Pomp and Circumstance: 1,500+ Kittens Graduate from the ASPCA Kitten Nursery

November 10, 2015

Pomp and Circumstance: 1,500+ Kittens Graduate from the ASPCA Kitten Nursery

Staff and caregivers at the ASPCA Kitten Nursery hosted a graduation ceremony Tuesday morning for more than 1,500 kittens who’ve successfully made their way through the nursery since it opened for the season in May.

During a solemn but sweet procession, two dozen nursery workers clad in celebratory t-shirts and mortar boards cradled kittens and filed into the Nursery to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

“The road you faced was one of uncertainty, but now you are ready for the next phase of your life—adoption,” announced Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Center. “We can’t give these kittens diplomas, but we can get them into safe and loving homes.”

Pomp and Circumstance: 1,500+ Kittens Graduate from the ASPCA Kitten Nursery

During the last six months, staff from New York’s city shelters made daily visits to the Nursery to deliver kittens too young to survive on their own. More than 50 ASPCA workers—including caregivers, medical caregivers, licensed veterinary techs and veterinarians—worked 24/7 in nearly nine-hour shifts to provide care.

“This was such a positive experience, helping this project evolve and develop,” said Sabrina Velazquez, the Nursery’s Medical Manager and a Licensed Veterinary Technician at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “It’s nice to be able to put a name and a furry face to each and every one of these kittens. That makes it real.”

Medical Administrative Assistant Crissy Martinez-Muñoz works to schedule each kitten for spay or neuter surgery. “I’m the last stage before they go to adoptions, so by the time they reach me, they’re halfway home,” she said. Crissy has kept track of the more than 800 kittens adopted so far this season.

Caregiver Teandra Henry said, “It’s rewarding to see them go from not wanting to eat, to putting on weight, then developing personalities and becoming ready for adoption.”

At the graduation ceremony, Caregiver Emily San Martin cradled a five-ounce kitten named Zuri, whose eyes had recently opened. “He’s always hungry,” she explained, as she weighed him and prepared his bottle. Nearby, Janet Piez, another caregiver who volunteers regularly with the ASPCA, held Gage, a thin yet hungry male tabby. “He’ll catch up,” she said optimistically. “He’s a fighter.”

As the music drew to a close, the kittens, seemingly unfazed by the “paparazzi” in attendance, looked wide-eyed and curious, and a few meowed.

“These kittens have overcome immense obstacles,” Buchwald said in closing. “But they were determined to survive. Congratulations!”

Uma, a seven-week-old tabby who has overcome digestive problems, conjunctivitis, and upper respiratory issues, was more interested in playing with the tassel on caregiver Colleen Moore’s mortar board than in the surrounding hubbub.

Exciting news! These feline grads will be honored as ASPCA Cats of the Year at the 2015 Humane Awards Luncheon, which will be held on Thursday, November 12, in New York City.