Saving the Kittens

April 11, 2011

Walnut Creek Patch, Martha Ross

It’s sad but true. Every spring, thousands of kittens are born in the Bay Area, to feral or neighborhood female cats that have not been spayed. These kittens have a slim chance of survival, especially if they are separated from their mothers before they have been weaned.

If they are picked up by animal control and taken to an animal shelter, they face the likelihood of being put to sleep if no one will adopt them. 

Pet Food Express's Save the Kitten Campaign, taking place throughout May, aims to rescue those kittens, with the goal of getting them into loving homes. 

The Walnut Creek pet store at 1388 South California Blvd. is collecting donations and supplies to distribute to Contra Costa County Animal Services and the Hayflakes Sanctuary. 

Save A Kitten also presents an opportunity to talk about fostering, said Corey Stulce, project manager, marketing and community outreach for Pet Food Express. Many of these pre-weaned kittens are discovered by animal control or citizens who may bring them to shelters—or drop them off at Pet Food Express, Stulce said. 

Mike Murray, Pet Food Express' director of community outreach, said, "The result's the same: Many more kittens are born than local shelters can handle, and thousands of cute, cuddly and perfectly healthy kittens are put to sleep."

The Save the Kitten Campaign needs individuals or families to closely monitor and care for these pre-weaned kittens. Some need bottle feeding, but not all. So you don't have to be willing to bottle feed to be a foster family, a position of nurturing and caring that can be very rewarding. 

“The shelters and cat rescue groups are doing all they can, but they need our help," Murray said. "The Save A Kitten program was developed to provide that help. Taking kittens into your home to foster for a short period of time or donating products or money to those that are taking care of these helpless kittens will make a tremendous difference and will save lives.”

Local shelters supply medical care for fostered kittens, and once the kittens are eight weeks old, they can return to the shelter to be spayed or neutered and adopted.

Items that Pet Food Express customers purchase to donate to kittens and cats will be discounted 20 percent. 

Last year, Pet Food Express raised $21,000 for Bay Area cat rescue through Save A Kitten—and hopes to more than double that amount this year. In the first week of the campaign, more than $8,000 was raised for kitten and cat rescues and shelters.

If you're interested in being a foster parent to a kitten, contact Cindy Smith, volunteer program manager at Contra Costa County Animal Services: 925-335-8335 or asdweb@asd.cccounty.us.

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