KITTEN SEASON IS HERE!
You have probably heard this 100 times by now. But for those of you who don’t know what kitten season is or what it means for rescues, allow me to explain.
As soon as springtime hits, queens begin to go into heat and toms begin roaming to find queens to mate with. Their bodies know when the safest time is to have a litter (when the weather is warmer) so all at once, every stray un-desexed female cat becomes pregnant and prepares to have a litter.
This is an incredibly stressful time for rescues, as we need the resources, the time, the finances and the manpower in order to secure safety for as many pregnant cats, new born kittens and mumma’s, AND orphaned kittens as humanly possible. This means having weeks where the rescue volunteers have to be on call 24/7 to go out and rescue kittens born in incredibly unsafe environments such abandoned properties, rubbish piles, cardboard boxes in people’s backyards, kitchen floors, in bushes… you name it, we are out there in a flash to do our absolute best to bring these babies and their scared, exhausted mamas into care.
The many hours spent dedicated to travelling all over Melbourne, setting traps, waiting (and waiting… and WAITING), finally safely containing the kitties with humane traps and bringing them home, is only the very beginning of the long and dedicated process of kitten season fostering.
We need to ensure our carers are appropriately prepared to provide the best possible care for their new foster babies. This includes crates/play pens (to keep them safely quarantined from other pets in the household while their health and socialisation is assessed), scales, lots of bedding, the highest quality food, litter and litter boxes, flea and worm treatment, supportive supplements and supplies to keep everyone happy and healthy. As you can imagine, this is incredibly costly – our neonatal kits that we provide to foster carers cost the rescue over $300 – with ongoing food, care and veterinary costs on top of these extra expenses.
Orphaned neonates require feeding every 2-3 hours, including overnight. Carers of these babies are constantly working to keep their kittens healthy and happy, weighing them daily (or twice daily) to ensure they are gaining the appropriate amount of weight. Carers of newborns with mama cats also weigh their bub’s every day to ensure that each of the kittens are receiving equal access to milk, and at times will be required to supplement feed the kittens with a milk replacement formula.
Once mum and bub’s are old enough and have spent many weeks being utterly pampered by our incredible foster carer team, they will receive their vaccinations ($35 each), microchips ($45 each) and desexing which all together costs over $300 per kitten, on top of the hundreds of dollars of expenses to keep them happy and healthy. The rescue asks for a $295 adoption fee, which, as you can probably tell, only covers a very small portion of the costs involved in raising happy, healthy kittens.
We do this because we LOVE it. We have unlimited love in our hearts for all of the little innocent lives we meet, and we will continue to give as much time and resources as we can to make sure we can save as many lives as humanly possible. This includes taking all the time necessary too slowly and safely socialise the most timid mama cats – cats that have been let down by many people, abandoned, neglected, forgotten. There are sadly few rescues that invest the time and care into fully rehabilitating cats like these. BFFR are passionate about ensuring that each and every cat that comes into our care is given the chance to learn to accept love from a human, and to give it in return. This means many extra dedicated hours of intensive behavioural training techniques dedicated to these cats, hours that our incredible carers happily volunteer.
In order to be resourced appropriately to do this, we need your help. Anything you are able to donate goes an incredibly long way. Your $20 means we can buy that extra bag of cat litter, your $10 means we can pay for the petrol to drive out to the other side of Melbourne to save a little family in danger, your $30 provides flea and worm treatment. Every dollar counts to helping us improve the quality of lives.
Link to donate is…