Kittens separated from their mothers before weaning have a very low survival rate unless a surrogate steps in. When an animal shelter in Arizona needed extra help taking care of newborn kittens. With this in mind, rescuers at the Pima Animal Care Center in Arizona have partnered with the nearby Catalina Springs Memory Care facility to ensure that their most vulnerable kittens are cared for 24 hours.
They made an unexpected decision and turned to a senior care facility for help. “To some, this may seem odd at first: Residents in need of round-the-clock care, tasked with looking after these kittens,” said Sharon Mercer, Catalina Springs Memory CEO. Care said. “But there are skills, emotions, and needs that don’t just leave someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The desire to give love and receive love is still there.”
The show’s first adorable kitties, Peaches and Turtle, arrived at PACC in mid-October weighing just 7 ounces each. They need round-the-clock feeding as well as a lot of affection and sociability to grow and develop.
Peaches and Turtle got that from the moment they arrived at the memory facility. Catalina Springs Medical Services Director, Rebecca Hamilton, is a veteran cat mom. She proposes the idea of merging memory care patients with kittens as a way of benefiting the participants.
The kittens clearly get the love and nurturing they need. Most of them have acted as parents, grandparents, or pet owners their entire lives, so taking care of the kittens is natural. Catalina Springs CEO, the simple joy of caring for another living being is something not even dementia and Alzheimer’s can take away from a person. “The desire to give love and receive love remains. The kittens gave us the opportunity to nurture the human condition that lies within each of our residents.”
Both the PACC and the Catalina Springs Memory Care Board of Directors are excited about the potential of the new program, but no one can predict how successful it will be. Peaches and Turtles have almost doubled in weight and thanks to frequent cuddling by their caregivers, they have become more sociable and open!
They will soon be ready to return to Pima Animal Care to be spayed and adopted. For one of the kittens, the adoption problem was solved. A nurse at Catalina Springs fell in love during the couple’s time at the facility and filed for adoption.
Karen Hollish, spokeswoman for Catalina Springs Memory Care, expressed her desire to see the program continue. She feels that it is incredibly beneficial for the patients, important for the kittens, and rewarding for the staff. “This partnership is a great way to enrich the lives of memory center residents while saving the lives of the most vulnerable pets in our community.”
There was a time when the PACC simply didn’t have the resources or manpower to accommodate all bottle-fed babies in need of care. Thanks to programs like these, more kittens will now have the opportunity to grow up and become lovable family pets.