Kitten season has begun! Even though it’s barely spring, already kittens are found outdoors and surrendered to shelters as well as given to foster with or without their mom. The little guy below is so young his eyes are just barely opening.
Kittens are about the cutest things on earth with their audacity at such young ages to play hard and explore. The little puff balls fear nothing in their quest to capture and kill sparkle balls and wrestle until they fall asleep where they stand.
Those are in the best of moments. Not all kittens are born in the best loving homes. Many kittens are born outdoors to mother cats who were abandoned, often because they were pregnant, yet they weren’t given the help they needed, simply left to fend for themselves. These four kittens were abandoned and brought in to be surrendered to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.
Without their mom they need all the care a mom cat would give, from bottle feeding replacement kitten formula every two hours with stimulation to be sure all that goes in comes out the right way, then weaning to quality solid food intended for kittens, and teaching about the litterbox and making sure they play and keeping them healthy until they are two months and/or two pounds and can be spayed or neutered, get their first set of shots and then go up for adoption if they seem ready.
If they have a mom they still need the best food since moms eat kitten food while nursing as well to be sure their body stays in top shape while the kittens are taking so much in nutrients in her milk.
Then mom needs to be spayed and find a home as well. Sometimes mom needs to be trapped and assessed if she’s friendly enough to come in and feed her kittens, or spayed while her kittens are cared for, then returned so she can continue nursing.
This can be very complicated, especially if the mother cat turns out to be feral, or the kittens are in a public place where trapping the mother is very difficult. This mom turned out to be friendly enough.
Often these early litters are the first litters to very young mother cats born the previous year and who may have gone into heat as early as four months old. These mothers may have escaped the house while in heat and not found their way back. She may have also been tossed out and abandoned because she was annoying while in heat or because the person responsible didn’t want to have her spayed because it was too expensive or too much trouble—these are given as reasons by the persons who abandon cats every day.
These very young inexperienced mothers can suffer starvation and impairment to their own development, and be depleted by their developing kittens. Birth itself can have many complications that the mother never recovers from. Then feeding kittens outdoors in the cold when they are still kittens themselves can simply be impossible and mean the losses of the entire little family.
These kittens have just come into our rescue group, the black and white mom and litter surrendered by the owner to a rescuer, the motherless litter of three gray and one cream pointed kitten surrendered to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and requested to be fostered by Pittsburgh CAT. The litter of four gray and one black was found at a public place with the umbilicals still attached and the rescuer scooped them up, fed them, and made them a lure to successfully trap the mother and sent them off to a foster home with Pittsburgh CAT as well.
The formula and kitten food, as well as veterinary care and other necessities like litter and toys and washing a lot of towels and blankets and beds is way more expensive than just having one cat or a few fosters. Though we spay and neuter all through the year in the hopes of reducing the numbers of cats and kittens in need, the numbers are still staggering but the end of summer, and kittens are still found into November. Last year we rescued, fostered and rehomed over 100 kittens from calls for rescue. This year in addition to found kittens needing foster homes, Pittsburgh CAT will also be working with the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society to foster as many neo-natal, very young, and sick kittens as possible to save their lives and give them the best chance at forever homes. If you can help with a purchase from one of the wish lists, please do!
Adoption fees waived for adopting cats older than six months!
These kittens aren’t adoptable yet, but will be when they are old enough—some of them are already spoken for! But you know what? We still have some purrfectly wonderful adult cats who are still looking for homes. If you adopt an adult cat you not only give that cat an excellent forever home—yours—but then that foster home can take another adult or a litter of kittens. So consider adopting an adult cat, all adoption fees waived, through Pittsburgh Cat!
Thanks to Wendi Stafford Wiegand, Tarra Provident, Margo Cicci Wisniewski, Stephanie Mosco and Kelly Lassinger for all the wonderful photos! But most of all thanks for all the hard work!
Amazon Wish Lists
Many rescuers pay out of pocket for veterinary care and food but the costs of raising even the average litter of four healthy kittens is more than many people have, and many rescues have greater needs. Pittsburgh CAT has a number of wish lists that include foods for feeding neo-natal kittens like KMR, and other lists that include the best kitten foods, adult cat foods, food and materials for feral cats, and preferred toys and litter.
Pittsburgh CAT Wish List: http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/2IUQ0FQOL2I51
2015 Foster Cat/Kitten Wish List: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1A1HUNQ7J3DL/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_v?
Winter Kitten Wish List! http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3CZ6IYCKS2A7N/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_v?
Fall Wishlist for Fosters/Ferals! http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2TD3TQBOEMT1E/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_v?
Food For Foster Kittens: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/OJQIYGC91289/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_v?
Our Groups Foster Kittens! http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1D226142CCGZX/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_v?
Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.
There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.
- Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
- Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
- Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
- Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
- Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.
If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.
Need to know more? Read Fostering for Your Shelter and Fostering Saves Lives
Browse some rescued cats and kittens—browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.