Why Doesn't Animal Services Have an Effective Neonatal Program?

This is Boks third kitten season. During that tme, Animal Services has never developed a successful neonatal program. Every shelter director in the country has told me a massive foster program is essential to no kill.

What saved Boks last year is his kitten refusal policy, redefining 4 week old kittens as cats, and some speculate taking them directly from reception to the bump room. 2,800 fewer kittens were "officially" killed as kittens.

But fosters--at least those we know of--saved only 2%.

Without fosters, low kill absolutely cannot be attained.

Last year Boks torpedoed a neonatal program proposed by Shankar and Bell. This year I hear nothing at all.

I understand that it is easy to complain, but why hasn't it happened?

Boks is right, it does take the entire community to make it work, but that is his job and it hasn't happened. It has happened elsewhere, such as in San Francisco and to a lesser degree in Philadelphia.

Ed, why is it not happening? Talk to us about what the problems are so that we can help. Just aksing for fosters on a blog or a press release will do nothing. Where are the programs, volunteers and coordinators?


Anonymous said...

NOBODY in their right mind is going to take a litter of unweaned kittens from the shelter only to turn them over to a bunch of ding-dongs who didn't do didley squad staying up sleepless nights for weeks at a time, while depleting their finances on KMR formula, high quality kitten food, medical care, and "World's Best Cat Litter" for 8 weeks, ONLY to give them up to a bunch of shit-heads with tatoos so that the assholes can turn around and give them to their girlfriend as a short-lived, kiss-and-make up act.

Foster parents want to keep the kittens they've bonded with after 8 weeks, and cannot part with them. They will NOT give them back to the shelter after all of the hard work and bonding that has taken place between the foster parent and the kittens.

The kittens become SICK at the shelter shortly after sitting around waiting to be adopted, and there is a tremendous amount of competition between them. No one wants to give up their kittens after weaning them in a clean home environment where the siblings get to play together, and then have to go into some shitty cage with shitty ass dry food that has no nutritional value.

You think after having spent so much time and energy and resources on those kittens a foster parent is going to be happy with giving up their babies to an idiot who is going to feed them crap out of a bag and force them to be separated from their siblings?

It is hard as hell and it is NOT worth the pain, money, and effort, unless there is SOME financial compensation for the foster parent, and SOME effective means of Adopting them out RESPONSIBLY to responsible and FOREVER homes!

Not to just ANYBODY so that the babies someone has bust their ass working to maintain healthy and happy are going to treat them like disposable objects later!

YOU try bottle-feeding a litter of 6 kittens for several weeks and maintain them healthy and happy in your home and then give them up to the shelter and watch them get sick and watch them get scooped up by some idiot who is never going to clean his litter box and abandon it later, and see how you like feel.


Ed Muzika said...

I have read the medical records of Mason's cats. They were not fed junk food. I think it was Royal Canin.

When I went to West Valley, even in the evidence room, one cat was on Science Diet K/D.

You can argue the value of various foods, but I am sure their food beats Purina 'Meows' or Whiskas.

I have heard that the vet staff prevailed and quite a bit of high quality food was being bought.

With the budget trimming, this may not continue.

I also noted before I gave the Mason cat records away, the 2-3 cats that appeared ill were treated and one gained weight. One was given SQ fluids. That was Johnny. Apparently Johnny was borderline some organ failure and the raid sent him over the brink.

He died 4-5 days after impounding, but he received treatment and fairly good treatment. Maybe not what you'd get at VCA for $130/day + SSSS for fluids, meds, etc.

I had one cat in a hospital for six days. The vet--a "specialist" (in separating me from money) charged $12 for each Baytril stuck down his throat, as well as $360 for a sonagram, $410 for an endoscopy, another $130 for a feeding tube insertion, $260 for a biopsy and a second opinion, etc, $140 for blood tests, $120 for X-Rays, and another $600 for radiation thyroid treatment. Thank God I had insurance. (I just needed to get that off my chest--the greed of vets.) In fact, insurance paid $4,700of the $5,600 total bill, but only because the anonymous cat had a cancer rider.

No wonder people abandon animals at the pound. Few can or will pay for treatment.

Anonymous said...

Extrememly expensive and time consuming to care for neonatals. Rescues at least get tax deductions and free food and low cost medical care for their litters and every penny spent on the litters are tax deductible.

Not so for the average Joe on a limited income and limited resources. It's all out of pocket and those weekly jumbo bins of KMR and cases of Chicken Soup for the Kitten lover's soul and World's best Non-clumping Cat Litter burn Huge holes in your pocket.

Then you have to give 'em up to the shelter for free for some idiot to take home and you have no idea what the future holds for the little guys who you've bonded with and invested all your emotions on trying to keep them alive bring them back to health.

I'm through w/ the fostering crap.

Chatoak Emergency tore right through the esophagus of one of my neonatals and ripped her lungs to shreds w/ a feeding tube when she wouldn't eat. Gave me back the kitten so that she could die a tortouous death over night w/ thick brown liquid oozing from both ends.

A good $500 out-of-pocket expense (for just one of them) in one shot. And none of it is tax-deductible, or worth the pain and suffering for both the kitten and the foster parent. At least not for me anymore.

A kennel supervisor told me at the baby-bottle foster class I attended that some fosters have been known to stick the newborns into the microwave in order to keep 'em warm. Idiot Shit-heads.

They don't pay attention during the foster class and scald them formula that's too hot, hot water bottles, electric blankets.

The kittens die with fluid-filled lungs because fosters force feed them in the wrong position with their little necks tilted backward and feed them on their stomach, so they choke to death on the liquid and die from pneumonia.

Fosters use clumping litter instead of non-clumping, natural litter like the wheat stuff, or World's Best Cat Litter (which is extremely expensive) and the kittens injest the litter so that their tummies get clogged because the litter clumps inside their tummies and they die.

Kittens love to groom themselves when they get older but they have diahhrea, and often, they're dehydrated and so the diahrrea clumps on their little paws and then they groom themselves, and down the hatch directly to the tummy with the clumping litter, and whooops! Another very sick and dead kitten, or two, or 6, how many bottle-babies there are to care for.

They're got fleas so they often have flea anemia and they don't get bathed, deflead, and groomed properly so that they die from flea anemia.

Often, the foster parent uses a hair dryer that's too hot on the kitten to dry it off, or it just dies from hypothermia because the temperature was not warm enough for him and he's allowed to be soaked for too long.

People bring fleas into their homes and the fleas jump on their other pets. The kittens aren't properly isolated and their animals at homes get sick and flea ridden.

If the kitten has had panleukopenia or FELV, there goes the fleas jumping from the flea infested eaten kitten to the other cats or kittens in the household sucking the life-blood out of them too...

No prisoner or retiree is going to invest this kind of time and money on neoborns to bring them back to health and them give them back to the shelter again for nothing.

I sure ain't getting into it anymore if my own life depended on it. It's emotionally and finanically expensive as hell.

Another one from the litter of six I fostered got a hernia right after being spayed, and she had to have a second surgery a week after the fucking spay when the damned doctor Marco at Noreda refused to extract the liquid from her after he spayed her.

Another one died on the surgery table, after all the fucking work and emotional expense.

So you ask "why doesn't animal services have an effective Neonatal program?"

Hope you get some idea someday from doing it yourself. Take a litter home from a hoarders house and impound it. Then take a baby bottle foster class so that you know what you're doing. Then take them home and bring them back to life because they're all full of fleas and their coats are covered w/ dried out blood, take them to the vet yourself, and provide for all their expenses and spend every waking night bottle feeding your babies every two hours for several weeks.

When they won't eat, take them to the vet, and spend boo-coo $$$$ on them and don't claim it on your taxes because it's illegal to do so. Then watch them die at the hands of some idiot at the emergency room who has tortured your baby to death, and watch your baby girls be opened up back to back because they're too young to be spayed and their abdomens are full of liquid immediately following surgery, and back to they go to another vet to extract the liquid, and sew up a hernia.

Ask me then why more people don't get involved.

Then have a bunch of assholes coming over to your house to eyeball your babies and tell you that they'll adopt but they're going to be outdoor cats living on a busy intersection of the valley, and they need a cat for the rats in their yard.

It's kitten season, so there's a lot of competition among all the babies, so if you take them back to the shelter to be adopted, it's likely they're going to get sick and die because there are going to be exposed to all kinds of airborne diseases at the shelter being around so many other cats.

You take them to the adoptions events and it's way too hot for the kittens to travel and be exposed to the valley heat in your vehicle to and from the adoption events, and at the stupid parks where just anybody and anything can adopt the babe you've invested everything every fiber of your being on.

These are only some reasons why I can see why Animal Services doesn't hve an effective neonatal program. You've gotta be crazy to get into the pain and hastle of it all when there are thousands more on the street that need to be truly rescued.