Autumn has arrived, but the kittens keep pouring in at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter. Not a day goes by that we do not receive a call for help with kittens. Some of these kittens are found at our TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release) properties. Some are accidental litters born to pets. Some are strays found outside. Some are abandoned. They come with and without mothers, healthy and sick, all shapes and sizes.
The shelter is responsible for caring for every stray kitten brought to us. When our stray kittens fill our cages, which is more common than not during kitten season, we enlist the help of our community to continue to save lives. We have a great network of skilled and dedicated foster families, who care for kittens that are too young to be adopted. Fosters are also needed for injured or ill kittens, as well as those who just need some extra TLC. We are always in need of new foster families, please consider joining our team.
When the shelter is full, and our fosters are full, we must limit our intake of animals that are not strays (releases or surrenders). New Jersey law states that any animal who has been fed for seven or more days becomes property of the person who is feeding and therefore cannot enter the shetler as a stray. In these situations, we need the help of the caregivers in order to give the kittens the best chance.
We are maintaining a waiting list for kittens that need help finding placement. In order to get kittens you may be caring for on the waiting list, you will need to contact the shelter to ask for help. Please know that in order for us to intake kittens, there are requirements so we can do so safely. First of all, you must be familiar with the kittens and able to care for them while you await placement. We will need a name and physical description of each kitten, as well as their age. That information helps us keep track of each group.
We also will ask you to make sure that the kitten’s vaccines are up to date. Vaccines may be obtained at a vet’s office, a community vaccine event, or through the shelter’s vaccine scheduling link that can be emailed to you. Kittens receive three sets of vaccines, two weeks apart. It’s ideal that kittens arrive at the shelter fully vaccinated, or with at least two sets of vaccine complete as this protects them from becoming sick with any contagious illnesses stray kittens may be harboring. Our goal is to find kittens home as quickly as possible once they arrive, and we can’t do that if they are sick.
We encourage families to work to place kittens on their own; we know that your connections with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers may be the most successful. We do encourage not only the caregivers of kittens on the waiting list, but all caregivers who are placing kittens into homes to ensure that they are spayed or neutered. We recommend this be done before they are placed, you can collect an adoption donation to be used to cover the surgery.
However, if it’s not possible to have surgery completed before placement, you should have firm arrangements made for the pending surgery as soon as possible. There are several low-cost clinics that are local, including People for Animals in Millville, Gypsy Rose in Clayton, Homeward Bound Animal Center in Blackwood, Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, and the Atlantic County SPCA.
We of course encourage any families interested in adding a kitten or two (it’s always great to adopt two kittens instead of one!) to stop in at the shelter anytime during business hours to meet our many, many kittens looking for a great home!