The Lafayette Animal Shelter and Care Center (LASCC) needs foster volunteers to care for orphaned kittens that require specialized care. During kitten season, from April to October, it's common for shelters to receive an influx of orphaned kittens which puts a strain on the kittens as well as the staff.
"The shelter environment is not ideal for newborn kittens," Shelter Director Shelley Delahoussaye explained. "They need to be bottle fed, kept warm and require constant love and attention. Their age makes them more susceptible to disease, stress and respiratory issues, which are all common in a shelter. Our staff doesn't have the time necessary to properly care for the kittens, which is why we ask for volunteers to open their homes."
LASCC does everything possible to set up the kittens and volunteers for success. Volunteers receive hands-on training, bottles, milk and a how-to manual for reference. Volunteers also have the support of other trained volunteers through a private Facebook group when questions arise.
According to Delahoussaye, volunteers are essential during kitten season, "We have over 75 kittens in foster care, some are still at the age to be bottle fed. Volunteers make a huge difference. If we didn't have them, many of these kittens probably wouldn't make it."
Foster volunteer Ashlyn Broussard said she was interested in fostering, but thought it would be too difficult with her busy schedule. After caring for a litter, she discovered just the opposite. "We have been drawn to kittens and bottle baby kittens and they are incredible souls. They have taught me and my family so much. I feel so blessed to love on these kittens and give them a comfy place to rest," she said.
The shelter has a several kittens remaining, but Delahoussaye is certain she will receive more. During the stay-at-home order in March, more than 50 cats and dogs were placed into foster homes, in part because more people were home with time on their hands, and all were adopted within a month. With many people still working from home, Delahoussaye is hoping more volunteers will be part of the program. "We like to keep people on deck to sign up. Even if none are available now, at the drop of a hat, we can receive dozens of kittens."
Those interested in volunteering as a kitten foster are encouraged to contact the shelter at: LASCC@lafayettela.gov.
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