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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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Sandy

get lost kate099. The ASPCA does a great job in caring for the unwanted and abused animals. They have gone through lots of work to come this far with so much progress on preventing animal abuse. If anyone is to insult or criticize these wonderful people who have hearts, then the criticizer should be hanged.

Lori

God Bless you all for taking in these tiny babies who would otherwise die or start a life full of pain and abuse. You're doing God's work and I, for one, am so grateful.

Keith

Love cats. You can never go wrong with cats. My Sammy will tell you that.

Debbier

I seriously think it's a wonderful thing what you guys are doing. Would'nt our world be such a better place if humans just learn to love and respect ALL animals. We are after all, the intruders.

T

you guys realize that kate099 is spam not some chick wanting to advertise her business right?

Any way congrats on this effort ASPCA I will certainly donate

kamd0409

AMEN! (spam happens every people...take a breath)

kamd0409

whoops - that was supposed to say "everywhere".... regardless, GREAT JOB ASPCA!!

Lynn Jones

I will be making my annual donation as soon as I get my teacher summer pay!!!!!!

jen

Please know how much we regard your efforts in helping these babies - and all the animals of the world! True heroes, to me, give selflessly to make a difference. THANK YOU!

debbie

I am a monthly contributor, but will certainly give another contribution, as much as I can, to help these poor souls, in the name of my 5 rescue babies. Why don't people spay and neuter? Why don't communities help in the TNR programs available? I don't understand. I really don't understand what is wrong with people.

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