In an effort to prepare for an anticipated influx of kittens, Animal Services will be holding a Foster Parent Training for north county residents on Saturday, February 9th from 1pm until 3pm at the Santa Maria Animal Center. Another training class will be offered on March 9th from 1-3pm for those who cannot attend.

In Santa Barbara County thousands of orphaned kittens find their way into shelters each year. “Kitten season,” as this period is often referred to, is typically heaviest between March and October when the weather is warmer. Some litters come in with their nursing mothers; others arrive orphaned and so young that they must be bottle fed until they can eat on their own. Most are healthy, thriving kittens that just need a safe place to grow until they are old enough to be adopted into a loving new home.

The shelter is not an ideal environment for underage kittens because kittens lack the ability to keep warm on their own and the immunity to fight off disease. You can be the difference between life and death by becoming a foster home.

Fostering kittens is an excellent way to help the smallest members of our community without making a permanent commitment of adoption. All that is required is a safe and secure environment, some extra time, and lots of love to share. Training is provided and families are encouraged to apply. Fostering a litter of orphaned kittens may also help you earn community service hours.

Hundreds of kittens enter our shelters each year, the finders stating that they did not see the mother cat. If you find a litter of kittens you think may be abandoned, please contact your local Animal Services Shelter prior to removing the kittens. The Santa Maria Animal Center can be reached at 934-6119, the Lompoc Shelter at 737-7755, and the Santa Barbara Shelter at 681-5285.

Anyone interested in opening their hearts and home to a litter of orphaned kittens for one to eight weeks is invited to attend the Foster Parent Orientation on Saturday, February 9, 2013. The orientation will be held from 1pm until 3pm at the Santa Maria Animal Center, 548 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria. For more information or to RSVP please call 805-934-6981. If you are unable to be a foster parent but still wish to help, donations of wet or dry Science Diet kitten food or Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) are also needed.


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