Kittens abound at Foothills Humane society

Published 10:36 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

I want to thank all you wonderful folks who came out for the Adopt-a-Thon over the last two weeks.
Everyone really appreciated your support and we hope you liked the look of the newly remodeled shelter, and especially the gorgeous photo of Yours Truly, taken by a terrific photographer, my friend Shelley Dayton.
We are smack in the middle of puppy and kitten season; some days I think it is raining kittens. Lately folks have been bringing too-young-to-be-separated-from-mom kittens into the shelter, saying they haven’t seen the mom around. Many cat mothers are shy of humans when they have kittens and will stay away if they know a human is watching. We beg you, please, to leave the kittens with mom until they are 8 weeks old. The law does not allow kittens under eight weeks to stay in the shelter, and therefore they must be fostered.
The kittens have much better outcomes if they stay with their moms for the full eight weeks. If you do keep them, please keep them in a safe area – a shed, garage, laundry room or spare bathroom.
I know, I know – I understand about keeping kittens around, believe me, there are days when my house is awash with kittens. Sigh, many of them are dehydrated, which means they need to be hand-fed every few hours. Some are so young they must be hand-fed around the clock. Some of them are loud and demanding (and little is louder than a demanding kitten) while others are so traumatized they are, sadly, silent.
Aside from the noise of hungry kittens, feeding time is my favorite time. The ones who are learning to eat on their own generally climb into the food dish and lie in it as they eat. Needless to say, it is a real mess.
At our house, feeding time happens in the laundry room (easier to clean) and the kittens emerge from their meal covered in a mixture of baby food and goat’s milk, dripping all over the floor.  If their mom is there, she handles the cleanup and in 30 minutes we have a pile of warm, dry, sleepy kittens. Staying warm is very important for kittens, otherwise they can get sick, literally within hours.
Once the kittens are old enough and healthy enough, the shelter staff checks the kittens and, if ready, separates them from mom, gives them their kitten shots, and they are ready for adoption. Mom gets to rest for a week or so and then she is spayed. She usually is returned to her home, but this time there are no future kittens to worry about.
As you can see, while the very special folks who are willing to foster kittens or kittens with moms make it look easy, it isn’t. We appreciate our kitten fosters more than we can say – and that comes from the bottom of my heart.

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