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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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.


Debbie I couldn't agree more. I have worked with a local vet who received a grant under Maddie's Fund. Together we have trapped, spayed/neutered and released or found homes for approximately 85 cats/kittens in my neighborhood. This was farmland prior to building my home. Mothers, fathers and babies - we trapped them all. Often I could coax the mom into my basement by bringing her babies in which made it easier to get her to the vet when the time came. Our feral population has been eliminated. A very successful way to control feral cats. The ASPCA and the USHS , both of which I contribute to monthly, need to work harder at getting people involved. We'll continue having millions of kittens (and puppies) each year, many of which are killed, unless we educate people and get volunteers to help with the TNR programs.


a lot of unwanted kittens could be avoided if people would have their kitties spayed or neutered.


Every time I see these tiny babies it brings a tear to my eye. How can people abandon them. Thank God for organizations like the ASPCA.


to kate099- you are an idiot. 1st - no one believes that you can make that much money that easily - not legally anyway & 2nd - unless you are big huge & I mean HUGE donations to the SPCA, no one gives a rats behind about how much money you claim you make.


It's spam. Not a real person.


Yes it's most likely spam however a human had to prepare it and prepare a mailing list or system of distribution. Email spams don't happen all by themselves. So whoever wrote and distributed that ridicules spam, get a life and get a real job.


Bless you for all that you do for the kittens. This season is the hardest for those of us in rescue. Thanks to you, there will be more tears.....happy tears this kitten season!

Lynn Wolf

I just love what you are doing and love these precious fur babies!! Thay are just adorable. Please keep up the great work and thank you so much!!!


Yeah really! Who cares what you earn...if you are such a big shot with money, DONATE! What does any of what you said have to do with these fine human beings who care for these animals...and SHAME ON the ones that cause harm and pain to any animal!!@!!!