Moment of hope in overwhelming week at shelter

Summertime at South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter is like Christmas season in the retail business. The pace is frantic, the hours are long, and it’s a make-it-or-break-it situation. The animals pour in the doors, brought in by animal control officers, citizens finding strays, and owners unable to keep their pets or the offspring of their pets. With the building population at its height, staff and volunteers must spend long hours making sure all the animals get the care and attention that they so desperately need. The pressure to find homes and rescues for all of them is overwhelming.

Last week was especially difficult, because it seemed as though the rest of the world was on vacation. Adoptions were slow and no shelters or rescues were accepting transfers. On top of the usual craziness, all the electronics in the building seemed to have some sort of problem; the air conditioning was on the blink, the phones were acting up, the computers were having issues and the alarm system was going off repeatedly for no apparent reason. It was the kind of week that made me think I might enjoy a career as a barista or maybe a receptionist somewhere. But then, late Friday afternoon, I was reminded of what’s really important, when a couple of my former foster pets came in for a visit.

One of the most rewarding things in my life is to foster animals until they are ready for adoption. It can be a tough letting go when that time comes, but it is worth every moment of angst to see those animals become part of a loving family. If you are familiar with this column, you probably remember the stories about the Valentine litter that I had; born right before Christmas and adopted out in February, they and their mother were one of the highlights of my fostering experiences.

The mother is very special to me; she was part of my family for three months, and l loved experiencing the birth and raising of her pups. She had come from a rough

situation, pregnant and running loose on the streets of Bridgeton, but her luck certainly changed once the animal control officer brought her into the shelter. After delivering and weaning her pups, when the time came for her to be adopted out, it just so happened that the absolute perfect home needed a little girl like her to help fill the void of a beloved Schnauzer they had lost just before Christmas. Searching through the pets listed on the shelter’s website, the little dog’s wiry hair and intelligent eyes caught their attention right away. My precious mama dog, now Gidget, was on her way to live the life of an adored and pampered member of the family.

As fate had it, she would not be the only one of my foster animals to end up in the Burgos’ home. Having suffered the loss of another senior dog, they were soon on the

When they came in to see me last week, they were like a breath of fresh air. What a great job, I thought; who else gets to experience the fruit of their labors in the form of wagging tails and excited kisses? Even if only for a few precious moments, the furious pace of the shelter and the aggravation of the malfunctioning electronics seemed to fade away in the happiness of the reunion.lookout for another companion. As if by divine intervention, I got a text message from them about their possible interest in adopting another pet right at the time that I had a new foster pup. I was ecstatic to be able to place another dog in such a wonderful home.

You don’t have to work at the shelter to experience the joy of rescuing pets. Become a foster parent today. Check out our website at southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org for more information on becoming a foster hero.

Source: Moment of hope in overwhelming week at shelter

If you love dogs, don’t let one be loneliest number

One of the biggest challenges in animal sheltering is finding placement for dogs who need to be the only dog in the household.

We really need to talk about dogs getting along with other dogs.

One of the biggest challenges in animal sheltering is finding placement for dogs who need to be the only dog in the household. It doesn’t mean they are unadoptable and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, but for some reason it makes it almost impossible to find them a home.

First, let’s talk about how we determine if a dog would do well in a home with other dogs. The first thing we do is look at the animal’s history, if we have access to it. Did they live or interact with other dogs? What sex and size were those dogs? How comfortable were they together?

There are a couple pieces of information we are looking for with the dog meet. First, we want to know how the dog reacts to seeing the other dog. If it’s immediately aggressive, that is concerning and we typically have to stop the meet for their safety. These dogs typically are not considered adoptable due to safety concerns.

But there are some dogs who just don’t do well with other dogs. It may be outright aggression, it may be defensiveness after surviving an attack, it may be resource guarding or it may be just a simple preference to not be messed with by another dog. Whatever the reason is, once they are labeled “only-dog,” their chances of finding a home decrease dramatically.

It doesn’t need to be that way. There are many, many homes out there that do not desire to have multiple dogs. It would be amazing if these families would consider some of our wonderful pups and see how much they have to offer. Having one dog allows you to really focus on the needs of that dog, and likely do more together. It’s also fewer vet bills to worry about.

Adopters should keep in mind that just because they need to live as an only-pet now, that doesn’t mean that once they relax out of the shelter and become more settled, that they won’t feel differently. Or that they can’t be around other dogs at social events. It all depends on your particular dog.

If you are looking for a special dog to be your one and only, consider Diamond, a beautiful pittie who lived with another dog for years and now prefers not to share the spotlight. She sure does have a lot of love to share. Take her out and she’ll give you her paw as a promise to be best friends. You also could check out Rusty, a little guy with a lot of potential. The shelter is stressful for Rusty, so it’s hard for him to be around other dogs at this time. But he’s otherwise a fun, young pup with a lot of love to share. Either of these dogs is sure to fill your heart.

Source: If you love dogs, don’t let one be loneliest number

What to do when cats are difficult to adopt

We’re going to bounce around a little bit in this column so that we can give you a couple of reminders and updates. First, as the warm weather has FINALLY graced us with its presence, it has brought the ticks with it. The South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter staff is seeing more and more of these pests on dogs coming into the shelter. With the uptick (no pun intended!) in tick-borne diseases, it is imperative for the health of your dog that you have him or her on a good external parasite preventative. Most external parasite treatments handle both fleas as well as ticks, and the fleas won’t be far behind. You can purchase the preventative treatments at the shelter, pet supply stores, vet offices and online. We always suggest that you consult with your veterinarian before starting treatment.

If you’ve been outdoors enjoying this nice weather, you also may have noticed all of the insects seem to have emerged overnight. I saw mosquitoes in my garden last week, which means your dog may be at risk of contracting heartworm disease if not on the preventative medication. Heartworm disease is fatal if not treated, but it’s easily preventable. You must take your dog to a veterinarian to get this medication, as it is not available over the counter.

Our foster homes are still filled with kittens who are not old enough to be placed in their permanent homes yet, and we are receiving more every day. We are always looking to recruit new foster homes and hope that you will consider learning about the impact you can have in saving the lives of pets in need by providing temporary care. Fostering can involve dogs or cats – whichever you are comfortable with – and may include an individual animal or a litter, according to your abilities. To learn about fostering, email our foster coordinator at fosters@southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org.

Finally, the shelter’s low-cost vaccine clinics begin on May 19 and will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of every month from now through October. Dogs and cats are welcome at the clinics. Dogs must be on short leashes with secure collars or harnesses. Cats MUST be in secure carriers. Rabies, distemper and Bordetella vaccines are available. If you want a three-year rabies vaccine, you must bring proof of the prior vaccine. Flea and tick preventatives are available at the clinics. We carry Provecta for dogs, which contains four monthly doses for $30; and Catego for cats, which contains three monthly doses for $35. Cash or credit cards are accepted. Our low-cost spay/neuter clinic is available every week; appointments can be made at the shelter or online. You can find us online at southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org.

Source: What to do when cats are difficult to adopt

A dog determined to go home from the shelter

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; love is blind … and often unexpected. Such was the case for the Fifth family when they came into the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter a few years back looking to adopt one of our big, beefy pit bulls. Mrs. Fifth is big into rescuing the breed, and the family already had a particular dog in mind when they visited. The new pet was to be a birthday gift for their daughter. What none of them expected was to leave the shelter with a half blind Chihuahua/terrier mix that was in pretty rough shape from his time on the streets of Vineland.

Although they had come to meet one of our female pits, you can’t walk into the adoption rooms and not take a look at everybody. Most people who come to the shelter with hopes of adopting like to walk through both the cat and dog rooms, even if they are looking for one specific thing. Curiosity is a wonderful thing and sometimes leads us down paths we hadn’t expected. In the Fifth family’s case, their find was the same species, just in a much smaller package.

As they toured the dog adoption room they came across Butterbean, a pint-sized, scruffy Chihuahua mix who decided this family was meant for him and he was going to get to them – even if he had to dig his way out of the concrete kennel! As they approached his kennel, he took one look at them and started to dig furiously at the floor as if to tunnel his way out to them. His attempts paid off, because he got their attention very quickly and the “love at first sight” thing seemed to go both ways.

Dobby, formerly known as Butterbean, has been a very happy addition to their household and a fixture on Mom’s lap. They are so enamored with him that they have entered him in the shelter’s Dog of the Year Contest. You can vote for Dobby or any of our 12 contestants online at southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org.

It’s wonderful that we are able to have such immediate connections with animals, especially when it flies in the face of our preconceived notions. The key of course, is to be realistic about whether the pet you fall for fits into your lifestyle in a manner that suits you both. Dobby’s situation was good because small packages can fit into large spaces, but the opposite can be challenging. People often come in looking for small dogs but are attracted to a big dog or a puppy that will grow into a much larger animal than they had in mind. Serious thought needs to given before taking in a pet whose needs are not what you had planned for. My Old English Sheepdog is from a rescue that took her in when her original owners could no longer keep her. She had been purchased at 8 weeks old as a present for the man’s girlfriend. They lived in a small, third-floor condo. At 13 weeks, the pup had grown to 28 pounds and they figured out very quickly that she was not going to fit into their apartment-style living.

Both Dobby and my sheepdog had wonderful endings to their stories, but the shelter often receives dogs who have outgrown their owner’s ability, or desire, to care for them. We have pets of a wide range of size and age at the shelter. We’d love to have you come in and meet your perfect match.

Source: A dog determined to go home from the shelter

Special help available for senior dogs, owners

The South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter in Vineland is proud to have been selected as a Grey Muzzle Organization grant recipient this year.

The Grey Muzzle Organization is a wonderful organization that funds programs run by shelters and rescues that benefit senior dogs. We have had this honor in the past, and our Grey Muzzle grants have helped to form and sustain our shelter’s Senior Society. This year’s grant is extra special because it allows us to expand our Senior Society to include community outreach and owner surrender prevention.

In addition to providing medical care for senior dogs who have been released to the shelter, were found as strays or are cruelty cases, we are now also able to offer assistance to members of our community who own senior dogs they want to keep but just need some help to be able to do so. We recognize that the best place for senior dogs is with the family who loves them, and now we have the ability to provide assistance to some families to keep them there!

We also have had situations where it’s not possible to support the dog staying home. We always strive to respect owners and their particular situation. The welfare of the animal is most important, but as a community-based program, working with and respecting owners is a part of our program as well. When these situations arise, we try to determine if it’s in the dog’s best welfare to be immediately brought to the shelter for care or if we have time to try to find a home or rescue for the dog so he can skip the often stressful shelter stay.

We are currently working with both situations:

  • Scooter’s family reached out for help and he was released to the shelter this weekend because he had developed a medical condition that needed medical care. He’s now receiving medication and soon will be looking for a new home.
  • We are also helping Mikey, a 15-year-old Corgi mix whose family is unable to care for him. They are keeping him at home until we find a family that can better meet his needs.

We also provide hospice care for senior dogs who have medical conditions that we cannot fix. We can give them lots of love and comfort and dignity as they finish out their time with us. We are currently providing a beautiful Labrador named Buddy with hospice care; he’s very loved in a foster home and receiving medication and special food to keep him feeling his best. We are seeking sponsors for Buddy’s prescription food, as we hope to be able to need it for months to come! This is a wonderful way to help us help our seniors.

And, of course, we continue to provide care for the many senior dogs that arrive as strays. We try to get our seniors into foster homes, where they are more comfortable. That’s the case with Amigo, who has been waiting for over 100 days to find a home! He’s a staff and volunteer favorite, and awesome just pours out of him like rays of sunshine! He’s perfect with other dogs and cats, and housebroken. He’s an outdoor enthusiast – loving trees and water and leaves and sunshine and dirt. If you need a devoted companion in your life, he’s the perfect AMIGO for you.

We also are caring for Jack, another favorite of staff and volunteers, who hasn’t found a forever or a foster home yet. Jack is a boxer/bulldog mix who is 8 years old and just about as lovely as they come.  He’s very well-trained, housebroken, neutered and just waiting to offer you his big paw as a sign of goodwill. He loves when volunteers snuggle in his kennel with him. He’s been a bit stiff, living in a kennel during the winter, but fortunately our Grey Muzzle Organization grant has allowed us to keep him comfortable with medication. Jack is a big boy; the only thing bigger than his paws are his heart. Jack would love to find a warm home to curl up in sooner rather than later. Come visit him at the shelter.

For more information about adoptable Senior Society dogs, sponsorship opportunities, fostering or hospice opportunities, or to seek help with a senior dog, please contact me at Rescuepartners@cumberlandcountyspca.org.

Source: Special help available for senior dogs, owners

Bittersweet victory for SPCA’s Dog of the Year

For the past nine years, the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has held a Dog of the Year competition, and it has been one of the most successful fundraisers in the history of our organization. The contest is run with 12 of our adoptees vying to raise the most money to support the animals we are currently caring for in the shelter. It’s a wonderful way for the adopters of these beloved pets to show off their candidates while helping to ensure the future of homeless pets.This year’s format was a bit different in that the dogs in the contest all belonged to our staff and board members. Whether in the hallways of the shelter or out in the cyber world, it made for some rough and tumble competition! When it was all said and done, the winner of the competition was none other than Rosco, a classy and dignified Schnauzer belonging to the president of our board of directors

Rosco originally came to us as a stray from Carneys Point back in April 2011. A middle-age adult at that time, he was purebred, perfectly groomed, perfectly behaved, housebroken and mannerly. None of us could ever understand why no one ever came to look for this perfect little guy. Even after 30 years in this industry, I am amazed at the animals that are never reclaimed by their original owners. We receive a very large percentage of stray pets that have obviously been well cared for, trained and loved, yet no one comes looking. Well, apparently it was meant to be because that person’s loss was his new mom’s gain; a more perfect match was never made.

Rosemary and Rosco became constant companions. He was stubborn, independent and had a mind of his own; yet, he was well-behaved, loving and always up for a new adventure. He loved car rides and, when it was time to buy a new vehicle, the back seat had to have just the right set-up for Rosco to ride comfortably and it had to afford him a great view. He loved long walks, going to the dog park, and sniffing every blade of grass and every tree trunk he came across. Being so well-traveled, he also became widely known and loved by many. It was a successful adoption in every way, shape and form.They were the perfect team to enter the Dog of the Year competition and they blew everyone out of the water, raising over $6,000. Sadly, though, in a heartbreaking turn of events, Rosco became ill during the summer and in spite of receiving the very best veterinary care, they were not able determine the source of his problem and he did not survive. It is a horrible thing to lose your four-legged soulmate. It is especially hard when they go before their time.A new study published Friday found dog owners generally had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death, compared to those who didn’t own a dog. Video provided by Newsy NewslookHis victory as Dog of the Year is bittersweet, but it is gratifying to know that he was loved and celebrated. For everyone involved in the contest, it was a very emotional end to wonderful year of competition and camaraderie.

Overall, the 2017 contest raised $18,000; the fight was so fierce that the third-, fourth- and fifth-place winners were with $16 of each other. We’re very proud of our two-legged competitors; they are comprised of a highly dedicated group of people who truly go the extra mile for the shelter.

The funds raised this year bring the total of the DOY contest over the years to more than $150,000. Imagine all the animals that have been saved by those efforts. Thanks to all of you who helped support the candidates with your donations – we appreciate your kindness.

Source: Bittersweet victory for SPCA’s Dog of the Year

SPCA’s new programs are for the dogs

We have more exciting announcements from the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This past weekend, we featured the grand opening of the Kitten Nursery. If you didn’t get a chance to stop in, the nursery will remain set up throughout kitten season, so please stop in anytime! We also are continuing our Kitten Shower for donations and featuring our promotion in which if you adopt one cat or kitten you can adopt a second for free.This week’s exciting updates are for the dogs – literally. We have introduced two new exciting programs for our volunteers to share with our adoptable dogs: sleepovers and outings! The goal is to let our adoptable dogs shine in a new light. We know that what you see is not necessarily what you get when it comes to viewing dogs at the shelter. Adopters are making their initial (and most important) impressions of the dogs when they walk through the kennels and see them inside their cages. This is when the dogs are typically the most excited; and while jumping and barking are normal kennel-related behaviors, adopters often may think that the dog is out of control. Their excitement only escalates when they are picked to be taken out, and it can be hard for them to be on their best behavior for that extremely important first meeting with their potential family.

Taking the dogs out of the shelter environment is a great way to show them off and to decrease their stress. Outings are short-term trips in which a volunteer picks up a dog and takes him or her out for any amount of time. This may be a quick trip to the drive-thru on their lunch break, a walk through the park or a long ride in the car. We hope that community members will see the dogs out and about think of them as more than shelter dogs – they will see them as potential exercise partners, companions and family members. They will see their potential and hopefully be eager to take them home. Volunteers will act as adoption facilitators while they are out; anyone interested will be able to speak to the volunteer to learn more about the dog’s personality and the next step they would need to take to adopt. So if you see someone with an SPCA T-shirt or a dog with an “Adopt Me” vest, please don’t hesitate to say hello.

We’re also hoping to improve the dog’s quality of life by encouraging our volunteers to take them home for sleepovers. We all recognize the value of vacation, even a short one, and especially when times are tough. Sleepovers are a vacation for our dogs, a break from everything that creates stress in a shelter situation. They are a chance to receive some extra love and attention in a home environment, and also an opportunity for us to get a better feel for who these dogs really are. We’re looking forward to sharing some more valuable information and fun photos about the dogs based on what our volunteers learn from them at sleepovers. Right now, you must be trained volunteer in order to take a dog for an outing or a sleepover. We encourage anyone who is interested in joining these exciting new programs to join our volunteer program. In addition to outings and sleepovers, our volunteers help by walking dogs and cuddling cats at the shelter, helping at special events and providing valuable help with jobs around the shelter.

And we have more opportunities to come. You can contact Volunteers@cumberlandcountyspca.org for volunteers 18 years of age or older and Jrvolunteers@cumberlandcountyspca.org for volunteers age 8 to 17. The more volunteers we have, the more we can accomplish! The animals need our help, and we’re excited to offer these new and fun opportunities. And whenever you are out and about in the community, consider keeping some yummy dog treats in your pocket – you never know who may come barking at your door!

Source: SPCA’s new programs are for the dogs

A salute to the SPCA’s foster moms

I hope you had a happy Mother’s Day! The stores were a flurry with families buying cards, flowers, treats – whatever it takes to let Mom know how appreciated she is. I would also like to recognize the many mothers of pets. While they are often overlooked, their love for their pets is a thing to be celebrated. There is a particular type of “pet mom” who deserves recognition, and it is the “foster mom.” The foster mom takes in the neediest of pets – the sick, the broken, the young, the elderly. Typically, she will nurse them to health, love them, teach them, and then let them go to bring joy to another family. Sometimes, when healing is just not possible, she will love them until they pass from this world to the next. Foster moms are responsible for saving hundreds and hundreds of lives in our community alone. 

This poem so accurately describes what goes into foster, so in honor of all foster moms, here it is… 

There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love,
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug. 

I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold,
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend,
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.

And just when I thought you'd done all you do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.
First you said, "Sweetheart, you're ready to go,
I've done all I can, and you've learned all I know." 

Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss,
Along came a new family, they even have kids!
They took me to their home, forever to stay,
At first I thought you sent me away. 

Then that second lesson became perfectly clear,
No matter how far, you will always be near.
And so, Foster Mom, you know I've moved on,
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn. 

But I'll never forget what I learned that first day,
You never really give your fosters away.
You gave me these thoughts to remember you by,
We may never meet again, and now I know why.
You'll remember I lived with you for a time,
I may not be yours, but you'll always be mine.

— Author Unknown 

To the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Foster Moms – thank you.  Thank you for all that you do to save our animals. 

Source: A salute to the SPCA’s foster moms

Dog lovers fill South Jersey park

Several hundred people came out Sunday, April 30, 2017, to Parvin State Park for the CCSPCA’s annual fundraiser. (Photo: Staff photo/Daniel J. Kov)

PITTSGROVE – Dogs and their owners mixed beautifully Sunday afternoon at the Cumberland County SPCA’s annual Step For A Pet fundraiser.Now in its 23rd year, the yearly event at Parvin State Park drew hundreds of local animal lovers with the lure of pet-friendly attractions, food for all creatures and live entertainment.“It’s great; it brings a lot of awareness,” Fairton resident Darlene Morris said. “Everyone here is a dog lover, so they share that love.” Morris attended the event with her friend Dawn Stauffer, who brought along two of her seven dogs, Rumor and Gypsy — both white boxers.

A fellow volunteer at the SPCA and a local dog groomer, Stauffer was glad to see the community come out and show its support.“They’re a great bunch of people; they save a lot of lives,” the Shiloh resident said.

Several hundred people came out Sunday, April 30, 2017, to Parvin State Park for the CCSPCA’s annual fundraiser. (Photo: Staff photo/Daniel J. Kov)

No dogs were discriminated against, with Chihuahuas mixing with Labradors and dachshunds alike.Many of the dogs who attended the walkathon were themselves adopted from the CCSPCA.

“My heart gets overjoyed and touched to see so many people together with their animals,” said Arlene Baruffi, who was the MC of the event.Adoption is the main goal of the animal shelter, which takes in animals and turns them into pets ready for a home.“A lot of the dogs come in in bad shape,” Baruffi said, noting the SPCA takes in about 5,000 animals a year.The bulk of the proceeds collected will go towards covering the healthcare costs of the shelter’s animals, Baruffi said.“We want to make sure they are adoptable for homes — that’s our purpose,” she said.

Also featured at the event was the beloved ‘Dog of the Year’ contest, which features dogs competing for votes and donations.The pooch with the most is crowned ‘Dog of the Year’ in the fall.Baruffi said the competition has brought in more than $130,000 over the eight years it has been established.

For Pierre Langlois, of Millville, the day was a blessing to see such happy, slobbering faces.“All dogs need a place to stay,” Langlois said. “It’s good to get people out and get these dogs adopted.”

Daniel J. Kov; (856) 563-5262; dkov@gannettnj.com

Source: Dog lovers fill South Jersey park

SPCA needs your help to keep kittens alive

Their mom was killed by a dog.Mom was hit by a car.Their mom is not taking care of them.We found these kittens with no mother.Bottle babies are orphaned kittens who arrive at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter without a mother to nurture or feed them.  When the worst happens and they lose their mother, it’s up to Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter staff, volunteers, and fosters to intervene in order to save their lives.We are desperately seeking foster families to bottle-feed our most vulnerable infant kittens this year. Right now, we don’t have enough help to save all the kittens we anticipate arriving.Kittens are born quite helpless and depend on their mothers to survive. Until they are about 4 to 5 weeks old, they have no teeth and are unable to eat food and regulate their body temperature. They are also unable to go to the bathroom on their own – another important job for mom.
It is most ideal that mother stays with the kittens for at approximately 6 to 8 weeks. If you find infant kittens, do not move them! Clean kittens that are sleeping soundly are likely not abandoned. Mom can leave her nest for up to several hours to find food. As long as the kittens are safe and warm, their best chance for survival is with their mother (as is true for ALL wildlife). If you are unable to observe, try scattering some flour around the nest, then check for mom’s paw prints in a few hours.If kittens truly have been abandoned or their mother was killed, then intervention becomes imperative.  If you don’t plan on bottle-feeding yourself, get them to the shelter as quickly as possible. Once kittens arrive at the shelter, the clock starts ticking. We have to find a foster or a rescue for them before we close; the kittens cannot be left alone overnight, as they would starve.
Your family can help SPCA with kitten onslaught. Bottle-feeding kittens is a beautiful experience. The opportunity to see a little life blossom from a totally helpless infant into a growing kitten with its own personality is like no other. When kittens are 1 to 2 weeks old, they require around-the-clock bottle feeding every two to three hours. They also need to be stimulated to go to the bathroom (sounds pretty awful, but it’s really not a big deal).
At this point, your major responsibility is keeping them warm and fed. A simple carrier with blankets and a safe heat pad will suffice for their living environment. As they grow older, they are able to eat more and require less frequent feedings. You will see their eyes open and they will begin to change. They will want to begin exploring their environment a bit more and will need some more room to move around. By 3 to 4 weeks, the kittens, while still reliant on formula, will be ready to start attempting to eat mush (canned kitten food mixed with kitten formula). They will begin to be ready to use a litterbox as well. While messy, this is also a joyful time as this is when they begin their first attempts at playing.By 5 weeks, they will be eating mostly on their own, and be fully able to amuse you with their adorable antics and playful nature. The most important part of your job now is to socialize the kittens – this is the fun part! This is lots of play and snuggles, teaching kittens that humans are fun and safe.By 8 weeks old, they are ready to be adopted!We most desperately are in need of foster families to bottle-feed. It’s hard to find people whose schedule allow them to bottle feed every few hours. But without families to help them, our tiniest kittens are at serious risk. While it can be intimidating to have such a little life in your hands, especially since they are so vulnerable, the feeling of giving them a chance to live and often having the opportunity to watch them grow is rewarding beyond words. Our staff offers lots of education and around-the-clock support.If you are willing to give bottle-feeding a try, please contact our foster coordinator at Fosters@cumberlandcountyspca.org. We also need supplies for these youngest kittens: kitten milk replacer formula (never feed regular milk!), snuggle-safe heat pads, canned pate kitten food, and A/D prescription canned food. We already have had the first litters of bottle-babies arriving at the shelter in need of help.Shelter needsThe South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter in Vineland seeks donations of puppy chow, cat chow (no dyes, please), large dog bones, large Nylabones and Kongs, catnip, dryer sheets, lint rollers, isopropyl alcohol, white copy paper and colored dry erase markers.

Source: SPCA needs your help to keep kittens alive