By: Dr. Dietsch | April 17, 2019
Spring has arrived in St. Louis, which brings flowers, beautiful weather, and kittens….lots and lots of kittens. The APA takes in close to 1,000 kittens every year. If you happen to find a litter of kittens outside, what can you do?
1. Watch the kittens from a distance to see if their mom is coming back. If you see mom, or they are content, she’s caring for them.
2. If their current location is unsafe, move them to a nearby safe spot where mom can find them when she returns.
3. You can provide food, water, and shelter to help them. If mom is friendly, and you have a spot indoors (separate from your pets), you can move the family inside and provide temporary care. If you can socialize the kittens at little each day, that helps them find adoptive homes.
4. If at any point the kittens appear sick, contact the APA or your local animal welfare organization for guidance.
5. Once the kittens are eating on their own (6-7 weeks of age) it is time to get them spayed/neutered and into adoptive homes. Take mom too if she’s friendly. Contact the APA or your local animal welfare organization for assistance.
6. If mom is feral then TNR (trap, neuter, return) is her best option. Be sure to TNR any cats in the area to prevent future litters.
7. If mom is feral, you can trap and keep her and her kittens together in a cage. You can also try to find rescue who will keep until weaned then adopt out kittens and then mom can be fixed and returned (but it is hard to find people who will foster feral moms). Our friends at St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach (STLFCO) recommend pulling kittens from feral moms at 6 weeks, although sometimes 4 weeks is better, it depends on mom’s temperament and the kitten’s development. If kittens reach 8 weeks and are afraid of people, then fix and return them along with adults.
8. If you are providing food and shelter, keep food away from the shelter (if left outside) so that predators aren’t unnecessarily attracted to kits. If you choose to bring a community cat and her babies inside, confine them to a single room or crate (for ease of socialization) and away from your household pets.
By: Dr. Dietsch | April 12, 2019
Moe was surrendered to the APA on April 27, 2018, after badly breaking his left hind leg. His owner said he jumped from a two-story balcony and that he couldn’t afford the vet care Moe (then Mocha) would need to repair the leg. By the time Moe was surrendered to the APA, his leg could not be repaired and had to be amputated.
Megan saw the request to foster Moe and volunteered to help him out. Little did she know that she would end up being his forever family! Megan picked up Moe from Hillside Animal Hospital after his amputation surgery the next day. It was clear he had been through a lot—he was unsure and learning how to navigate the world on three legs. However, through all of this, he was resilient and happy. He immediately bonded with Megan’s other dogs, and she took him to work with her every day while he recovered. His positive attitude was contagious, and her colleagues quickly adopted him as their unofficial office therapy dog.
As soon as Moe healed and was ready for his forever home, Megan completed the adoption paperwork, and Moe became a permanent part of her family. Since then, Moe has gotten stronger and has shown just how resilient he is. They took a road trip to Badlands National Park and Black Hills Forest this summer and even summited the highest point in South Dakota which required an almost eight-mile ascent. Moe motivated everyone he passed on the trail and loved the experience. This year, Megan and Moe will be completing the 52 Hike Challenge, which means they will be hiking every weekend in 2019.
Because of all that Moe has been through, Megan believes he serves as a motivation for everyone he meets, which is why Moe is now training to become a volunteer therapy dog for the St. Louis community. Once Moe passes his final class, Megan hopes he will be able to volunteer with children who have orthopedic conditions or with people who are recovering from injuries and undergoing physical therapy.
Megan will always be grateful for the APA and the Hope Fund which allowed Moe the second chance he deserved. He’s a special dog, and she’s so happy she found him.