Summer is back in the Hamptons! But the roads and the beach aren’t the only things filling up. So are local animal shelters. Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) in particular is chock-full of kittens—tiny, playful, wide-eyed, string chasing, life-loving kittens. We’re not talking five or six kittens here, folks. The shelter currently has about 30 kittens in house and about 20 more being fostered by families across the East End. SASF is currently preparing to have up to 100 kittens during kitten season, which Kate McEntee, Director of Adoptions at the shelter says “is the time of year when cats give birth, inundating shelters with litters of homeless kittens.” Kitten season starts in spring and peaks in late summer.
This is where you come in. SASF is in need of dedicated foster homes for kittens. You see, the kittens can’t be formally adopted until they’ve been fixed and have received the appropriate shots. They can’t have that work done until they’re of a certain size—around two pounds, a weight they won’t reach for at least a month or so.
Ideally, kittens would remain in their foster homes for about two weeks. At that point you could return the kittens to SASF and go home, good deed done. Or, more likely, you’ll have fallen head-over-heels in love and will want to adopt the little fur balls. You get priority. You’re friends also get priority, so if they fall in love with the kittens you’re fostering, they can adopt them!
The first thing to know, according to McEntee: “Fostering is free! [SASF] provides everything you need for you to take care of your foster kittens.” That includes litter, food, blankets, cat carriers, etc. All you have to supply is a safe and friendly space, some good old fashion tender loving care and maybe a belly rub or two. The kittens will also come equipped with a crate to be set up as their comfy home based. The knowledgeable and dedicated staff at SASF will pair you with the kitten–or kittens–that’s right for your family. It’s okay if you already have animals at home. Just let SASF know about them. The only other thing you need to know is that you’ll be living with kittens! How could you go wrong?
Fostering has several benefits to everyone involved. For the kittens, they learn to be social with people, getting them into a loving home with some of that aforementioned TLC. SASF and their tireless staff are allowed more time to focus on getting other animals at the shelter into their forever homes. As the foster family, you get to play with kittens, itty bitty baby kittens. Again, how could you go wrong?
As a side note to kitten season, McEntee notes the importance of SASF’s Advo-Cat program, a Trap Neuter Release program designed to help slow the growth of the Southampton feral cat population. “We need to spay/neuter outdoor feral cats,” she says, “to help prevent this overpopulation of kittens we see around this time.”
So what do you think? If you’re intrigued, call SASF at 631-728-PETS, check out all their adoptable and foster-able pets at southamptonanimalshelter.com, or visit the shelter any day of the week at 102 Old Riverhead Road in Hamptons Bays. They are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 7 p.m.