South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter’s TNVR Team (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release) has kicked into high gear. The team is spaying and neutering and assisting caregivers regularly and altering anywhere from 5 to 12 cats per week.
As summertime approaches, we are encountering kittens at almost every property we are trapping at. This is not unexpected, after all that’s the inevitable result of having intact cats. However, it is a complicating factor, one that we are learning to navigate through experience and training. We always keep our goal in mind, the team’s core purpose is to assist with spaying and neutering as many community cats as possible in our community.
It’s tempting to scoop up every adorable kitten we find and take them to the shelter; but that isn’t the goal of the program and in doing that, we would have already overwhelmed the shelter’s capacity for care. In many situations, especially when the kittens are safe, relatively healthy, and/or not socialized, we will support the caregiver by committing to having the kittens spayed and neutered when they are of age so we can make this litter the last litter.
However, nothing is black and white and there’s a lot we have to take into consideration when deciding how to proceed with kittens. We recognize that in some situations, the sheer volume of cats is already pushing the limits of manageability. These properties often have multiple litters of kittens due to the high numbers and we will do our best to find placement for kittens simply to reduce the number of felines on the property in order to better manage the health and care of all felines.
In other situations that require intervention, kittens may require medical care that the caregiver cannot provide, or the property is extremely unsafe for little ones.
Often caregivers are not comfortable with the thought of kittens staying outside, so we do have other options available for them.
Caregivers may also be given the option to place the kittens on their own, with SJRAS providing support in the form of spay/neuter appointment assistance in order to ensure that kittens are altered before being placed.
It isn’t easy to make these decisions; after all, our background is in animal sheltering and our first instinct is to shelter. Especially when we are out in the field.
We must put all our efforts into TNR, because preventing births is the only way to reduce the number of kittens. By prioritizing the adult cats (typically the kittens receive more sympathy and attention), we are ensuring a better future for all of them.
Because if we get to a point where there are more fosters and more shelter cages available than kittens, then we can just scoop them up and bring them in, as everyone wants us to do.
Fosters needed: The kittens are arriving at the shelter! Foster homes are needed to help with kittens of all colors and ages. If you are interested in fostering, visit https://southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org/forms/foster-questionnaire.
Shelter needs: Dry cat food and dry kitten food without dyes, puppy food, catnip, hot dogs, easy cheese, sardines, tuna packets, and gift cards to hardware, pet and grocery stores.