Unweaned newborn kittens need care
Question: Why can't unweaned newborn kittens be eligible for the Hawaiian Humane Society's foster care program?
Answer: Kittens under the age of 4 weeks are usually unweaned. This means they need the specialized care that mother cats best provide.
Unweaned newborns are only eligible for the Humane Society's foster care program if volunteers are available and willing to provide the intensive nursing that is required. This includes bottle-feeding every couple of hours, managing body temperature and a willingness to accept the unfortunately high mortality rate that comes with vulnerable animals that are without their mother's care.
Very young felines are fragile and might not survive without a mother no matter how good the care. For this reason, most newborns under 4 weeks old are euthanized at the Society so they will not suffer, unless a nursing cat (also known as a "queen") is available.
Those who bring in newborns to the Society are given the option to care for them until they reach adoption age, which is about 8 weeks or 2 pounds. Information on how to care for the animals' special needs and a starter kit with formula is provided.
Q: How can I join the foster care program, and what is involved?
A: Those interested in volunteering can call 356-2216 and will need to attend a short but comprehensive foster care training. With kitten season fast approaching in summer, there is a tremendous need for volunteers. While providers can specify their restrictions -- kittens only, emergency pet foster care for people in crises, or animals with special needs -- there is always a demand for volunteers willing to care for animals in a variety of situations.
Last year, more than 700 puppies and kittens benefited from the Hawaiian Humane Society's foster care program. Supported by about 100 volunteers, the program enables the Society to save more lives.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, HI 96826.