Animal shelters need food for kittens

ARF volunteer Trisha Gain holds two of the 140 kittens up for adoption. The shelter is in need of food to feed all the hungry mouths

Spring is kitten season according to people who volunteer at animal shelters and this year is proving to be a challenge to feed all those hungry mouths. The Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) typically takes in cats surrendered from rural Alberta. Right now it has over 200 with 140 of them being kittens.

"What we're specifically looking for is wet food of the pate variety," said Trisha Gain, an ARF volunteer. "It's easier for the kittens to digest and swallow, many of them will need to be fed by syringe as well so the pate is easier to place in a syringe and feed the young kittens."

Gain added that many cats get a lot of their daily water intake from wet food and that's especially important during Calgary's abnormally warm spring and summer so far.

"We are responsible for providing all of our fosters with food to look after the cats that they agree to look after temporarily," said Gain. "So it's not just the animals we currently house in our quarantine facility, it's all of our fosters as well."

The story is similar at the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society that has shelters in both Edmonton and Calgary.

"It has been a crazy year," said Deanna Thompson, AARCS executive director. "I just looked up the numbers and we have 764 animals in care right now, so that's split more cats than dogs, but I think there's more than 250 dogs in care and the rest are cats."

FEWER PEOPLE ADOPTING

Thompson has been with AARCS for 14 years and says that's not normal. Combine that with fewer people adopting pets this season and the number of surrendered animals in the shelter will just keep rising.

"I think potentially with restrictions lightening, people going away, maybe camping, school's out that kind of stuff, (and) we're not seeing the adoption rates that we were last year," said Thompson.

She said the shelter would like more people to volunteer to foster animals to provide them with the love and care they need before they're adopted.

"And funds are always good," said Thompson. "Donations have dried up kind of as well with the times so if you have any spare (money) we would like a donation."

Thompson says with pandemic restrictions easing and people soon returning to the office rather than working from home, many pets will be left alone for the first time in their lives.

"We are a little bit worried about separation anxiety in dogs," said Thompson. "Even cats actually as people start to go back to work, so hopefully people have done their job and got the training and ensure the animals spend some time alone so it's not as hard a transition for them."

Learn more about ARF and AARCS here: https://arf.ab.ca/ https://aarcs.ca/