Pinellas County Animal Services News
It has begun! It’s that dreaded time of year at the shelter where the arrival of pregnant cats is increasing and the all too familiar squeaky baby–sized meows can be heard as you walk the building. Yes, kitten season is beginning. And soon, our cages will be full of moms and babies and once again we will be scrambling to get these little jewels out of our scary shelter and into loving foster homes. It will be a race against time. Will we have enough space? Will we find fosters before illness threatens? It is a daunting task for staff and sometimes end results can leave lasting scars.
We as a community of professionals can help. We can continue to remind people of the importance of spaying and neutering their pets first and foremost. Many people are looking for ways to help and fostering or volunteering either at our shelter or one of our neighboring shelters cannot only be beneficial to them but lifesaving to an animal. The conversation starts with us.
This is a great time of year to not only encourage spaying and neutering, but to also give good advice if a person is faced with a found underaged kitten or a litter of their own. If someone finds a kitten under 2 lbs., recommend they leave the kitten as long as it is in a safe location for 2-4 hours to see if the mom returns. Kittens will do best when left with their mother. If the mom does not return, recommend that they or a friend foster the kitten until it is at least 2 lbs. or 8 weeks. A shelter is not a good place for underaged kittens EVER. The same advice goes for moms with litters of kittens less than 8 weeks.
If you don’t already know, Pinellas County Animal Services has a wonderful program called Step Up For Kittens. It provides a much healthier path to adoption. By waiting until kittens are of adoptable age and weight (2 lbs. or 2 months) to leave them at the shelter, people can help ensure a quicker and healthier adoption for them. Medically, PCAS is here to support them too. Kittens will receive health and behavior check-ups, vaccinations, parasite control, spay/neuter, and microchips free of charge. We will also provide medical treatment within our capabilities for the kittens free of charge while in foster care. If you know anyone needing assistance, please have then contact our shelter at 727-582-2600. Someone will be glad to speak with them and share more information about this program.
Robbie Asher, DVM, HABc
Pinellas County Animal Services
12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774