With warmer weather around the corner, you might notice newborn kittens roaming the streets. Springtime, or “the kitten season,” brings out millions and millions of kittens searching for food, water, and a comfortable bed.
Rescues and shelters around the world become overrun with unwanted kittens that oftentimes end up getting put down because there aren’t enough fosters, volunteers, and regular people to adopt them.
Regular people, a.k.a. kitten enthusiasts, tend to make matters even worse by bringing the kittens to rescues and shelters without making sure that the mother’s gone.
Kittens are the most vulnerable when they’re away from their mother – rescues and shelters never remove kittens from their environment because they’re aware they’d be doing them a disservice. Without their mother, kittens need to be bottle-fed every few hours, groomed, and taken care of.
When they’re under eight weeks of age, most kittens don’t even survive being apart from their mother because they’re unable to grow bigger and stronger without their mother’s milk.
Kittens that are over the age of eight weeks have a fighting chance, but they’re oftentimes put down when they’re healthy, too.
Because there’s not enough space for them to stay at a shelter or a rescue, there aren’t enough volunteers and fosters to take them home, and there aren’t enough people applying to adopt them, rescues and shelters don’t have a different solution.
When you rescue a litter of kittens off the street and take them to a rescue or a shelter, you aren’t guaranteed that the kittens are going to survive – that’s something you need to wrap your head around. What are you supposed to do, then?
When you encounter a litter of kittens, observe them for a little while to check whether the mother’s around. In case the mother comes back, don’t touch them – check on them now and again, but allow them to grow bigger and stronger, wean off, and reach that eight-week mark.
When you do that, you can proceed to contact a trap-neuter-return (TNR) who’s going to take care of them and return them to the same spot afterward. On the other hand, when you’re 100% sure that the mother’s gone, contact a rescue or a shelter.
More often than not, rescues and shelters can get the kittens to a foster, nurture them to health, and get them adopted. Meet “The Fish Litter,” a litter of kittens that were rescued and sent to a foster by the name of Emilie Rackovan.
Emilie, a neonatal kitten specialist fostering for Urban Cat Coalition, took to Instagram to share the news about the cutest kittens she’d been asked to foster. She started by saying that the kittens went through a myriad of traumatic experiences but were more than happy and excited to be a part of her foster family.
She named them after fish – but Tuna, Marlin, Ahi, and Guppy didn’t seem to mind her sense of humor whatsoever.
Ahi was a gorgeous orange-and-white baby boy who didn’t weigh more than 200 grams at the time. He was the second smallest out of the bunch, but he was the sweetest, too. He purred every time anyone approached him.
Marlin was the biggest one, but he seemed to have gotten the short end of the stick. He weighed more than 250 grams, but he was weak, beaten down, and depressed. He was fortunate enough to pull through, but that wasn’t anything short of a miracle considering how unwell he was.
Tuna was the fluffiest and the second biggest one. He weighed more than 250 grams as well, and he was pretty healthy considering the circumstances. He struggled with figuring out the entire bottle-feeding thing, but he got better and better with time.
Guppy was a pretty little thing, but she was the smallest of the group – and she was a girl, too. She weighed a little over 170 grams, but she was a fighter. She bounced back within the first few days of hanging out with Emilie.
Emilie was more than excited to care for her little fish litter. “Welcome, babies, I can’t wait to watch you grow,” she wrote on her Instagram. Now that the kittens were taken care of, Emilie was more than happy to share little bits and bobs about their recovery.
Within the following 48 hours, Marlin underwent a transformation. With hard work and supportive care, he bounced back and started looking (and feeling) a lot better.
Tuna, Ahi, and Guppy were getting bigger and stronger by the day.
The entire litter was showing amazing progress – they were feeding without a problem, getting used to the rest of the foster family, and even learning to use the litterbox. They were getting fluffier and fluffier by the minute. They were showing off how affectionate and appreciative they are.
Emilie was more than happy with each and every one of them and she was aware that the fish kittens were ready to move on.
She nursed them back to health, taught them everything they needed to know, and prepared them to get adopted. She spayed and neutered them and announced that she was accepting adoption applications.
Lo and behold, the four kittens didn’t need to wait to get people’s attention. Tuna, Marlin, Ahi, and Guppy went to loving families who wanted nothing more than to spoil them rotten.