Three men with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue standing behind Chelsea Goss, senior supervisor of volunteer services at Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center, and Max the dog at the center’s kitten shower.

Kitten season, a monthslong time of the year when Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center takes in hundreds of kittens, is just beginning, so the center is expecting a lot of babies soon. To help with the seasonal influx—and to introduce residents to the possibilities of fostering kittens, cats or dogs and what they need to know—it hosted a kitten shower on April 30.

The event featured giveaway baskets, enrichment activities like making cat toys, the chance to name kittens at the shelter, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue fire truck and the opportunity to tour the shelter.

“We had a lot of donations of blankets and towels, litter was donated, some food supplies were donated, toys were donated, so that was definitely a huge help for us as well,” said Chelsea Goss, senior supervisor of volunteer services at the Pet Resource Center.

Kittens present a special set of challenges for shelter staff, especially very young kittens that require hand-feeding if their mom is not present. The kitten shower also gave information and resources on how residents can become a foster parent to kittens, cats or dogs that just need a little love and help to find a new home.

Goss was glad to say the event went well, as several families interested in adopting kittens had attended and a few new potential foster parents were signed up to help out when more kittens come during kitten season.

Foster parents received training and were given the chance to take care of pets for as little as two weeks. The center’s foster program provides a temporary, safe place for pets to live, and behavioral or other information foster parents provide significantly increases the chance of a successful adoption when the pet is returned to the shelter.

“We had 32 dogs adopted that day, and 20 cats went home that day as well,” said Goss.

If you find kittens, Goss said to wait several hours for their mom to return before deciding they’re orphans and bringing them to the Pet Resource Center, as the mom usually returns soon. Although, if you see a mom with her kittens and are concerned about them, you’re welcome to bring them to the center so it can see what it can do for them.

The shelter hosts a kitten shower each April, so the community can look forward to attending another one next year. Those interested in fostering for the Pet Resource Center can email fosterpets@hcflgov.net.

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Taylor Wells is a relatively recently hired news reporter for the Osprey Observer, having been with the paper only since October 8, 2018. Aside from writing articles, he helps edit and upload them to the Osprey Observer site, and is always available to help other staff members in his spare time. He graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and lives in Valrico.