Local animal shelters discuss what to do with stray kitten litters

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SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Spring is one of the most stressful times for shelters, and May is the start of kitten season, the prime time when kittens are born.

But with kennels already filling up during the pandemic, rescue staff are even more overwhelmed. When Griffin Pond Animal Shelter staff came into work on Saturday, they found three kittens left on their doorstep in cardboard boxes. Their parents had also been left in boxes, but escaped.

“The kittens’ temperatures were very low, their eyes were sealed shut with infection, they’re doing a little bit better now, potential pneumonia with them so they’re being treated for that,” Griffin Pond Animal Shelter kennel manager Nancy Reese said.

Those kittens joined the many other litters in the shelter already hoping to find new homes. Reese says kitten season is hectic, especially this year after veterinarians had to close due to the pandemic, canceling spay and neuter appointments to control the local cat population.

Shelter staff tell Eyewitness News the shelter is already pretty filled up with cats that have been surrendered. Now kitten season doesn’t help things. It’s a similar story at the Rescue Warriors Cat Rescue.

“It gets to the point that you definitely have to say no until your numbers go down. We took 19 kittens in three days,” Rescue Warriors director Michelle Demich said.

Demich is asking people to help them and other overwhelmed rescues and shelters.

“They should step up and take some responsibility. It’s not so hard to keep kittens in the bathroom or a corner in the house until a rescue has an availability to take them,” Demich said.

Demich says if you find a litter, just keep an eye on it to see if their mother comes back.

“People will take them thinking they’re doing something good but what they’re really doing is giving them a much harder chance of survival,” Demich said.

If their mother does not come back there are still other options.

“We tell them to go get some KMR , we tell them how to feed them, keep them warm because baby kittens can’t regulate their body temperature so it’s very important to them warm until a rescue can be found,” Rescue Warriors vice president Mary Jo Engleman said.

A reminder: dumping or abandoning an animal is illegal. If you have any information on the kittens dumped on Saturday, please contact Griffin Pond Animal Shelter.

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