A Purr-fect Kitten Day
During the summer feline breeding season, known as kitten season, animal shelters across the country are flooded with homeless and newborn cats. From April through November, these felines often need specialized care until they are ready to find their new homes.
Between our Kitten Nursery in New York City and our robust foster programs in New York and Los Angeles, we help thousands of kittens every year with your support. Kittens have many needs when they enter a shelter: medical treatments, vaccinations, microchipping, food, love and more.
But what do kittens do all day at the Kitten Nursery?
1:00 AM: It’s time for bottle-feeding neonatal kittens and keeping up with laundry needs.
4:00 AM: Time for another round of bottle-feeding and preparing milk for the day. Older kittens who have graduated from bottle-feeding are hand fed using a tongue depressor and some encouragement from humans. Staff will also begin daily cleaning of kitten and cat kennels at the Kitten Nursery.
7:00 AM: That’s right—more bottle-feeding! Newborn kittens must be bottle-fed every three hours to get the nourishment they need for their tiny bodies so they can grow into strong cats. Our team also prepares kittens who are scheduled to be spayed or neutered that day.
10:00 AM: In addition to bottle-feeding, kittens need the warmth and love of their mother. But what about orphaned kittens who arrive in our care? ASPCA staff recreate the feeling of a mother cat’s tongue by brushing the small kittens’ bodies with a soft toothbrush.
1:00 PM: More kittens arrive at our facility from partner shelters. They receive intake exams from our medical team, and if needed, some kittens will get soothing baths. They are dried with the warmth of a gentle blow dryer because they are not yet old enough to regulate their own body temperature.
4:00 PM: It’s time to send kittens to foster! There’s no place like a home setting to get them used to the sights, sounds and experiences to prepare them as future beloved pets. It’s very important for kittens to be socialized with people regularly and our foster volunteers are happy to do it! Kittens enjoy various forms of enrichment like plush, stuffed toys, cardboard scratchers and new scents. Enrichment supplies are sent home with every litter of foster kittens.
7:00 PM: After each feeding, newborn kittens need assistance to relieve themselves. If momma cat is not present, human caregivers lend a helping hand! For older kittens, kitten litter needs to be changed frequently and monitored to make sure our kittens are using their litter box after they eat.
10:00 PM: Kittens are still being bottle-fed every three hours in addition to all of the other care our ASPCA staff and volunteers provide to them throughout the day. Kitten formula is warmed up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, the same temperature of the milk that a kitten would have received from his or her mother.
WOW—what a day!