Although you would think kittens stand a very good chance of being adopted, many are euthanized each year because they arrive at shelters too young. In 2011, statistics for Los Angeles showed 7200 neonatal kittens were euthanized. Similar statistics were shown for the San Diego area. In response to these alarming numbers, shelters in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas began a kitten nursery program. Kitten nursery programs are also established in Austin, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida.
Because kittens have special needs and require close monitoring, the medical team at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA make several visits to the nursery daily.
Part of the program at the kitten nursery involves a variety of people giving their patients attention. Since the socialization period for kittens begins at two weeks of age and extends until around seven weeks, it’s important to get the kittens used to being handled. Getting them comfortable with human contact at this age makes them friendlier to humans and easier to get adopted.
The kitten nursery at No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) houses a maximum of 100 kittens at a time, with an average stay of 28 days. Once kittens reach two pounds, they are spayed or neutered and then are ready for adoption. When possible, NKLA places kittens in foster homes to make room for new kittens coming in. Putting kittens in foster homes gets them used to a home environment and lessens exposure to disease.
The NKLA program has a full-time staff and around 200 volunteers that man the kitten nursery and/or provide foster homes. Weekly training sessions are available for volunteers on a variety of subjects such as disease prevention and socialization.
If you’re interested in learning more about the NKLA program, or live in the Los Angeles area and would like to join the program, go to nkla.org.
Do you know of an innovative program that’s helping with pet adoptions? If so, please leave a comment to this post, we’d love to feature them!