Foster Newborn Kittens
Newborn kittens, which are too young to be put up for adoption, overrun animal shelters. As litter after litter of newborn kittens arrive, already-overtaxed shelters can get stretched to the breaking point as their space and resources for caring for these unwanted animals begin to dwindle. By volunteering to foster newborn kittens in your home, you can help shoulder some of the shelters' burden and reduce the need for euthanasia during peak months, particularly in spring and summer.
Most animals begin to give birth as the warm weather arrives, and that's the time shelters call "kitten season." Newborn kittens are brought to the shelter too young to be adopted — which generally means less than eight weeks old — and shelter staff must find some way to provide them with the extra care and socialization they need during their first few weeks of life. Unfortunately, kitten season is also the time of maximal stress and overcrowding at animal shelters, making disease more likely, and shelter workers' time is stretched thinner than ever. Often, shelter staff simply do not have the time to provide the care and attention newborn kittens need.
Not only are there increased numbers of newborn kittens to care for during kitten season, there are also many more adoptable older kittens and cats to accommodate than at other times of the year. Sadly, it is often the adult cats at shelters who first begin to pay the price of the influx of kittens, as potential adopters overlook them in favor of the many adorable, active kittens available. In some shelters, that will lead to increased rates of euthanasia of the cats who are not quickly adopted.
In the United States alone, millions of cats and kittens are euthanized each year for lack of homes to adopt them. Each and every one of these unwanted animals is the result of some pet owners' failure to spay or neuter their pets. Since one unspayed cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 new kittens in seven years, the consequences quickly become overwhelming.
Until we see the day when every pet cat is spayed or neutered, many shelters and rescue groups have established kitten foster programs to help cope with the seasonal influx of newborn kittens. By volunteering as a foster parent for newborn kittens, you can help give newborn kittens the best start on a happy and healthy life.
I Did This!
Fostering newborn kittens may demand a fair bit of your energy, but it's also one of the most gratifying ways to help. You may just decide to turn your foster home into a permanent one!
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