Spring means it’s raining kittens and pups

catIt’s spring. So of course, I have tiny kittens to foster — and their moms, too. They are so cute as they wobble around on their baby legs and pretend to be ferocious tigers. It’s fun to watch them discover toys and learn to climb. Who can resist their miniature purr?

It’s raining kittens and puppies at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley. Each week, dozens of pregnant cats, nursing cats, and motherless kittens are turned into the shelter. Sadly, euthanasia rates for cats and kittens is still high — in the breeding season, eight of 10 cats and kittens will be euthanized.

Project Save a Kitten, which became a yearround project last year, aids the placement and rescue of as many kittens and moms as it can. This effort is supported by ACTion Programs for Animals, which takes pregnant moms, moms and kittens, and motherless kittens from the shelter regularly. Big Kitty Fix and Cat’s Meow also support efforts to rescue as many cats and kittens as possible. Local businesses also help with adoptions, such as Better Life Pet Food, Pet’s Barn, Petco and PetSmart.

However, the most challenging impediment to rescuing as many kittens as possible is lack of funding to cover the expense. It costs an average of $300 or more per kitten to rescue it from the ASCMV and prepare it for adoption. Most of this expense is due to medical care. Like human babies, kittens can get very ill very quickly and medical care is costly.

Project Save a Kitten and ACTion Programs for Animals could rescue more kittens if we had additional foster caretakers who could take care of the kitty family until they were of an adoptable age. We need loving people who can take a pregnant mom, mom and kittens, or orphan kittens into their homes for the four to six weeks that it takes for the kittens to mature to an adoptable age. It is challenging to foster a kitty family, but so rewarding as the kittens — and finally the mom — move on to loving homes.

Spaying female cats and all of their kittens is part of the rescue process and a step towards reducing the number of unwanted kittens and cats in our community. However, these medical procedures also contribute to the medical cost of saving kittens. Big Kitty Fix provides some of this service through donations and grants.

If you would like to help prevent the euthanasia of kittens, then contact ACTion Programs for animals to foster or volunteer. Or give a tax deductible donation to support Project Save a Kitten to either ACTion Programs for Animals or Big Kitty Fix. To donate to ACTion Programs for Animals, send your check to P.O. Box 125, Las Cruces, NM 88004. To donate to Big Kitty Fix mail your check to Community Foundation of Southern NM, Attn: Big Kitty Fix, 301 Church St, Suite H, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

It’s time for me to check on my young ones, to be sure there’s plenty of food and water — and, naturally, toys.

Jackye Meinecke is a freelance writer and garden consultant and designer. Contact her through e-mail at gardens@zianet.com, her Facebook page or 323-0903.