A sad truth about free-ranging cats is that they’re often killed, leaving kittens behind. The younger the kitten, the slimmer its chances for survival without a surrogate. With that in mind, Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, Arizona, has come up with a unique solution to that very problem. They’re working on saving orphaned kittens by putting them with seniors living at Catalina Springs Memory Care.
How is saving orphaned kittens beneficial to seniors?
According to Karen Hollish, a spokesperson for the memory care center, says the program has already been extremely beneficial:
“This partnership is an amazing way to enrich the lives of the memory care center’s residents while saving the lives of our community’s most vulnerable pets.”
The two kittens who are part of the test program are called Peaches and Turtle. In mid-October, when they first arrived, they were only two weeks old and needed bottle feedings around the clock. They also needed lots of love and attention. Saving orphaned kittens is very, very difficult without fosters because they need very close attention to make it.
The residents of the memory care center have Alzheimer’s and dementia. They need the benefits and feelings that come from caring for another living being. Sharon Mercer, executive director of the memory center, says that there are skills and emotions that even people with these two devastating conditions never forget:
“The desire to give love and receive love remains. The kittens have given us the opportunity to nurture this human condition that lies in each and every one of our residents.”
Catalina has someone on staff who’s an expert at saving orphaned kittens
Peaches and Turtle only weighed in at seven ounces when they first arrived at PACC. The memory center’s health service director is a veteran kitten foster, and the staff ensured the kittens never missed a feeding. Under the residents’ care, they didn’t just survive, they thrived. They became very social and outgoing, and they doubled their weight. And the residents got to feel loved and needed again.
Peaches and Turtle will soon head back to PACC to be spayed and adopted out. Catalina Springs Memory Care is very optimistic about saving orphaned kittens this way because it helps the kittens and their residents. They hope to continue this program.