nice salad goes great with your slice of quiche or sandwich – for lunch! photo submitted



There’s Nothing Funny About Those Viral Animal Videos!

By Melanie Johnson

Rose’s Cece. … Respect animals! pic: R.T.

In an age of instant gratification, is it too much to ask that we collectively stop for just a moment and think before acting? A recent video of a terrified javelina running through a Tucson, Arizona, neighborhood sparked an online onslaught of jokes and memes. But all this wild animal was doing was frantically searching for safety. Making light of his fear and desperation is an ugly — and unthinking — response.

From dolphins dying at the hands of selfie-takers to cats being scared out of their wits, exploiting animals for laughs has been a regrettable trend in recent years, driven by the public’s insatiable desire to post online content.

But using animals as props or reveling in their misery does nothing to further what we need now more than ever: kindness and respect. Sharing or “liking” a mean-spirited video only perpetuates the cycle of cruelty and incivility.

Would the same mob that killed the baby dolphin still decide to pass her around as a selfie prop if they knew that, as with all dolphins, her skin was so sensitive that it could actually feel sound waves in the water?

According to marine mammologist Denise Herzing, who for many years has been studying the cognitive and language abilities of wild spotted dolphins, these keenly intelligent animals can even “buzz and tickle each other at a distance.”

As if it weren’t unjust enough that wild animals are crammed into cages at the zoo and forced to live their entire lives subjected to the will of a zookeeper, another recent fad is for parents to tease tigers and bears by dangling their toddlers in front of them and videotaping their frustrated attempts to “attack” the child through the glass. What kind of parent would put their children at risk and taunt wild animals just to get “likes” on social media?

Then there’s the calf tajen away from his mother to be used in a petting zoo who desperately suckles on the “udder” of a child’s Halloween costume — that’s not amusing. It’s gut-wrenching. But let’s assume these people are simply thoughtless, not cruel. There’s still no reason to encourage this kind of callous behavior by passing along the link or giving it a thumbs-up.

Animals already live in a world fraught with danger. Deer live in fear of being blasted to death in the woods, fish are caught on a hook and hauled out of their aquatic home to suffocate, live chickens are scalded to death in defeathering tanks … the list goes on and on. The ways in which we hurt animals is endless, and it’s time for everyone to take an honest look into their own hearts.

Every decision we make can be either benevolent or harmful. Choosing to extend kindness doesn’t just benefit the recipient. In the words of inspirational author Dr. Orison Swett, “The man who practises unselfishness, who is genuinely interested in the welfare of others, who feels it a privilege to have the power to do a fellow creature a kindness … will be an elevating influence wherever he goes.”






Warmer weather means VEGAN ICECREAM!♥️ … LOTS OF GREAT BRANDS AND FLAVORS AT TRADER JOES, Rt 9 Shrewsbury! No cows kept pent up – milk-making machines😢😢! – in factory farms!


30 Elm St., Worcester

Mrs Massachusetts at White City (August 1950)
Bathing beauties at White City, 1950. Photo courtesy of Worcester Historical Museum


Let’s have some fun!😊😊😊

As many of you may remember, Worcester Historical Museum developed a Worcester version of the very popular game TRIVIA. Years later, Worcester Historical Museum’s TRIVIA game is as popular as ever!

Let’s have some FUN…Now you can play Worcester Trivia…from home on FACEBOOK …

We have 1,200 fun and fascinating questions and answers about Worcester, MA! …past and present…that the entire family can enjoy.

There will be WEEKLY winners!🎁💐💝

PLAY NOW! (directions are on our Facebook page) and please STAY SAFE! We can’t wait to see you again soon!!


Chef Joey’s Stuffed Eggplant recipe + more … 🎶

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Text, pics and recipe by Chef Joey

Eggplant is the one vegetable that has the most nicotine in it!! and the matter that it tastes good – here’s a very simple recipe that’s healthy, nutritious and very quick to make.  

Take two eggplants cut them in half wash the skins scoop the middle out and place the shells to the side. 

Take a large skillet and add one large onion chopped very fine. Place in the pan with the center scraps from the eggplant, chopped, as well …


… – add to the pan, then take six cloves of garlic chopped fine and add it to your pan as well.

Add a little bit of sunflower oil and water so nothing burns.

Stir until everything is cooked – add some Italian seasonings, salt and pepper. Then add 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes to the mix.
Here is where the recipe can be modified – you can add ground beef or tofu if you choose and a tablespoon of ground Parmesan or Romano.



Stuff the eggplants – top with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese, place in a baking pan. Add 1/2 inch of water and bake 350 for 1 hour. Serve with a nice salad: arugula with a lemon dressing!

Idiot in Chief:


Always in style – Jim Coughlin: new political column + more🎶

First, pandemic or no pandemic…wearing o’ the green – including eye shadow, yesterday (a bit late. sorry, Saint Paddy):

Rose, yesterday


VP Biden is Now the Presumptive Democratic Nominee for President

By Jim Coughlin

We still love Bernie!

With former Vice President Joe Biden winning all three of the recent primaries that were held on Tuesday, March 17th in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, it is a fair prediction that he will be the nominee for the Democrats, having already won 1,181 delegates to the 885 for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

A total of 1,991 delegates are needed to clinch the nomination.

After Iowa and New Hampshire, and even before Super Tuesday on March 3rd, there were many political pundits who were writing off Biden’s candidacy and he surprised everyone by winning 10 of 14 primaries that day.

As history tells us, virtually every winner of either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary has gone on to either win the Democratic nomination and in many cases, the presidency, itself.

However, this year has changed all of that historical precedence as a result of Joe Biden losing and losing badly in the earlier contests, and then coming from behind to win against all the remaining candidates.

Joe Biden is truly the come-from-behind candidate.

It was not until Biden’s impressive win in the South Carolina primary on February 29th that his campaign began to gather both momentum and delegates which prompted both Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Ind., to end their candidacies and to endorse him. And then Sen. Elizabeth Warren ended her candidacy after finishing third in the Massachusetts primary on March 3rd, behind both Biden and Sanders.

Bernie’s policies are needed! Now!

Sanders has also begun to re-asses his candidacy in the wake of the this past Tuesday’s string of Biden victories which is another example of the inevitability of Biden’s nomination.

This past Sunday, in Washington there was the first one on one debate featuring both Biden and Sanders that largely amounted to a squabble over their differing political philosophies and past political performance, including different votes while serving in either the United States Senate or the House of Representatives on issues such as abortion, gun control, Social Security and others.

But in the end, those roll call votes and public policy differences really did not seem to matter to the voters. They want a nominee who can solve the problems of today, and are not terribly interested in the long-range goal of a “political revolution” that the Sanders candidacy was offering.

They see Biden as being presidential and as the one who is best able to forcibly argue against President Trump on a wide variiety of issues facing the American people, not to mention the issue on everyone’s mind today: the Coronavirus.

They also want someone who can unify the country.

The debate amongst the Democratic candidates has made Biden not only a stronger candidate but also a better debater and that fine-tuning of his candidacy will undoubedly make him a better candidate as he prepares to debate the President in the November election.


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COVID-19 and meat … + ☘️ +🎶

First: “self-quarantining” or just slowing down your life a bit now that we are beginning our pandemic???!?!?!? Why not cozy up on the futon, sheltered from the virus, with PETA founder and president Ingrid’s new book, ANIMALKIND? – Rose♥️



Myths and Facts About Meat and the Coronavirus


What’s the link between meat and the coronavirus?

As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) grips the world, more and more people are isolating, quarantining, and wondering just how we got here.

We have long warned about the health risks associated with eating meat. After all, raising animals for food in filthy conditions is a breeding ground for diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

PETA has answers to common questions about the link between eating meat and the coronavirus:

Can I get COVID-19 from eating meat?

The World Health Organization says, “To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.”

For animals, the environment, and your own health, going vegan is your safest bet. Yes, even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Is it safe to eat meat during the coronavirus outbreak?

You should stay away from animal-derived foods at all times for many reasons!

They include the following:

Cruelty to animals

The meat, egg, and dairy industries’ damage to the planet

The risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other ailments

The significant risk of contracting foodborne pathogens such as coli and salmonella

The rampant use of antibiotics in animals reared for food around the world, which contributes to the emergence of superbugs and antibiotic resistance in humans



We forgot all about St. Paddy’s Day!:

Vegan Irish Nacho Pie



2 large potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 pkg. vegan beefy crumbles (try Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles)

1 pkg. vegan cheddar-style shredded cheese (we like Follow Your Heart)

1 cup Irish Cabbage Salsa (store-bought or homemade)

1 cup vegan sour cream (store-bought or homemade)

Sliced green onions


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Layer the potatoes, vegan beefy crumbles and vegan cheese shreds in a pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes – or until the “cheese” melts.

Remove from the oven and top with the Irish Cabbage Salsa, vegan sour cream, and green onions.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


Worcester and America! WE CAN GET THROUGH THESE HARD TIMES! Trump, COVID-19, GLOBAL WARMING … But we need new Dylan’s, Merle’s, Cash’s, Joni’s TO SING TRUTH TO POWER! AND TO COMFORT US ALL🙏. – Rose


Chef Joey is in 🇫🇷 … Covid-19, French edition … Stay healthy – try this recipe♥️

Text and pics by Chef Joey

Chef Joey’s mom lives outside Cannes

Bonjour … Just to keep you posted … What’s happening here in France: Everything is cancelled. The Cannes Film festival is the largest anual event in the world, and they can’t decide and are waiting. It’s in May, so they are optimistic. Meanwhile, the USA is closing things left and right -Massachusetts seems to have a 5 day delay on what’s happening here.

They started closing restaurants last week here in France. Nothing is open, except banks that are all automated. There have not been tellers for four or five years – just a receptionist to assist.

Joey is cooking, eating well and caring for family.

It is work from home everywhere else. Medical offices here have no magazines! There is special protocol. Markets – pharmacies and, being France (the French love their cigarettes) tobacco stores. But they all have gas,-station-like windows – gas stations have been automated here forever in France. But this is now creating a new niche: at the markets for Prepared Foods. Take out. This will be an interesting turn for France!

On a different scale, trash pickup here has been every day since I was a kid, and street sweeping happens every morning and has for about the last 30 years in most French cities.IMG_4548[2686]
Healthy greens keep your immune system strong!

By 7 am all services are done, including the emptying of many public trash receptacles throughout France, ensuring a clean beginning each and eveey. This is sanitary and eliminates an ugly urban landscape. This also happens in all major and minor cities in Italy!
The Italians have a week on us as far as Covid-19 goes: they sing from their balconies and respect the ban!



The French already have gated properties. Condo/apartment high rise living is the issue, but most buildings are older and windows are open. They are working on filtration for glass high rise, newer buildings with central air and heating. As a parent … it is extra scary – I have my daughter Gigi with me. And, hopefully, the virus does not mutate to hit ourfur babies!




Here is an easy, healthy recipe that lasts for days and is so good!! You can make it vegetarian by adding goat cheese. It comes out nice!

By using quinoa, you eliminate the gluten and add good grains to your diet as well. All quinoa has different sizes, so follow the directions on the box for cooking. One and 1/2 cups is all you need for this recipe for 4.

List of ingredients:

1 1/2 cups worth of raw quinoa, cooked and chilled

1/2 English cuke, peeled, seeded and cut into fine pieces

10 to 15 grape tomatoes cut into 4

2 scallions cut in half, then small pieces

Handful of flat parsley leaves chopped fine

Handful chopped mint, chopped fine

1 small can chic peas, drained

2 lemons juiced


4 tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil

Salt and pepperto mix.


Literally, add everything to a bowl and mix!

Serve with a parsley garnish – this dish will keep for up to a week!

We all miss Chef Joey, (right)! Richard and Gigi …

Chef Joey in 🇫🇷…new recipe: French🇫🇷 stew

French Stew

Text, pics and recipe by Chef Joey

ICYumYums-final-for website

This recipe is so easy! You buy veal meat for stew, you take a large onion and with 2 cloves, 2 carrots, peel and roughly chop.


Plus, you need 4 cloves of garlic …

… and a bouquet garnis (leek, parsley, bay leaf and fresh thyme all tied together!)


Sauté carrots, onion and garlic in butter over a low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the veal and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that rises.

Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Drain the meat and save the broth.

Take the meat out and discard the onion and garlic and carrots.

Make a roux equal parts butter and flour.

Heat butter and mix together, then let it chill.

Take one onion in the saucepan and chop fine. Sauté in butter until translucent.

Add the stock and bring to a boil.

Add the roux.

Lower heat and stir until thick …


… Mix together one egg and one small plain Greek yogurt. Whisk into the sauce. Add the veal. Serve with rice and carrots:

(When you take the veal out after the second step, put it in a bowl and cover with saran)

The cruel “Kitten Season”: feral, stray – thousands of kittens – suffer and die! SPAY/NEUTER CATS!


By Lindsay Pollard-Post

So many feral and stray kittens are born in spring! End the overpopulation – and suffering – spay or neuter your cat/s!

As surely as April showers bring May flowers, spring’s longer days bring kittens — lots and lots of them. Animal shelters from Massachusetts to California brace for what the sheltering community calls “kitten season.”

It’s the time of year, starting in early spring and extending through the fall, when litter after litter of homeless kittens and pregnant cats come pouring in, and shelters scramble to accommodate them all.

Kittens may be cute, but the consequences of their overpopulation are anything but. Many are born on the streets — behind dumpsters or in dirty alleys — while others get their ill-fated start in life in rural areas. Unless they are rescued, most of these kittens will suffer and die young after being hit by a car, getting attacked by predators or cruel people, succumbing to weather extremes, contracting deadly diseases or suffering some other cruel fate.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 75 percent of free-roaming kittens disappear or die before they are 6 months old. The 25 percent who manage to survive to this age will likely have litters of their own, creating even more kittens with nowhere to go.

Some lucky kittens end up in animal shelters, but often this means that older cats who have been there for a while must be euthanized in order to make room for the newcomers. Limited-admission shelters avoid this scenario only by turning animals away when they reach capacity, leaving it to open-admission shelters to accommodate the overwhelming influx.

Neonatal kittens who come in without mothers must be bottle-fed around the clock—a demanding task that most shelters can’t manage without help from volunteers. Some shelters hold training sessions for foster families who take kittens home and care for them until they can be adopted. Others even throw “kitten showers” to stock up on kitten milk replacer, cat litter and other necessities.

But the most important thing any of us can do to alleviate kitten season is to prevent more kittens from being born in the first place by making sure that our own cats — and the cats of our friends, family members and neighbors — are spayed or neutered.

Putting off spaying and neutering can result in “oops” litters: Kittens can become mothers themselves when they’re as young as 4 months of age. And even if they are kept indoors (as all cats should be, to protect them from the many dangers that lurk outside), their raging hormones can compel even the most docile among them to bolt through an unattended doorway in search of a mate.

One unspayed female cat and her offspring can lead to a staggering 370,000 kittens in just seven years. Guardians of male cats aren’t off the hook, either: Males can become fathers at just 5 months of age, and one male can impregnate countless females.

Many communities operate low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics that make it easy to do the right thing. Having cats “fixed” also has many health benefits: It eliminates females’ risk of uterine cancer and greatly reduces their risk of mammary cancer, and it prevents testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate cancer in males. Sterilized cats are also much less likely to roam, fight or spray.

So this spring, let’s make sure that every cat is spayed or neutered before those May flowers start blooming — and snip kitten season in the bud!