Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center, the County’s animal shelter and The First Place for Pets, is partnering with the non-profit group, Alley Cat Allies, for a new initiative aimed at saving lives of orphaned kittens during the busy summer season. Historically, the number of cats/kittens coming into the shelter during the summer months increases from around 300 to nearly 1200 at peak season.
The new program called Wait Until 8 empowers citizens to become at-home caregivers for stray and neonatal kittens until eight weeks of age when they can be returned to the shelter for adoption. Residents who might otherwise turn stray and orphaned kittens from two to six weeks over to crowded shelters can instead obtain free supplies and care instructions to save lives. Each complimentary Kitten Survival Kit contains formula, bottles, and other items provided by the feline organization Alley Cat Allies. Kitten Survival Kits are available at the Pet Resource Center, located at 440 N. Falkenburg Rd. in Tampa.
The following are guidelines for the Wait Until 8 program:
Orphaned but healthy neonatal kittens age two to six weeks in care of volunteers shall be returned to the shelter at eight weeks of age (or when they weigh at least two pounds).
Shelter staff will provide free Kitten Survival Kit supplies, written care instructions, and a personal orientation for care of neonatal kittens.
Volunteers must agree to provide all care after leaving the shelter (during the “waiting” period).
Upon return to the shelter at eight weeks, all kittens shall undergo spay/neuter surgery to prepare for adoption.
Volunteer caregivers may officially adopt their kittens free of charge – including County pet license, vaccination, micro-chip, and chip registration.
Like all pet adopters, volunteer caregivers must be at least 18 years of age.
Students participating in the Wait Until 8 program are eligible for Bright Futures hours.
For medical reasons, neonatal kittens whose eyes have not yet opened will not be eligible for the Wait Until 8 program.
Whenever possible, experts at the both the Pet Resource Center and Alley Cat Allies recommend keeping nursing feline mothers with kitten litters until fully weaned. To prevent future unwanted litters, the Pet Resource Center will also spay and vaccinate mother cats for free as part of its new program.
For more information on adoptions, lost pets, spay/neuter vouchers or the Wait Until 8 program, contact Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center at 744-5660 or visit www.HillsboroughCounty.org/Pets.