Kittens ditched at Island Safe Harbor

The yard's overrun; spay and neuter programs needed

A kitten was found dead Tuesday at the Island Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary alongside two other living kittens.

The animals were left in a box at the sanctuary's doorstep.

"This is because we have irresponsible pet owners and the 'farmer with barn cats' mentality," sanctuary CEO Nancy Benevento said. "People come up here for the summer months, feed the kittens and cats and then complain because they are in their yard hanging around."

Benevento has recently said public perception with animals needs to change.

She often sees owners return the pets they adopted.

But the area has a bigger stray cat problem. She said that's a result of human error.

"This area needs a mobile unit (for a) trap, spray, neuter release program for these poor cats," Benevento. "The ones who suffer are the hundreds of kittens they produce. They are left to starve. Nature is nature but humans caused the problem. I even had a cat dumped here, declawed."

Declawed cats are unable to survive in the wild, she said.

Other release programs were successful in the past but people began complaining about snake and rodent populations.

"Hello?" she said. "What do you think the cats were eating?"

The two kittens are in addition to an already overcrowded Island Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary.

The shelter, above all else, need someone who can bottle-feed two kittens that are about three weeks old, Benevento said.

Benevento said she is unsure if the act of dropping off kittens is animal cruelty, but rather she believes the act is an indication of a lack of education about animals.

"If you find one or two kittens by themselves, you have interrupted the mother cat while she was moving them," she said. "She can only carry one at a time."

Tuesday was the fourth time the sanctuary has received kittens unannounced.

"We as a community may need to step in and help (the cat population) a bit," Benevento said.

Indoor cats can live up to 20 years, while outdoor cats are lucky to make it to three, she said.