ANIMAL CONNECTION: SPCA Albrecht Center surviving the kitten season
In my totally biased, cat-loving, wanting-to-own-a-farm-of-cats opinion, kittens are on the top of my “Cutest Things On The Face of This Planet” list. From their tiny “meows” to their clumsy rompings, I can’t help but fall in love with each kitten I see. Lucky for me, during this time of year there are plenty of kittens to share my love with.
During the springtime, shelters across the country are overcrowded with the 20 *MILLION* kittens that are being born in the U.S. this spring alone ( ASPCA.org ). At the SPCA Albrecht Center, we are already overcrowded with more than 150 cats and kittens that are waiting to find their new homes and the calls to bring in new litters are coming in day after day.
When you find a litter of kittens, it can be difficult to make the right decision of whether or not to take the kittens to your local shelter. Thanks to Charleston Animal Society, the leader in the No-Kill South Carolina movement, we have a clear set of rules to follow when we stumble upon these adorable creatures:
To start, determine if the mother has abandoned her kittens or if she is off hunting some food for her young. Do this by simply observing the kittens and see if their momma returns in the next few hours. Observe from inside of your house, at a distance or in a hidden spot to ensure the mom is not returning because of your presence. Be patient ( CharlestonAnimalSociety.org ).
If you see the mom return, the best option is to leave the kittens with her. Just remember, “If you see, let ’em be.” As long as the location is safe, then leaving the offspring with their mom is best since she is the most capable in providing care. You can help with providing water, food or shelter. Keep the area as safe as possible until you see the kittens exploring on their own. This is the ideal time to bring them to a shelter or veterinarian for a health checkup, spay/neuter and socialization ( CharlestonAnimalSociety.org ).
If you do not see the mother of the kittens return after eight-hours, you believe she has abandoned her young or the kittens are in danger, there are a few options for you. The first option is to raise the kittens yourself. A second option is to take them to your local shelter to be fostered until they are old enough for adoption. Lastly, if the kittens are 6 weeks or older, TNR (trap, neuter, return) ( CharlestonAnimalSociety.org ).
If you are having trouble deciding if the kittens are old enough to be TNR’d, go to www.charlestonanimalsociety.org/baby-kittens where they have provided videos to help you determine their age.
It’s important to note that if you just want to remove the cats from your property then the best option is to TNR the mom and the kittens when they are old enough. Simply removing the stray cats will only open up the area for a new stray cat to move in, and statistics show that this will happen.
TNR is the safest option in preventing stray overpopulation of cats and will still allow them to live a long and healthy life. If you are interested in reading about the benefits of TNR, visit Alley Cat Allies’ website where they discuss how TNR stabilizes feral cat colonies, improves and protects cats’ lives and helps the community ( www.alleycat.org ).
If you choose to TNR, visit www.spcavetcare.org/tnr to see how the Albrecht Center’s program works in Aiken.
To help find amazing homes for the many cats and kittens we have at the SPCA Albrecht Center, we will be offering an adoption special this week only (June 11-16): FREE adult cats and half-off kittens. As always, we are committed to finding the best homes for our animals and will be sure our animals are being placed with the right families despite the discounted adoption fees.
Adoption fees include: spay/neuter, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchip implant, deworming and feline leukemia testing. If you are interested in adopting, visit the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (adoption processing ends at 4 p.m.).
For cat adoptions, you must be 18 years or older, have a valid driver’s license, a copy of the medical records for all current pets (be sure all current pets are up-to-date on vaccinations) and a carrier to take your fur-ever friend home.