With kittens in danger of being killed in shelters this spring and summer, Alley Cat Allies is offering its Wait Until 8 program to help animal shelters, humane societies, and communities work together to save kittens’ lives instead.
Many kittens are born between early spring and late summer, a period known as kitten season. During this time, well-meaning people find kittens outside and attempt to help by bringing them to shelters. However, they often don’t realize that most kittens brought to shelters, especially those who are less than eight weeks old, will die there.
To help address this problem, Alley Cat Allies created Wait Until 8 – a program that harnesses the compassion of communities to help care for more kittens in need. “Shelters need help to save the kittens that come in the door, especially when they don’t have the ability or staff to care for them,” says Becky Robinson, the president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. Tips for caring for newborn to four-week old neonatal kittens are available from Alley Cat Allies. Shelters participating in the program also distribute a Kitten Care Kit (see image at right) that enables people to care for young, unweaned kittens until they reach eight weeks old. The kit includes:
- A nursing bottle
- A syringe for food and medications
- Canned food for kittens who start weaning
- A foil pan and kitty litter for a starter litter box
- Cleanup pads
- A cat carrier to transport supplies or kittens
- Caring for Neonatal Kittens info sheet
Even if caregivers don’t have an active program nearby, they can still create their own Wait Until 8 kit using simple, do-it-yourself ideas. When kittens reach eight weeks old or weigh two pounds, they can be brought back to the shelter to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. They can then enter the shelter’s adoption program or be adopted by the caregivers who found them.
Wait Until 8 has already proven successful in Hillsborough County, Florida, where the number of kittens euthanized dropped by 80 percent in five years.
Find more information about the Alley Cat Allies Wait Until 8 program at alleycat.org.