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We’re Expecting! New Nursery Will Help Curb Kitten Season

Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 12:00pm
ASPCA staff holding kitten

While most Americans are busting out the sunscreen, beach balls and barbeques in anticipation of summer, the ASPCA is preparing for a different kind of season: kitten season.

Sounds adorable, right? Unfortunately, there’s nothing cute about kitten season. It’s the time of year when felines begin to breed, flooding animal shelters across the country with homeless and newborn cats. It is a tremendous population explosion, and this year we’re expecting thousands of kittens to cross the threshold of the ASPCA Animal Hospital—all requiring round-the-clock care.

The seasonal influx of kittens is one reason why the ASPCA is opening a new facility near its 92nd Street Adoption Center in New York City. This brand new kitten ward will include a high-volume nursery for neonates and kittens to provide life-saving care for felines too young to thrive on their own.

 “We’re doing the mama’s job,” explains David Arias, an Animal Care Technician and regular caregiver to neonatal kittens at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. He gently pushes a syringe full of kitten milk replacer (KMR) into the wailing but eager mouth of a five-day-old neonate named Catsup, who drinks up as fast as his tiny throat can swallow. Catsup was No. 2 in a group of four baby kittens—including Mustard, Relish and Sauerkraut—dropped off at the AAH in their first days of life.

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But these four “condiment kitties” are just the start. The ASPCA will also be taking thousands of neonates from NYC’s Animal Care & Control (AC&C), where the annual influx of 4,500 kittens often overwhelms an already overpopulated system.  AC&C’s kittens will be transferred to the ASPCA nursery for treatment until they’re old enough to be weaned, spayed/neutered, and put up for adoption.

ASPCA Animal Care Tech feeding kitten

And because neonates must be fed every two hours, the ASPCA is providing special training to volunteers to help with this vigorous schedule.  “We keep track of how many milliliters each kitten consumes and stay consistent with that baseline amount until they want more,” says David.

His voice trails off when he sees that Catsup is getting feisty and wants more. He replaces the near-empty syringe with a full one. After 20 minutes, Catsup’s tiny belly expands. Before putting the 8-oz. ball of fur back in his cage, David applies a wet, warm gauze to Catsup’s rear end to encourage a defecation and urination—something a mama cat would normally do by licking her young.

Catsup complies. Then, eyes still closed and back in his cage, he clumsily searches for his siblings until he finds them, snuggles up, and goes to sleep. Two hours later, he’ll be hungry again.

The ASPCA is working tirelessly to save thousands of lives this kitten season. It is an urgent time of need, and even a little gift can help a lot of cats. Please consider making a donation to the ASPCA today.

ASPCA volunteers caring for kitten

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Angelica

I found A newborn kitten last year and the mom was a feral cat that just didn't have any interest in feeding the new born. It is unfortunately very common for feral cats to not want to take care of their babies because they themselves are on the verge of starvation. I ended up raising the kitten, Posey :), so I know first hand how much goes into taking cares of the little ones. It's truly a wonderful thing to have this kind of care for the kittens. I hope there will be many more throughout the country. :)

Cindi

A year ago a stray showed up and she lookig for food. Thought maybe she lived in the neighborhood. But after she hung around for a few days, she let me touch her. She was pregnant. Slooked to beabout a year old and she was not a feral cat. I guess some one dumped her off. She had the kittens and we could not get to them as they were way back under the neighbors deck. After a couple months they started to come out but you couldn't get near to them. 3 months after that litter she was pregnant again. This had to end. One of the kittens started hanging around a neighbors house and then found it a home. One disappeared and one was taken to the shelter. We took Cali in and kept her in the lower level until she would give birth. Cali had 5 kittens in the 2nd litter and we enjoyed every minute that we had them. Cali was in very poor health and ate constantly while she was pregnant and nursing. Nothing to good for her, steak and eggs for breakfast, why not? We discovered she was deaf and maybe that's why she was abandoned. To end this story, we raised 5 kittens, gave them homes and kept the mother. She is definitely deaf but she is the sweetest cat ever. And she is spayed!!!!

anonymous

Most of them don't, they are taken from the moms and the moms are usually euthanized due to being feral or having feline leukemia, or if they are at the animal control that is where they are left until put down.

talisman

You are right anonymous. ASPCA kills more companion animals then it saves. Do the research people.

semcrae

Because idiots humans do not get their cats spayed/neutered and just keep letting the cats breed with no intention of taking responsibility for the kittens. Too many people are just POS!

Patricia Moran

We have fostered many litters. Sometimes the mama had died in childbirth. Sometimes a newborn had been abandoned and the mother never returned, sometimes the mama was too sick to successfully feed all of the babies.

Kate also

Sorry, If I cannot criticise a comment of another, who seems to be wanting to advertise her business, then I can't contribute to the ASAPCA any more. Please take my name off your mailing list. Thank you. I certainly did or said nothing that could allow me to be blocked.

jay

thank you aspca. (kate is creepy)

Nancy

Kate is creepy alright and full of bad Karma to mention her income in light of repetitious suffering of homeless irresponsibly over bred animals.

debbie

We, and the ASPCA (spelled CORRECTLY), can do fine without you and your advertising. Have a good life.

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