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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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Regina Tague

this is so wonderful. the work you all do is astounding. i know it's hard work, i've done it on a much smaller scale, but the payback is endless. thank you for caring so much!

Deidra

I could care less what you make, we have both rich and not so rich friends, the rich ones don't brag about their $$'s. You would never even know they had a lot of money. And I have to agree with "Glen", what does this information you put out there, have to do with the ASPCA?? We don't make that kind of money, and are retired, I still manage to give 2 large bags of dog food, 2 bags of cat food, 2 bags of puppy food, and 2 bags of kitten food. It's not much, but at least we do what we can. I am so thankful for the ASPCA, and our local humane society! They do all they can to help our animals. My own fuzzy faced boy, came from our local Humane Society, and he is the most wonderful and loving Border Collie! He had been abused as a puppy...by men...when he came to HS, they thought he was so beautiful, they sent him to our "Inmate Program" for training. Who ever trained him did such a wonderful job with him, and he learned to not be afraid of men. I have always loved Border Collies, we have had them before, they are just amazing! He is mama's boy, and tolerates my husband. He never ceases to make us laugh! He has brought such joy into our home! I would highly recommend looking into your local "Inmate Program," what you get is a well trained, loving dog! Someday, we will go that route once again. Bless all the animals!

Marisa

Kate099's comment is SPAM

Dominique

Thank you ASPCA for all your fine work- Blessings to you all who are working with these dear beings. Much Love to you

Lisa

Thank You ASPCA and all the volunteers & donors for all non-profits. Volunteers and donors are really awesome people.!!
Just a thought for the feline feral population....
What Saint Paul and now Minneapolis have started doing is live trapping the feral males only, neutering them, rabies vaccination and then releasing them. The feral cat population in Saint Paul has finally stopped increasing and is slightly declining. Minneapolis has just started the program (because of the success in St. Paul), so Mpls. does not have any population results yet.
For more info to discuss a city-wide or county program, You can contact Feline Rescue in St. Paul or the Golden Valley Humane Society in Minneapolis.
It is not necessary to capture both the male and female ferals for neutering and spading.... the feral population can be slowed by just neutering the males. This will decrease the program cost tremendously.

Clova

Too many cat owners spay their females only after they are surprised by a first litter. If all of us would take it upon ourselves to educate our cat owning associates that the females should be spayed on later than 5 months, a lot of those first litters could be avoided. How many times have you heard a cat owner telling a lengthy story about an unexpected litter (and sometimes even an unexpected second litter) and conclude their story, proudly announcing "but we have her spayed now!" They went to the expense and the effort to get the cat spayed, but their timing was disasterous. We can prevent many letters by being proactive in educating others.

Clova

Correcting the typing error in my previous post - I meant to say females should be spayed NO later than five months.

Karen

Donate to the ASPCA. They are a very exceptional group of people who are dedicated and very kind hearted to ALL animals. Keep up the good work :)

Kris Cordova

Thank you for caring. The animal shelter in my town has had a hugh amount of
kittens brought to them. We helped fill the need for milk, but they will need
forever homes soon.

Flo

What these people are doing is amazing. I donate and sponsor cat cages at my local SPCA. I have adopted 5 kittens that were "dropped off" because owner's of mama could not place them.
I find it unbelievably irresponsible of these people not to spend the money to have mama cat spayed. I see so many homeless cats sitting in cages waiting to be loved and it's just not fair to those babies.
I am not a perfect person by any means, however all of my fur kids have been neutered and spayed, are not allowed outside where dangers exist and get proper medical care. If you can't treat your pet's like children.....DON'T GET THEM TO BEGIN WITH!!!!!
These animals deserve so much better. However, it reassures my faith in human kind that organizations with such incredible people exist to care for the irresponsibility of others. God Bless you all!!!!

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