Alana here today. I’m a little late with our post today, but we have good reason. You see, last night, I saw online that there was an emergency need for bottle baby fosters. There were thirteen kittens in Chicago that were going to be euthanized that day. And, while we’re still living in a hotel and our house is a mess from repair work, I still couldn’t think of a good enough reason for me not to step up and help.
Would I miss out on sleep? Yes. Would I have to section off a portion of my house/room for them? Yes. Would I have to wash my hands 900 times a day for sanitation reasons? Yes. Were any of those good enough reasons to ignore their need?
I could not justify not doing something, not after just this week I’ve had a plea from Tabby’s Place to advertise their bazillion kittens, a plea from Feral Fixers to help find fosters for babies, and a plea from Tree House to help save bottle feeders that only had a few hours to live.
The thing about kitten season is that it’s not just about the fun and joy of cuddling kittens. It’s about the very real fact that thousands of kittens, many of them only days or weeks old, are being euthanized because there isn’t anywhere to put them. CACC (Chicago Animal Care and Control) in Chicago often euthanizes kittens under six weeks old the same day they arrive because of a lack of resources to care for them.
Kittens that come in without a mother are in real trouble. Either they need a surrogate mom to nurse them, which means someone already has to have a nursing mom somewhere, or they need a human being willing to mix their formula and feed it to them with a bottle every two hours. They need someone that’s willing to help them poop, change their towels, keep them warm, and bathe them.
Nursing bottle baby kittens is a serious job, and not everyone is willing to do it.
Keeping all that in mind, I still decided that we couldn’t leave that on our conscience. We knew they were there, we had the ability to help, and so we did.
As part of the Tree House Kitten On Deck program (a program where at-risk, unweaned kittens who arrive at CACC without their mothers will be transferred by Tree House out of CACC), we went to CACC with the intention of pulling two litters of bottle babies. When we arrived, we found out that eight had already been taken to safety thanks to Tree House, and another kind lady (also through Kitten on Deck) was there waiting to take the two very youngest, who were only a few days old. Sadly, as we walked in, we found out that one of those two had already passed away, and when they went to get the second, he too, had died. Without a mom, they just couldn’t make it.
Since this other lady was about to leave without kittens, I asked her if she’d take one of our litters, and she agreed. She took three tiny bottle babies home, and we took two, slightly older ones. In fact, I feel like we lucked out, because they were older than we expected. Instead of having to get up every two hours to feed them, I was able to feed them every five. I only had to wake up three times during the night instead of five or six, mostly to make sure their heating pad was still on.
And now we have two kittens in our bathtub, completely oblivious to how close they came and how lucky they are. They are two of thousands who just happened to be in the right place and are now fortunate enough to call themselves Tree House cats for life.
If you have a space in your home, even a small one, please consider helping, especially during this season. Contact your local rescue and ask how you can be involved in fostering. They’ll more than likely be very happy to train you and provide you with supplies, and you will be making a big difference to all the tiny ones you save.
Thanks for reading.
Alana (and Crepes, who exists today because of Tree House’s foster program.)
PS. I’m calling them Hash Brown and Tater Tot, or Hash and Tot, for short. That’s subject to change.