Open Letter from Liberty Humane

6/18/2010:

Joanna Hopkinson, the Executive Director of Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City has written an open letter to Hoboken (and JC) residents about rescuing the many kittens you may see running around town this summer.

Tips on rescuing backyard kittens in Hoboken

“It is early summer and many Hoboken and Jersey City residents may have already seen newborn kittens living in their back yards.

Most people, when they see these kittens, immediately scoop them up and bring them to the Liberty Humane Society or other shelters. If these kittens are no longer nursing from their mother, and can eat on their own, this is OK but if the kittens are still nursing, bringing them to an animal shelter or having Animal Control do the same, is not the best thing to do.

If you find young kittens alone, do not always assume the mother has abandoned them. Most cats are good mothers and have most likely just gone to look for food.

If the mother is not feral/wild, then it is OK to bring her and her kittens inside your home or to the shelter, but if she is feral, she will be able to raise her kittens outside. Provide a shelter, food and water and make the environment as safe as possible for them.

When the kittens are 6-7 weeks old they will be ready to be weaned and socialized. Then the mother will not mind if you take the kittens away. You can tell they are ready to be weaned when they are running, digging, pouncing and their eyes have changed from blue to their adult color. They now look like small versions of adult cats. They may hiss at you when you catch them but this will stop after a day or two once they are handled and stroked.

If kittens are brought to the Liberty Humane Society when they are still nursing, it puts their life at risk as they develop strong immune systems when nursing but do not have the ability to do this when living at the shelter. High numbers of surrendered kittens also puts a burden on the shelter employees and volunteers this time of year. Nursing kittens need feeding every two hours, and we simply do not have enough skilled volunteers and staff to do this.

Once the kittens are grown up and are removed, it is most important that the mother be trapped and spayed and released back to her habitat. The Liberty Humane Society and our partner organization, the Neighborhood Feral Cat Initiative, can assist in making this very affordable and easy.

If you see newborn kittens and have questions or need advice, call:

  • 201-547-4147 for the Liberty Humane Society
  • 201-884-9649 for the Neighborhood Feral Cat Initiative

(Please note, the Liberty Humane Society only accepts cats from Jersey City and Hoboken.)

Sincerely,

Joanna Hopkinson
Executive Director
Liberty Humane Society

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