Alyssa Schiffman, Staff Writer
As the school year winds down and finals come to a head, many students will breath a sigh of relief.
But while they sigh with relief, the staff and volunteers at the Humane Society for Greater Savannah must buckle down for the onslaught of newborn kittens they will receive.
Summer is well known to animal care providers as “the kitten season:” a time in which unfixed cats reproduce prolifically. In order to prepare for the oncoming surge, the HSGS organized its first annual Kitten Shower last Sunday evening.
The concept is the same as a regular baby shower, in which guests bring in supplies to help care for the awaited newborns.
“The purpose of this event was to bring in donations and gather fosters for all of the kittens that we [get] every year around this time,” Jalil Bowman, Foster Care Coordinator for the Humane Society said.
“On a daily basis we can get 3-4 litters, and that includes pregnant mothers. So that’s approximately 20 kittens every day that we receive.”
The HSGS is entirely run on private donations from local individuals, businesses, trusts and foundations, and more. They receive no funds from the government or the Humane Society of the United States. The shelter relies almost entirely on volunteers for work, creating a high dependency on the community.
“We’re always taking donations. During this time we really need kitten formula, nursing bottles, paper towels, fleece blankets, treats–we really need everything,” Bowman stated. “Everything your cats need at home, our cats need as well.”
However donations are not the only way the community can help during the summer months. Fostering a litter of kittens is a highly important service for the shelter, the kittens, and the mothers alike.
“Fostering kittens is a great help,” Bowman explained. “Even the mothers sometimes need to just go to a home for a while just to not be in such a stressful environment. Then when they return they’re relaxed and much more presentable on the adoption floor.”
However, as Bowman explained to WTOC, the entire process of raising the kittens proves to be an incredibly rewarding experience to the humans as well.
“It’s actually the whole process [that is rewarding]. Seeing them here, then they go to foster and come back two weeks later. All of a sudden they are grown and they’re going out the door.”
Caring for and controlling stray animal populations is vital in the community for a multitude of reasons. In order to combat the growing numbers, all animals are spayed and neutered before leaving the shelter. To provide support to the foster families of the kittens, the HSGS provides food, medication, and other items to aid in the care.
With all the action taken by the HSGS staff and volunteers, their motivation for putting in the work is pure compassion for the often-vulnerable animals that enter the shelter.
“There are just certain things they can’t do for themselves. The outdoor cats can make it on their own, but not without scraps from us. They’re domesticated animals, they know nothing about fending for themselves and I feel like we have to do that for them,” Bowman shared.
For a complete list of donations needed by the shelter or for information on how to volunteer or foster a litter, visit their website or Facebook page of the same name.