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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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David C. Rothage

God bless the ASPCA for the purry wonderful improvement for the lives of all kittens! :)

Jane Davison

I think that this is wonderful helping these kittens who are with us at this age. This is good work and a job well done. The nursery is a super idea and I hope you keep up all of this.

Jane Davison

I am very pleased that this is taking place. Having someone come and do this like the mother is reall y good and it helps with all of these kittens. I will be helping Beverly Animal Shelter this summer which has a lot of kittens come in al lot.

leslie engler

Please i beg of you--have your kitty spayed and/or neutered. Thank you. Mating is very painful for kitties. They do not need it. They need your love.

neva

Living in Los Angeles its been so frustrating dealing with those who just abandon newborn kittens to die!! I have tried to nurse so many baby kittens with no mother so many times with few surviving! Its been some years now that Ive been doing this and it never gets any easier. Trying my best to be there caregiver ( and God knows I try) its just not the same as if they were nursing with the mama cat! They need there mother!! Ive often wished there was a place with round the care was offered! Im just so overjoyed to know a nursery exsist out there and maybe someday there will be more in place for every state! My heart goes out to you! thank-you!

elitepro

great that you try to prevent unwanted pets born.
but the trouble with non profits is that they have the worst people doing their social media. I have tweeted on several of my accounts that people should spend a second of their time to vote for the ASPCA TO GET BIG $ at shoeloverscare dot com but the @aspca twitter account does not retweet it @elitePro

lilyben

my neighbor's step-sister brought home $20864 a week ago. she has been making cash on the internet and bought a $519900 home. All she did was get lucky and apply the advice exposed on this link??????? M­­­?­­­A­­­?­­­X­­­?­­­4­­­3.C­­­O­­­M­­­

Barb

Thank God we have good people out there to help these precious souls. Let us all be the voice for the innocent babies that have no voice. All animals rock.

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