FieldHaven kicks off first neonatal kitten class in Marysville

·2 min read

Jul. 1—It was standing room only at the Hathaway Cat Resource Center in Marysville Thursday evening as guests squeezed their way in to claim a spot at the facility's first Neonatal Kitten Care class.

Participants were greeted by the small meows and peeps of newborn kittens anxiously waiting to be fed. Officer Tyler Cooley of the Gridley Police Department brought in a small carrier full of kittens that he said had been dropped off at the station Wednesday night. This litter appeared to be a little more than 10 days old, with three white kittens and one gray. FieldHaven staff, who help run the Hathaway facility, believe them to be a type of mixed breed with siamese.

Volunteer member Amelia Davies served as head instructor, sharing a wealth of knowledge from her many years raising and fostering "bottle babies." The class focused on the basics of neonatal kitten care from feeding, warming, and bathroom etiquette. In the earliest weeks of life, kittens are unable to discreet waste on their own and require manual assistance via abdominal and genital massage.

Even with the best intentions, it is very hard for a human to replace or mimic the instinctive care a mother cat gives her kittens. That's why FieldHaven staff always advocate for locating the mom or "queen" whenever possible. The top three causes of kitten demise are congenital defects, temperature regulation, and overeating. To reduce these risks, prospective foster parents were encouraged to keep a log of each kitten's feeding and bathroom habits, and to purchase items such as a "snuggle safe" and "miracle nipples." Snuggle safe items help keep kittens warm, which is essential for their digestive system, and the correct nipples help avoid bottle aversion.

The two-hour presentation concluded with each guest receiving a bag full of neonatal kitten supplies, and a chance to handle some of the facility's tiniest furry members. Dallas Butterfield, operations manager for FieldHaven, and Joy Smith, FieldHaven's president and executive director, took down information for many new aspiring foster homes and felt the event was a good start in equipping the community to deal with abandoned litters.

Hathaway Cat Resource Center is located at 630 B St. in Marysville. For more information, visit Fieldhaven.com or email marysville@fieldhaven.com.