Although the name “kitten season” sounds precious, the reality of the strain it puts on shelters isn’t so cute. When warmer months hit, female cats go into heat and litters upon litters of kittens are born. For newborn kittens found without a mother, they face a treacherous path. The most vulnerable are neonatal kittens (newborns to 4 weeks of age), otherwise known as “bottle babies”. Kittens this old cannot fend for themselves, necessitating round-the-clock care from kind and giving humans. Care that includes bottle feeding every two to three hours and helping the babies with what their mother would typically do, including stimulating them to urinate and defecate, keeping them warm and clean, and teaching them to wean onto solid food once they reach a certain age.
This is where our wonderful foster volunteers come in. Without their assistance, shelters around the country like ours are overwhelmed with tiny felines that cannot survive on their own. We count on our foster volunteers to be the safe, warm homes that this abundance of “bottle babies” needs. Bring a willing heart and we can give you all the supplies and training necessary for success.
APS of Durham foster volunteers find the situation to be very rewarding. One kitten foster mom said, “I’ve enjoyed seeing these tiny kittens blossom into happy, healthy little beings who move on to wonderful homes that love and adore them. You know you’ve done right in the world and feel good. Then you get to start over with a new kitten or 2 or 3! If you’ve ever thought about fostering, don’t hesitate any longer, it really is a great opportunity to help kittens AND make your heart swell.”
For those who can’t foster at this time, there are so many other ways you can help APS of Durham during Kitten Season. You can volunteer in the shelter to help keep cats and kittens healthy and happy. Donations of goods to support fosters are also incredibly important. Simply head to the “how you can help” section of the APS website to find the wish list with much-needed items specifically for kitten season, including essentials like replacement milk formula and heating pads to keep bottle babies warm. Monetary support is always appreciated and can go directly where it is needed most – in the Kitten foster program. Lastly, if you’re looking to adopt, there’s no better time than kitten season to adopt from APS because you’re giving more cats and kittens a chance.
APS of Durham is asking for Durhamites to stand up and sign up as a foster to the many “bottle baby” kittens that will need our care this summer. Fostering the littlest of the kittens makes the biggest of impacts.
Find out more about fostering at APS here.