As COVID-19 continues to linger, the need for animal care hasn’t slowed down a single bit and continues to be an absolute essential in our everyday lives.
Within the last week and a half, the Humane Society of Imperial County has already received a couple of calls about “abandoned” kittens or mothers with kittens, and concerned citizens wanting to know if we can help. We have even taken in a mother with newborn kittens already. There are a few things we would like to remind everyone about so that our team is able to help during the 2021 kitten season:
First and probably most importantly, we are in DESPERATE need of fosters! There are three kinds of fosters we look for when kitten season comes around:
1. Fosters who can open their homes to mother cats with kittens. It is crucial that mom has a quiet, safe and clean place to raise her babies.
2. Experienced bottle feeders for kittens that are found without their mother. Neonate (newborn) and very young kittens require frequent feeding and around-the-clock care. Kittens like this cannot be raised in the shelter.
3. Fosters who can open their homes to older litters of kittens. Being out of the shelter and some extra TLC will help them grow quickly until they are ready for adoption within a few weeks.
Whichever kind of foster you are most comfortable becoming, please keep in mind that fostering is a one- to three-month commitment. We, of course, are more than happy to supply our fosters with all necessary food and supplies. If you choose to purchase your own supplies, your purchases can be used as a tax deduction.
For those who are not able to foster but would still like to help, food and supply donations are critical during this time. Items that are needed most are kitten milk replacement formula (powdered form), small heating pads, unscented baby wipes, bottles/syringes, turkey or chicken human baby food, and miracle nipples.
If you would like to donate any of these items, please bring them by the shelter during business hours, and please make sure to ask a team member for a donation receipt as all donations to our shelter are tax-deductible.
We would also like everyone to know what to do when a litter of kittens is found. A litter of kittens that have been found hidden somewhere (in bushes, underneath or behind something, etc.) does not necessarily mean that they have been abandoned. Usually their mother has hidden them while she is out in search of food or if she is in the process of moving them to a safer and quieter location.
It is important to remember to not disturb the nest in hopes that mom will come back for them. Hovering over the nest or constantly checking on them may scare mom away as she will think you are a predator. She will not return to a constantly disturbed nest with a human hovering over her babies. If mom does not return within 12 to 24 hours, you may want to consider taking them in and quickly finding a safe outlet for them. If that much time has passed, it may be possible that mom is not returning.
Lastly, SPAY AND NEUTER! Whether you have cats of your own or there are feral/community cats in your neighborhood, please help in doing your part to stop the pet overpopulation.
Also, it is extremely important to remember that if you are feeding feral/community cats then you must be proactive in spaying and neutering them as well. The Humane Society of Imperial County does have low-cost spay/neuter and TNR programs available to all community members for any kind of feline friend they may encounter. To schedule an appointment, please call our office during business hours.
Kitten season and the warmer months are the time of the year when the shelter needs support of our community members the most. We understand that everyone wants what is best for our feline friends, and our team members and volunteers feel the exact same way, but we cannot do it alone. Please let us count on YOU in helping our community to get through this year’s kitten season.
To become a foster, for a full list of donation supplies or for more information, please call the shelter during our business hours. You can also email us at [email protected]
Please share this info with all your friends and family, and thank you all in advance!
Devon Apodaca is executive director of the Humane Society of Imperial County.