Like so many kittens, Buddy found himself at Operation Kindness at only five weeks old and in need of a safe haven. Transferred to the leading lifesaving shelter in Texas from one of 71 rescue partners, Buddy quickly found a foster family to care for him. Eventually growing into a friendly, adorable kitten, he was adopted into a loving family. Operation Kindness made this happen through community generosity and its foster program that saves the lives of hundreds of pets yearly. This lifesaving care is even more imperative as spring approaches and brings an abundance of newborn kittens.
While a familiar term in the animal welfare community, many individuals may not know that kitten season refers to the increase of kittens being born from March through October. Female cats are more likely to become pregnant with an average litter size of three-to-five kittens. The best way to help most kittens is to leave them with their mother and taking them to a shelter should be a last resort. However, orphans rarely have any other options, leaving them completely vulnerable and nowhere to go.
As neonatal kittens enter a shelter environment, they are at an increased risk of being euthanized due to weakened immune systems and the inability to eat on their own until they’re about four weeks old. Kittens cannot be adopted until they're at least two months old and weigh two pounds to ensure they're healthy. Unfortunately, many shelters do not have the resources to accommodate this need—but that is about to change at Operation Kindness.
Working diligently to help more newborn and orphaned kittens, and in addition to its current efforts to save the lives of homeless animals, Operation Kindness is expanding its resources with a new nursery to help care for neonatal kittens that are only a few weeks old and in need of round-the-clock care. The 24-hour nursery will provide feedings every two-to-three hours to regulate the kittens’ body temperature and provide a warm, safe environment they can thrive in. The nursery will be a valuable resource to Operation Kindness’ rescue partners and open during the spring in the Charles Jones & Madelaine Pfau Cat Wing at the shelter.
“At Operation Kindness, we are always looking for opportunities where we can be of service to the animals that need us and the community. Realizing there is a large gap in care for neonatal kittens, we are excited to create this special kitten nursery as a resource for our rescue partners. The expansion of our organization’s resources will allow more lives to be saved, and we are grateful for the support that has allowed us to make this happen,” said Ed Jamison, CEO of Operation Kindness.
With the mission to save more lives, Operation Kindness' efforts to create the nursery bridges the gap for this vulnerable population of cats by providing a second chance at a great quality of life. Kittens will take refuge at the nursery until they can be paired with a foster family—a program that will continue to play a vital role in the health and wellness of homeless kittens. Once healthy and old enough, kittens will be available for adoption. Operation Kindness includes spay/neuter services and covers costs for specific treatments, such as heartworm care, wellness exams, and vet services for up to two weeks post-adoption.
With the new kitten nursery on the way, Operation Kindness is also looking for additional support from the community. The organization is raising $30,000 to ensure the new program makes a significant impact on orphaned kittens, providing necessities until the kittens are placed into a foster family. The nursery will include warmers, incubators, blankets, bottles, formula and 24-hour care, so kittens receive the nutrients they need while staying warm, clean and dry. The community can also donate to Operation Kindness’ Amazon Wish List to support the new nursery.
A significant reason Operation Kindness can expand and provide a wide range of services that support the well-being of homeless animals is through the kindness and consideration of its supporters. With generous donations from the community, help from volunteers, staff and the leadership team, partnerships with animal rescues and businesses, the nonprofit organization can continue its mission to be a staple of kindness, love and compassion. Since 1976, Operation Kindness has impacted the lives of thousands of cats and dogs for the better.
For those who would like to make a gift to help Operation Kindness continue its mission of kindness and care for homeless animals, visit www.operationkindness.org/ways-to-give. Learn more about the kitten nursery at www.operationkindness.org/a-new-kitten-nursery. More info about Operation Kindness is available at www.operationkindness.org/about.