PEI Humane Society in need of foster homes for neonatal kittens
The shelter currently has one foster home for neonatal kittens
The PEI Humane Society is looking for more volunteers to take part in their neonatal kitten foster-care program.
The program is currently run by Chayleigh Arsenault, who's been fostering neonatal kittens in her home since she graduated high school three years ago, and is the only member of the program.
A neonatal kitten is considered any kitten younger than four weeks old who can't feed themselves.
"It's pretty much the same as a newborn human baby," Arsenault said. "They have to be fed throughout the night, every three to four hour feedings."
Almost 40 neonatal kittens this year so far
Jennifer Harkness, development manager at the PEI Humane Society, said the shelter has seen an increase in neonatal kittens this year.
So far, they've received almost 40 neonatal kittens, compared to nine last year. While some of those kittens can be looked after by nursing cats at the shelter, the rest falls onto Arsenault.
"Most of our staff do foster but they also don't do the neonatal care because it is so much time and not everybody has the capacity to do that," Harkness said.
Harkness said she also wants people to be careful before handing a neonatal kitten into the shelter, and to make sure the mother is no longer in the picture before intervening.
"Just do your due diligence and look for the mom. Wait for a little bit to see if she comes back."
'The most rewarding thing I've ever done'
Arsenault acknowledges that it's not a job for everyone with having to provide around-the-clock care. The kittens are prone to sickness and are often too young to use the bathroom by themselves.
"You actually have to stimulate them and help them go to the bathroom, so it's a lot of work involved but it's very very rewarding."
But Arsenault said she's worked out a routine, and loves helping the kittens grow into healthy cats.
"It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done and it makes it really special, and you create a really special bond with those animals."