New York (CBSNewYork) Kitten season has arrived. That’s the warmer time of year when more cats are having litters, resulting in animals shelters across the country being flooded with influx of homeless litters. Add to the problem the fact that a cat can go into heat at just five months, and that means that kittens are having kittens.
At Animal Care Centers of New York City, Executive Director Risa Weinstock told 1010 WINS, the intake number at the city shelters between April and September is typically 5,000. “If you think about it”, says Weinstock, “that’s enough kittens to fill every seat in Radio City Music Hall.”
It’s part of the more than 30,000 animals taken in by ACC, which is New York’s only open admissions shelter, contracted by the city with three full service shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island and two intake centers in Queens and the Bronx.
Watch the full interview with Risa Weinstock and learn how you can help out in the latest edition of All For Animals with 1010 WINS Anchor Susan Richard:
The challenge, says Weinstock, is to move these animals out of the shelters as quickly as possible, as space becomes an issue very quickly during kitten season. To that end, Weinstock says that in addition to direct adoptions, ACC relies heavily on two major initatives: their foster program and the New Hope Program.
Foster volunteers take kittens out of the shelter into their own home for as little as a few days to as long as a few months, depending on the age, weight, and medical/behavioral needs of the animal. Weinstock says the goal is provide care and nurturing in a home environment, so that when the kittens are ready for a forever home they either return to the shelter to be placed up for adoption or are showcased at mobile adoption events that are regularly scheduled around the five boroughs. “But we don’t just hand out kittens randomly”, Weinstock notes. ACC has been holding “kitten showers”, an orientation at which potential fosters are given instructions on kitten care as well as a foster kit filled with supplies.
A major resource ACC is heavily invested in, Weinstock told 1010 WINS, is the New Hope Program. That’s where rescue groups from The Mayor’s Alliance For New York City’s Animals pull the at risk cats and kittens from the ACC shelters. She says part of the challenge is that many unweaned kittens are brought in with no nursing mother, and ACC does not have the facility to bottle feed newborns every two hours. In 2014, the ASPCA, a primary New Hope partner, created a special kitten nursery designed specifically to meet that need. According to their website, in the first year they rescued nearly 300 kittens. In 2015, the number rose to nearly 1,500.
If you can’t foster or adopt, Weinstocks says monetary or supply donations are always welcome.
For ACC’s kitten registry of needed supplies, click HERE.
To make a financial donation, click HERE.
To find out more about adopting, click HERE.
To find out more about fostering, click HERE.
To find out more about volunteering, click HERE.
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