March is the beginning on “kitten season” and while everyone loves tiny kittens, it’s a heartbreaking time for many who have to work in shelters across the United States, where many of these tiny kittens won’t make it to see their first birthday. This is especially true in kill-shelters. Best Friends Animal Society is working hard on changing this across the country. This year, as part of their goal to make Los Angeles, California No Kill by 2017, the society has partnered with Kitten Rescue Los Angeles to open a new Kitten Nursery to help save even more cats this coming season.
Marc Peralta, executive director of Best Friends–L.A. says, “We know exactly what we need to do to get Los Angeles to No-Kill by 2017. This year we need to save 5,500 more cats. More specifically, we need to save a lot more neonate kittens who enter city shelters.”
The Best Friends shelter will be increasing it’s capacity to save 2,900 kittens in addition to opening the new Kitten Nursey with Kitten rescue, one of their No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) Coalition partners.
What’s A Kitten Nursery?
Oftentimes, the kittens that are brought in by well-meaning people are to young to be away from their mother. Sometimes the mom is brought in, often not. Many of them are also weak and/or sick.
Ben Lehrer of Kitten Rescue says, “Although shelter euthanasia has been dropping steadily since the launch of NKLA in 2011, the relative percentage of kittens euthanized has actually increased because the shelters don’t have resources to handle them.”
According to Best Friends, The local rescue community faces the same struggle and must work overtime to save as many kittens as possible from April to October, when the need is greatest.
Kitten nurseries are very time and resource intensive in terms of staffing, supplies, and veterinary care, which is why most shelters aren’t able to operate similar nurseries with municipal budgets.
The kitten nursery at the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center in Mission Hills is located in a separate wing, which helps with disease prevention. The nursery is set up to prove round-the-clock care for fragile neonatal kittens and has feeding stations, incubators for newborns, rooms for weaned kittens, and a room for kittens that come in with their mothers (aka the “Mommy & Me” suite).
They are open 24/7, to provide around the clock care for these wee-ones, including multiple bottle feedings when necessary. All the kittens directly from the six Los Angeles Animal Services shelters. The Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center is not a direct intake facility.
Every kitten will stay with them until they are big enough to be spayed/neutered and then they will become available for adoption.
Ben explains Kitten Rescue’s commitment to NKLA like this: “If we can solve the kitten problem in our city shelters, we can achieve our goal of making L.A. a no-kill city.
How You Can Help
If you would like to help the kittens that are coming into these nurseries, you can make a monetary donation here. For in-kind gifts, check out their Amazon wish list. It costs roughly $250 to rescue one kitten – so imagine if each of you donated enough to save one kitten? We could really make a difference this season and save many lives. For more information on the Kitten nursery, go here.