The Problem with Kittens

The Hard Reality of Working with and
Adopting Out Unwanted Kittens

Please understand that we spend endless hours working with our kittens to help make them healthy before going to an adoptive family. Most come to us sick and stressed from abandonment. In 2015, about 27% (39) of our cats died, commonly from a disease loosely termed "feline distemper." In general, the mortality rate for young cats is very high in our community due to problems related to cat overpopulation.

Yet, every day people allow their cats to birth kitten after kitten. Due to Mother Nature's reproductive rate for cats, it is reasonable to say we have more and more cats every year. Even though FPKB has helped alter over 14,000 cats, our effort is truly insignificant when compared to the magnitude of the problem. It is a problem is easily solvable if the public would just tune in.

Simply stated, unwanted or abandoned kittens are prone to sickness. Since many of the kittens coming to us have unknown or unhealthy mothers or have been stressed from abandonment, we see a lot of disease. We are as much of a hospital as a shelter, actually. We work with them all and do our best to save every one.

Our shelter is stressful for the cats! Even though our shelter may be considered a "good" environment for abandoned felines and the cats may look content, these cats are still very stressed because THEY NEED A LOVING HOME OF THEIR OWN. We are very aware of the psychological problems these cats face and feel sad that they are even here!

To help control viruses, other pathogens, as well as odor, purifiers help clean our air.

We place a priority on trying to protect an adoptive family from the inconvenience and grief resulting from illness or death of our cats. The following policies are in place regarding infectious diseases and other health issues. We occasionally make exceptions to these policies, but not often.

1. To help protect against death from feline distemper, kittens are not adopted until they have received a minimum of two feline distemper/upper respiratory vaccines. This normally requires at least a 3 week stay at our facility. Should one of the siblings die from feline distemper we will hold the remaining litter for at least two weeks past the death of the kitten.

2. To protect against death that could result from spay or neuter surgery, we wait until our kittens are evaluated to have attained a level of good health and able to withstand the stress of surgery. They normally are not placed in a home until one week post surgery.

3. To protect against outbreak of ringworm in the new home, we preferably will not adopt a kitten until it has had and has recovered from ringworm. Undoubtedly, ringworm infections can be the most costly and time consuming infection we face. But there are a lot of ringworm spores out there and when outbreaks occur in our community, we have them too. Kittens coming into our program will often have ringworm, or are carrying the spores and soon break with it. Because our cat population rises every year, so too we think the ringworm! It is a very successful fungal infection.

4. To protect against outbreaks of upper respiratory, well, that is just something we have to face also. We vaccinate. We use a selection of antibiotics. Kittens are prone to upper respiratory infections. When kittens are stressed or homeless, the infections increase. The vaccines may not be helpful if the kitten already has the infection. Vaccines are preventatives, not cures. Studies show that nearly 80% of all felines are or have been infected with an upper respiratory virus.

5. To protect against death from Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunovirus, we test our cats (in event of a litter, we test one kitten) prior to adoption to screen for these two viruses. Our cost of $20.00 per test, and is part of our Adoption Fee. The testing is done at a local clinic to insure validity.

6. To protect against common parasites such as roundworms, ear mites, and fleas, the kitten is dosed with appropriate treatments.

7. We prefer to bathe our cats prior to adoption and retain them long enough to be sure the stool is firm.

8. Unfortunately, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP, is the one disease that escapes us. Fortunately, FIP is not commonly occuring.There is no screening test for FIP and some kittens from a litter may get it and some will not. It is thought to be transferred from mother to offspring. In some kittens the corona virus will mutate and develop into FIP, causing the death of the kitten between 3 and 12 months of age..

9. We maintain an open shelter because we believe it is unhealthy for the felines to be kept in cages. It is our principal the open concept promotes good health and outbreaks of upper respiratory, distemper, or ringworm will occur whether they are in cages or not.

10. We normally adopt kittens when they are 10 to 12 weeks of age or older, because we hold our kittens until they have worked through identifiable health problems. To adopt kittens younger often results in difficulties for the adoptive families, the very thing we try to avoid. We have made exceptions to this policy but special circumstances must be present.

11. We do euthanize. Sadly, some seriously ill or injured kittens and adults will not survive and we euthanize to end suffering. We will not destroy any cat deemed to be eventually adoptable, but we reserve the option to euthanize cats with aggressive behavior towards other cats and people, and those very depressed with no sign of recovery.

12. Our program is very time consuming and costly. We do our very best to put a kitten in a home when it is ready and healthy. However, the crowding of unwanted cats in shelters takes a huge toll on the cost and ability to keep cats healthy and happy. We have no funding source except for the generosity of the public.

Respectfully prepared,
Kathy Williams, President

Phone: 541-850-0750 ~ Email

Located in Klamath Falls, Oregon

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