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Valley Journals

Best Friends hopes to save 1,500 kittens with nursery

May 09, 2018 04:00PM ● By Spencer Belnap

Newborn kittens receive treatment at the seasonal nursery. (Photos courtesy Best Friends Animal Society)

By Spencer W. Belnap | s.belnap@mycityjournals.com

Best Friends Animal Society-Utah has opened their kitten nursery for the season once again, expanding into its fourth year of operations. With newborn kittens being among the most at-risk animals entering local shelters today, Best Friends has big goals with the nursery. They hope to save 1,500 tiny felines in 2018, surpassing their 2017 mark. It began taking animals from shelters in mid-March and is already hosting about four dozen kittens and nursing mothers.

“The kitten nursery is like a hospital,” Best Friends’ Public Relations Specialist Temma Martin said. “There is very strict germ protocol to keep the babies healthy.”

The special space allows for caretakers to focus entirely on the orphaned kittens and mothers, and is not open to the public. Newborn kittens are extremely fragile, and need extra care and attention during the earliest stages of development. The facility therefore operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with volunteers working in two-hour shifts. Typical tasks include preparing food, cage cleaning, socializing, laundry, general cleaning, and bottle-feeding.

“Approximately 82 percent of the pets killed in Utah shelters are felines, and kittens are especially at-risk because of their susceptibility to illness and the resources required to raise them,” Executive Director Arlyn Bradshaw wrote in a press release. “For Best Friends Utah to reach our no-kill goal by next year, we must focus on saving more kittens and cats. Our kitten nursery is a proven way to do this, because we can provide round-the-clock care for these fragile lives and help them reach an adoptable weight and age.”

Best Friends is always accepting volunteer applications and hopes to attract hundreds of animal lovers to donate their time or consider adopting a new pet or becoming a foster home. One of their big Super Adoption events is happening May 4 from noon to 7 p.m., and May 5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington (151 S. 1100 West). They also accept various supply donations throughout the season. Common items such as toys, formula, bottles, and blankets are always appreciated. Other needed supplies include heating pads, scales, bottle warmers and nursing kits. To sign up to volunteer at the Sugar House center or for an upcoming event, visit https://utah.bestfriends.org/get-involved/volunteer or send an email to volunteers@bestfriends.org.

Bradshaw noted it’s also important for cat owners to do their part and reduce the number of kittens who may need nursery care by having their cats spayed or neutered. The animal welfare society regularly holds spay and neuter clinics as well. Seasonal efforts such as the kitten nursery, and their year-round multitude of resources brings them closer and closer to their ultimate goal of Saving Them All.