10,000 of Los Angeles’s Most Vulnerable Animals Helped Through Support from Fosters

June is an extra special month for cats and kittens as it is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and in honor of this month, we announced a significant achievement by caring for our 10,000th kitten through the ASPCA Kitten Foster Program in Los Angeles. The program recruits, trains and supports volunteer foster caregivers of kittens under eight weeks old who are too young to be cared for in Los Angeles County Animal Care Centers.

The 10,000th kitten, Delta, entered our foster program when she was only five days old after being found alone near a major freeway in Los Angeles. At that age, Delta’s eyes and ears were still closed and her foster caregiver bottle-fed her every two to three hours. Delta, now six weeks old, is healthy, strong, loves to be cuddled and held and will soon be available for adoption from the ASPCA in Los Angeles. Delta’s milestone moment comes just five years after we celebrated the 1,000th pee wee kitten in 2018. That first milestone kitten, Caramel, is now thriving at home with a loving family. 

This milestone comes during the height of breeding season for felines, also known as kitten season, a time of year when shelters nationwide are overwhelmed with newborn cats. Shelters in climates like Los Angeles experience a steady stream of kittens year-round, but they also tend to see a marked increase in kittens entering shelters during the spring and summer months. Kittens under eight weeks often require round-the-clock attention, a resource that many shelters don’t have, so foster programs that support frequent bottle-feeding, medical check-ups, and socialization are crucial to help these young kittens grow and find loving homes.

“Each of the 10,000 foster kittens cared for by the ASPCA Foster Program in Los Angeles represents a key step toward a safer and kinder community for animals overall,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “We’re proud to partner with the County on this lifesaving program, and we thank our partners, foster caregivers and communities for their compassion and dedication to these vulnerable cats and kittens.”

In partnership with Los Angeles County Animal Care Centers, we have identified cats as the most at-risk animal population in Los Angeles, and in 2017, launched the ASPCA Los Angeles Kitten Foster Program at Baldwin Park Animal Care Center, which sees the highest number of kittens in the county with an average of more than 400 four-to eight-week-old kittens entering the shelter each year. Since the program’s start, the number of kittens ages four to eight weeks old who left Baldwin Park Animal Care Center alive has increased by 60 percent and the euthanasia rate has decreased by 57 percent. We have since expanded our foster program to include kittens who enter Downey Animal Care Center, and in the future hope to make a larger impact for kittens at all county animal care centers, including Carson/Gardena, Lancaster and Palmdale.

“We are truly grateful to the ASPCA for their partnership in saving these most vulnerable animals,” said Marcia Mayeda, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care & Control. “This important milestone speaks to the value of public-private partnership in resolving the difficult challenges we face in saving animals’ lives. The ASPCA is to be commended for their commitment, dedication, and generosity in their efforts to save underage kittens.”

“A remarkable group of animal lovers in Los Angeles have made a big impact on the lives of shelter kittens,” adds Tina Reddington Fried, Senior Director of L.A. Feline Programs. “Through the dedication of our foster volunteers as temporary caregivers, safe and nurturing havens have been provided, allowing the youngest kittens to thrive when they are most vulnerable. Our foster volunteers’ inspiring efforts have not only granted these kittens a second chance, but they have also helped alleviate the kitten season strain on shelter resources and staff, enabling shelters to extend crucial support to numerous other animals in need.”

The ASPCA Los Angeles Kitten Foster Program has an ongoing need for foster caregivers who are willing to provide frequent bottle-feedings to the youngest kittens. To learn more about how to foster kittens in Los Angeles and to complete an online application, please visit ASPCA.org/FosterLA. We also encourage residents to learn what to do if they find stray kittens outside by visiting our online tool. Oftentimes, the best way to help kittens found outside is to leave them where they are so their mom can take care of them rather than bring them to a shelter unless the kittens appear sick or injured. 

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