Community Kitten Foster Initiative

February 28, 2018

Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team

Organization: Stray Cat Alliance
Investigator(s): Christi Metropole
Grant Amount: $25,000
Project Type: Phase 1
Project Status: Research Complete

Project Summary

Stray Cat Alliance's Safe-At-Home project prevents unweaned kittens, who are at-risk due to their inability to eat on their own, from entering the shelter. The program works by intercepting community members bringing these kittens to the shelter and encouraging them to foster the kittens until they are old enough to be adopted. The program educates community foster caregivers on how to care for orphaned kittens and provides supplies and veterinary care. In 2017, the goal was to save 400 - 450 kittens; the program cared for 563 kittens and saved 468 (83%) of them.

Objective(s)

To improve unweaned kittens' chances of survival by establishing collaboration between South Los Angeles Shelter and the community to prevent them from entering the shelter until they are old enough for adoption.

Methods

The Safe-At-Home project positioned Community Engagement Counselors at the South Los Angeles Shelter in order to intercept people surrendering cats and kittens to the shelter. The Counselors recruited these community members as fosters and educated them on how to take care of bottle-fed kittens. All necessary supplies and veterinary care were provided.

Results

  • The program took in 563 kittens. Of these, 392 (70%) were adopted - including 82 (21%) by fosters; 49 (8%) are still in foster; 95 (17%) died, 10 (2%) were given away by their foster to someone else, and 17 (3%) are currently in the Café awaiting adoption.
  • The program administrators feel there is a greater awareness about the program in the community. Fosters felt empowered and some referred other people to the program. It has been noted that the culture of the hosting shelter has changed due to the program. When the Counselors are not able to be at the shelter, the staff speak with community members who have unweaned kittens about enrolling in the program.

Conclusions

The project's success was primarily measured by the number of kittens saved. For 2017, the goal was to take in 400-450 kittens with the expectation that those numbers would be exceeded as resources allowed. Safe-At-Home was successful in taking in 563 kittens and saving 468 (83%) of them in 2017.

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