Erie County’s Humane Society has two messages it wants to get out, said Barbara Hargreaves, the agency’s executive director:
One: Please don’t dump cats.
Two: If you see kittens in the wild and they seem OK, please don’t bring them in.
Sandusky officer James Ommert brought in the kittens Wednesday, and the shelter agreed to take them, as it almost always does when the police ask for help.
The 2-week-old kittens have to be fed every two hours. It’s hard to keep them warm, so Amy Wieber, the shelter manager, and Kristi Lovekin, the shelter intern from Bowling Green State University, have been carrying them around in their pockets.
Like most animal shelters, the Erie County agency does not have room for every homeless animal in the area. Shelter workers get frustrated when people dump cats on the doorstep after hours, in an apparent move to try to avoid the shelter’s waiting list, Hargreaves said.
“The people who want to bypass the waiting list, they find a way to get to us,” Hargreaves said. “Usually it involves dumping.”
When that happens, people on the waiting list have to wait even longer. As of Thursday, the waiting list had 105 names. Many are waiting to find room for more than one cat. The current wait is about three months.
“I’m calling people who called us in July,” Wieber said.
The 50-capacity shelter has 45 cats but is waiting for several more to be brought in.
Many people wrongly assume they should always take kittens to the shelter when they discover a group of them.
That’s just not the case. If the kittens have clear eyes and appear to be healthy, leave them alone. The mother cat is taking care of them and can likely do a better job than the shelter.
If the kittens have been crying for days, however, and appear to be in distress, call the shelter. Something may have happened to the mother cat.
If the shelter has a nursing cat, the cat will often can take on additional kittens, Hargreaves said. There are also foster homes that sometimes take kittens, although trying to keep them alive can be a grueling and thankless task.
The shelter lost a good group of foster parents when a batch of kittens died, one by one, despite the best efforts of the hosts. The foster parents told the shelter they could no longer deal with trying to save kittens.