One step into the Neonatal Kitten Nursery at Austin Pets Alive! and you’ll know you arrived in the right place. Immediately, the sweet sound of newborn kittens meowing fills your ears as you watch dedicated staff and volunteers feeding, treating, and providing shelter to these vulnerable babies.
Before APA! created its neonatal program, nearly all of these kittens were killed because neither the local shelters nor rescue groups could provide the intensive care that these special little ones need to survive. Perfectly healthy lives were being cut short before they even had a chance to live – something needed to change. It was time to give neonatal kittens a new narrative and to stop accepting the idea that these little ones aren’t worth saving. Austin Pets Alive! decided to do what no shelter had done before: figure out a way to give these orphaned kittens the care they needed to grow up healthy, strong, and loved.
The nursery, which is fondly referred to as the Bottle Baby Program, has come a long way since its creation in 2009. A mere ten years ago, this first of its kind program was operating out of a trailer. Since then, we have saved over 15,880 kittens! The nursery is now located at our Tarrytown facility and is kept as a sterile environment open only to staff and volunteers.
The work doesn’t stop here, though! With the right tools and knowledge, we believe that shelters all across the country can also save these vulnerable lives. That’s where Maddie’s Lifesaving Academy’s Bottle Baby Nursery Apprenticeship Program comes into play! People from all across the country travel to APA! to learn how to save the vulnerable kittens in their community. In turn, we provide them with the necessary skills to get their own bottle baby program up and running. Interested in taking part in this life changing program? Learn more, and enroll, here!
You may find yourself in a situation one day where you come across young kittens without their mamas. If this happens, we also want to equip you with the necessary skills to protect these babies. If the kittens are alone, it doesn’t always mean that they’ve been abandoned. Their mother could be out looking for food or finding a more suitable home. Observe for one to two hours, and if there’s still no sign of the mama, follow these steps on how to handle the kittens.
From March to October, shelters are overwhelmed with orphaned kittens; and while our amazingly compassionate and talented team of nursery staff and volunteers are why we are able to save these innocent lives, we truly rely on fosters to give these babies a warm place to rest so that we can bring even more neonates into our care. Fosters will go through training on how to care for the kittens until they’re ready for adoption. If this rewarding experience piques your interest, learn more about becoming a neonatal foster here! It truly takes a village to help these kittens grow into the cats they’re meant to be, and every single life counts – no matter how young.