September 16, 2014

ASPCA Happy Tails: From Neonate to New Home

Back in June, we told you about the ASPCA’s new neonatal kitten ward. This first-of-its-kind facility was designed specifically to manage the influx of newborn kittens that flood shelters every year during feline breeding season (also known as “kitten season”). Now, just three months later, we are thrilled to share one of the neonatal ward’s very first success stories. Here is Catsup’s “Happy Tail.”

Catsup was one of the very first patients to enter the ASPCA’s kitten ward. He and his siblings were found as motherless strays in the Bronx, New York. They were only three days old. After arriving at our new facility, the kitties received round-the-clock attention from our expert Animal Care Technicians and caregivers.  Every two hours, the 8-oz. newborns were fed kitten milk replacer (KMR) through a syringe until their little bellies expanded with contentment. Then, our staff applied warm, wet gauze to their rear ends to encourage defecation and urination—something a mama cat would normally do by licking her young. Once satisfied, Catsup and his siblings snuggled together and slept (until it was time for the next feeding two hours later!). It was a safer, happier, and healthier beginning than they ever could have had on the streets.

Orange cat playing with toy

After three months, Catsup was old enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center, where he was promptly adopted. We were thrilled that he had found a home—until we learned that he was being returned two weeks later. The adopter had not been fully prepared for the demands of a kitten and couldn’t handle Catsup’s constant mewling. Though we were disappointed, fate had someone even better in mind for Catsup: Ilana.

The day after Catsup’s return, Ilana and her boyfriend, Jesse, came to the ASPCA. The animal-lovers had been planning to adopt a kitten for almost a year, but something about June 24 felt like the perfect day to take the plunge. At the Adoption Center, they met Catsup and it was love at first sight. “We knew he was for us as soon as he climbed onto my lap without hesitation,” recalls Ilana. “He was so outgoing and loving, we had to take him home.”

Man, woman and cat hanging out

Ilana’s home proved to be the perfect fit, and Catsup settled into his new life beautifully. Ilana calls him “an explorer” and tells us, “He has run of the household and now wakes us up with loving nudges every morning.” Catsup’s new home also came with a new name: Theodore.

From the uncertainty of his first days on the streets of New York City, Theodore has come so far. Thanks to our new kitten ward—and to Ilana and Jesse—this sweet baby has found a better life than he ever could have dreamed of. And we know he is just relishing the experience! 

ASPCA ACT feeding kitten

Catsup in the neonatal kitten ward.