Most days it feels like spring is upon us- there's more daylight, birds are starting to migrate north, it's a bit warmer, and we haven't seen any of that white fluffy stuff in a few weeks. But spring brings challenges too- sixty-degree temperature swings in less than 24 hours, pollen, and babies. Yup, you heard right- babies and lots of them!
Spring is baby season for most species. Female hormones respond to the lengthening of the days and before you know it, they're pregnant and having babies. Humans have one of the longest pregnancies at 266 days, but squirrels (40 days), rabbits (30 days) and cats (60 days) have some of the shortest pregnancies making them very efficient reproducers, especially with their higher number of babies per pregnancy. It means we get to see lots of babies in the spring, but as the only open admission animal shelter in Gage County, sometimes that is more of a curse than a blessing.
Once it starts warming up, we see a large and rapid increase in our cat and more specifically kitten intakes at the shelter. Starting in March and increasing to the peak in mid-summer to late summer, we take in over 250 stray cats and kittens annually, with most coming in between April and October. We operate with a no-kill mentality, no matter the species, and we feel strongly that that no animal should be euthanized because of a treatable condition. This means that we provide around the clock care for day old kittens, months of medication and isolation for cats with ringworm, surgeries and medications for cats arriving with broken legs or other injuries, corrective surgery for cats born with congenital defects and most importantly whatever time they need to overcome whatever challenges landed them in our care in the first place.
In our commitment to help cats and kittens through their journey to adoption, we have developed one of the biggest and strongest foster care programs for kittens in Nebraska. Throughout the summer months, we will have anywhere from fifty to one hundred kittens in nearly fifty foster homes in Beatrice and beyond, from Kansas to Fairbury and all the way to Omaha. Fostered kittens get love and care from their foster parents and the medical treatments and supplies from our shelter, but most importantly they get the opportunity to live and grow and get adopted.
Did you know there are still much larger and better funded shelters in Nebraska euthanizing any kitten arriving under 4 weeks of age, any orphaned kittens without a mom, and any kittens diagnosed with treatable conditions such as ringworm or diarrhea? Whenever we have space and resources to do so, we take those kittens in at our shelter too. Yes, you heard that right, the little shelter in Beatrice Nebraska helps save lives from the biggest shelters in the state. In 2021 that amounted to 132 cats and kittens we were able to save from shelters without our lifesaving ringworm and kitten programs. Our motto is helping whoever we can, however we can and whenever we can. For those 132 animals, it was that lifesaving motto that gave them a second chance at life and helped them find their happily ever after.
We are committed to providing the best care for every animal walking or getting carried through the front doors of our shelter, but it is a constant battle to help them overcome these challenges while staying within the resources of a non-profit. We deplete our food, and cleaning resources rapidly and so we are asking you, our community, to help us out this year. Starting Saturday April 16th, we will be hosting our 2nd annual kitten shower on Facebook and Instagram, complete with adorable kitten photos and videos, games and trivia and information you may or may not know about cats. Join us online if you can! If technology isn’t your thing, feel free to purchase a donation from our kitten shower wish list below and drop it by the shelter, gift cards to Walmart, Tractor Supply, Orschelns, and Bomgaars are also very appreciated!
Any Purina, Iams, Science Diet or Royal Canin Kitten food, any size bags
Canned tuna/chicken in water (NOT oil!!!!)
Empty, clean containers for storing kitten food, i.e., gallon sized ice cream buckets with lids, Plastic jars with screw tops, coffee containers etc.
Heating Pads without an auto off function
Cat scratchers and scratching posts
Litter, preferably unscented clumping or non-clumping
Clorox/ disinfecting wipes
Drawstring trash bags
Dawn Dish Soap
We have an amazing community supporting our shelter and we know that we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you Beatrice for helping us continue to be the Best Little Shelter in Nebraska.
First Published with Beatrice Daily Sun: https://beatricedailysun.com/opinion/columnists/humane-society-planning-kitten-shower/article_82fbf00d-91d2-5be5-918b-6cda33d399f1.html