DID YOU KNOW?
- A female cat can go into heat every 3 weeks and can have 3 litters every year.
- With 4-6 kittens per litter, an adult female can have up to 18 kittens per year and if left unaltered, they can have 180 kittens in their lifetime.
- Just one female cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 kittens in just 7 years. ::insert shocked expletive here::
Generally, kitten season begins in April and ends around September but apparently these South Florida kitties didn’t get the message. Due to our sub-tropical climate, kitten season usually begins here in March and doesn’t end until November which means H.A.L.O. receives in almost 450 kittens each year! Often, these kittens are too young to be without their mother and need nursing and medical attention around the clock. This is where our dedicated group of kitten fosters come in and we decided to give you an inside glimpse at a day in their life:
7:30 am – The alarm goes off, and it’s time to feed the babies! This is also the point where you start praying they’re half as clean as you left them last night (that never happens). At 5 weeks old and hovering around 1 pound each, they’re still getting the hang of using the litter box properly and then staying out of it afterwards. This means a small wipe down is usually in order before the food comes. After breakfast and any necessary medications are dispensed, it’s time for clean up and head to work!
12:30 pm – It’s lunch time! Hungry kittens have a tendency to (lightly) chomp on your fingers, so it’s best to get that food prepared and let ‘em at it. With these guys, the smaller one has mastered the art of sticking his face in the bowl without getting food all of the way up to his eyes, but his brother still struggles with the concept and needs a little more guidance to keep both paws out of his meal.
6:00 pm – Home from work, babies in tow, and time for another feeding. At this age, their metabolism works so quickly that their full bellies from lunch are already back down to normal and they’re squealing for the good stuff. These two have a tendency to toss their litter all over the carrier throughout the day, so this is usually a good time to change their blankets and get fresh ones.
11:00 pm – Mix up some food for the fourth meal of the day and the feeding lessons continue. Most medications and supplements are given twice daily, so these guys get their second dose of antibiotics for their upper respiratory infection (a.k.a. kitten cold) and a little eye ointment for their minor eye infection. As a foster, this is personally my favorite time of the day because I am able to socialize with them a bit more and watch their personalities flourish.
Weeks of love and care lead up to that inevitable goodbye. The time comes to pack up your happy, healthy babies and bring them to the shelter to stay until their forever families come scoop them up. You’ve seen them through the tough times, the long nights and the early mornings, and yes, they take a small piece of your heart with them when they go. But with every new life that enters yours, your heart gets a little bit bigger and a little stronger. You might even breathe a sigh of relief at all of the free time you have without fosters in the house, but it won’t be long before you’re once again waiting for the call, eager to welcome a new little love to your life.
We are so very thankful for our amazing foster parents who dedicate their lives to these beautiful little souls. If you are interested in donating your time to the kittens, please contact us (772) 589-7297 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign up online at www.halorescuefl.org/foster-application.