The summer is when kitten season is in full swing. Because cats are such prolific reproducers, animal shelters tend to become overrun with kittens during the summer months (or, more accurately, most of the year in California animal shelters). With such a high influx of kittens, it is often hard for shelters to keep up with them and the care they require.
Many shelters euthanize kittens under two pounds upon entering the shelter, even if they are healthy. You can imagine what the fate is for kittens that are not healthy. The San Jose Animal Care Center (SJACC) does not follow this practice. Rather, the SJACC has worked hard to save a higher percentage of kittens each and every year and has gradually decreased the weight at which the shelter’s veterinarians feel it is safe to perform surgery (using special protocols for these fragile mini-kitties) and adopt out kittens. As of 2014, the minimum weight kittens must be for surgery to be performed at SJACC is 1.3 pounds.
Yesterday a vet tech alerted me to the fact that an adult cat had broken through a cage divider and was now in the same cage as a kitten. As I jumped up to address the issue, the tech added, “But now they’re best buddies!”
In disbelief I headed to their kennel to discover that they had, in fact, become fast friends (see video below).
July 4th and New Years are the days that animal shelters (and many pet owners) dread the most. These holidays are often associated with fireworks which, though beautiful, create a very scary situation for our pets.
Pets tend to flood animal shelters around these holidays, particularly July 4th, because the noise generated from the firework displays is frightening and pets will often run off, sometimes breaking windows and slipping out of collars and leashes to escape.
If there is one thing I can recommend to people who have pets, it is to make sure that your pet is microchipped and the information is up to date. If your pet escapes from its collar, then the microchip is the only thing tying you to your pet. Animal shelters scan animals for microchips upon admission and they will do everything in their power to trace down owners until they reach a dead end. Having your information current means you can be reunited sooner and with less of a hassle.
Watch the video, read the story, or, better yet, do both! Either way, this kitten’s story is sure to warm your heart!
I am publishing this post on Father’s Day, as it is dedicated to my father, who gave me the strength to fight for what I believe in and the courage to leave my previous career to pursue the dream that is my life as a shelter vet.
Braveheart’s story is one that I’ve posted from start to finish on Facebook. It is an inspiring story of a 1.7-pound kitten that was brought to the San Jose Animal Care Center by a good samaritan who found him with half of his left front leg missing and a giant bulge in his belly. The good samaritan cleaned him up and took him to our shelter, hoping we would see potential in the kitten despite his small size.
I am so excited to finally be able to share this kitten’s story! Maury came to us in late February, and though he had quite a personality, there was something about him that drew our attention and concern – his tail!
Maury sustained a severe wound to his tail that left it mostly degloved (without skin) and severed with a vertebrae exposed at the tip. While he did not share his story with us, the injury he sustained did not dampen his spirit – Maury was a cheerful, playful kitten from the first moment I met him.
We provided Maury with a comfortable kennel with lots of soft bedding and good medication to relieve any pain he might be experiencing while we waited for an owner to come forward to claim this adorable little kitten. Yet no one came.
A few weeks ago, a cat came to me in the morning as a transfer from the emergency clinic that handles our after-hours medical care. The cat was a male, black cat that was blocked (unable to urinate), in very poor condition in the emergency clinic, and remained in very poor condition upon coming into our care at the San Jose Animal Care Center.
Most cats that come to the emergency clinic in this kind of poor condition without any identification are at risk of being euthanized. This cat, however, had a microchip, so the emergency clinic received authorization to spend more than our normal limit per animal on this cat, because we had reason to believe this cat had a home!
On one of my surgery days at HSSV, a feral cat was trapped for TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and brought to me for surgery. Immediately upon looking at him, it was clear that he wasn’t doing well. While I neglected to take a photograph of his condition at the time, I can assure you that the skin on his face and neck was akin to the photograph at the right – cracked, hairless and oozing.
We saved him for last as we were worried about him having an illness that would be transmittable to the other animals in our care (or even to us as humans).