By Janet McAfee
Kittens are adorable, playful, and fun to fall in love with! However, it is kitten season again and sadly there are not enough homes for the very high number of them being born. The cat crisis is exacerbated by the thousands of homeless cats roaming Coachella Valley fields and backyards, producing litters that will soon multiply and produce more unwanted kittens. Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) efforts are ongoing to help in our community, but it’s never enough.
During the pandemic spaying and neutering was not considered an essential service, and more animals reproduced during that time. Tragically, kittens are being dumped at work sites, in dumpsters, and along rural roads by cruel individuals. IF YOU FIND A LITTER OF KITTENS OUTDOORS, LEAVE THEM ALONE FOR 12-14 HOURS, OBSERVING THEM WHEN YOU CAN TO DETERMINE IF THERE IS A NURSING MOTHER AROUND. THEY MAY BE IN MORE DANGER AND MEDICAL JEOPARDY IF YOU TAKE THEM SOMEWHERE.
Imagine working at a shelter because you love animals, and another car pulls up with a litter of tiny kittens they found at their job site. These precious creatures are in jeopardy when they arrive at California’s overcrowded public animal shelters. The motherless kittens too young to eat solid food require round the clock bottle feeding. Public and private shelters do not have the overnight staff to keep these little animals alive. Unless a bottle-feeding foster can be located quickly, sadly the only option may be euthanasia. This is a heartbreaking situation for the animals and the shelter staff. According to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary 70% of the animals euthanized in America’s public shelters in 2020 are cats and kittens.
Pictured here is animal hero Roz Landsman holding Foxie and Fiona, two precious kittens rescued from a dumpster by a good Samaritan who brought them to Loving All Animals. It was a miracle they were still alive. Knowing the urgency facing the survival of the young neonates, Roz rushed to Loving All Animals to retrieve the tiny siblings. Foxie and Fiona thrived from her expert care and eventually adopted. Tragically Roz Landsman suddenly passed away in April 2022, leaving a void of fostering options for the most vulnerable creatures. If she had space, Roz never said No to the animal organizations she fostered for.
On a mission of love, Roz fostered 38 litters of cats and kittens during her lifetime. In 1997, she was the Volunteer Coordinator at Animal Samaritans. One day she observed a woman enter the facility with two tiny motherless kittens she found in the bushes. She overheard the receptionist tell the woman they were too young for the organization to accept. Without thinking, Roz blurted out, “I will take them!”. Roz explains, “Fostering is my joy! Our veterinarian quickly taught me how to bottle feed. My children are now grown, but I still get to be a mom. When my husband, Arnie, was alive we were known as the ‘kitten bottle feeding couple’. We all look for a purpose in our lives, and I’ve found mine with fostering. I will never stop fostering these precious kittens and cats!”
Jamie Sue Stout, kitten foster mom extraordinaire tells us, “If we had a few more dedicated people like Roz helping, it would save the lives of more kittens. Many of the kittens needing foster homes are over 5 weeks and so they don’t need the frequent bottle feeding. Can you help? Working together, we can save them all!”
Jamie Sue is available to teach a 1-hour class on a weekend day on how to bottle feed kittens; the class will be at the Loving All Animals’ shelter, call (760) for this wonderful experience!
In Roz’ memory, will you help? The animal rescues and shelters listed here would welcome your joining their life saving team! They provide supplies, veterinary care, and feeding instructions. You can also offer to foster older cats, dogs, or puppies.
COACHELLA VALLEY ANIMAL CAMPUS, THOUSAND PALMS – Foster supervisor at (951) 358-7376, www.rcdas.org.
LOVING ALL ANIMALS, COACHELLA – Call (760) 834-7000, www.lovinngallanimals.org.
PALM SPRINGS ANIMAL SHELTER – Call (760) 416-5718, Ext 114.
ANIMAL SAMARITANS, THOUSAND PALMS – Call (760) 343-3477.
KITTYLAND, DESERT HOT SPRINGS – Call (760) 251-2700.
To learn more about caring for newborn kittens: bestfriends.org/straykittens