Doctor's Corner | July 2012
06:19 PM, Wednesday, July 18
Welcome to the Dr.'s Corner. I am Dr. Jason Sweitzer and I am a veterinarian at Mission Animal and Bird Hospital in Oceanside with a specific interest in Emergency Medicine, Behavior, and Exotic Animals. This column is your chance to ask a vet your questions. I’ll pick topics that are the most timely and useful to pet owners but will try to respond to all e-mails. Please submit your questions to

Q: I noticed there seem to be a lot of kittens in the shelter. Is there anyway I can help?

A: That is a great question and very close to my heart. I have personally bottle fed and fostered 9 litters of orphaned kittens in the past 7 years, adopting my last set out last month.

There are many things that you can do to help. Shelters and rescue groups need supplies to help take care of the kittens. They need towels, carriers, cleaning supplies, kitten food, kitten milk, kitten bottles, and many other items. Call your local shelter and rescue group to find out if there are any items you can donate to help them.

Volunteer. Not everyone is able to wake up every 2 hours during the night to bottle feed a litter of neonates. If you do, you may not be able to keep your sanity or your job. While many of the groups can use fosters, they all can use volunteers to help. Kittens and cats take time to bottle feed, medicate, clean, and especially socialize and play with. A rescue or shelter can be a life saving place for an orphaned kitten or stray cat. The problem is that there are hundreds to thousands of kittens and cats in need of adoption just in San Diego County, at any given time. Any time you spend with them will improve their quality of life and make them more adoptable to find a better home. Cats can get very nervous and scared in a shelter and you can help.

Adopt and spay or neuter your cats. There are still pet stores where you can buy kittens and people still make money off of breeding their cats. Every cat you buy at a store means one cat gets euthanized at a shelter. There are just not enough homes. Spaying and neutering your cat makes a huge difference. It reduces many behavioral problems cats have and controls the pet population. Unlike dogs that stay in their yard, a cat will hop over a fence and breed unless you prevent it.

Lastly, if you find a litter of kittens all together, the mother cat is likely close by. She won’t return while you are there. If they are healthy and active, let them be. You can call your animal control agency and ask for advice before you take them. Always feel free to call your family veterinarian for further advice or email me with your questions.

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