BARC looking for kitten carers

September 24, 2021 BY

Companion: Once foster care is completed, program coordinator Kayla Harris helps kittens like Tiberius find their fur-ever home. Photo: JULIE HOUGH

IF your home could use a few extra furry little friends for a few weeks, consider applying to become a kitten foster carer with Bendigo Animal Relief Centre.

BARC is looking to find as many foster carers as they can ahead of kitten season, which is expected to peak from spring until autumn.

Cat foster care coordinator and senior animal attendant of cattery, Kayla Harris, said the number of kittens needing care each season is hard to predict and being well prepared can make all the difference.

“BARC has been in operation for just over two years now so we’ve gone through two kitten seasons and each time we thought we were going to be able to predict it, but you just can’t,” she said.

“I’ve put the calls out for kitten foster carers because my theory is the more carers we’ve got available to help us, the more kittens we can provide help to.

“If we can have an army of foster carers, that would make me super happy,” she said. “They are so important and so crucial.”

BARC’s program includes the care of either a mother cat and her litter, or weaned kittens in litters of about four to eight.

“Our foster carers are super important because they keep the mums and kittens out of the shelter environment,” Ms Harris said.

She said kittens are adopted out at about 10 weeks of age, and it’s important they spend those first weeks of life outside the shelter and instead socialising with foster carers and other cats in a home.

“Ten or 11 weeks spent in a foster home is obviously the best, versus 10 or 11 weeks sitting in a shelter,” she said.

“That is where the foster carers are so important to help facilitate the kittens growing up in healthy and nurturing environments and then coming back and being able to get adopted within a week or so.”

Ms Harris said program participants aren’t responsible for neonatal kittens that require specialist care like syringe feeding at regular intervals.

“Ninety-five per cent of our foster carers either do mums and bubs, in which case mum is taking care of all the feeding, or the kittens are weaned,” she said.

“A lot of people might be put off by the idea of thinking they’re going to have to do hourly feeds or anything like that and that is certainly not the case.

“Our foster care program is for anyone who has got the ability to love, care and feed. That’s what we’re looking for, we’re just looking for loving homes.”

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