Duval County

Jacksonville Humane Society needs fosters after hundreds of underage kittens entered the shelter

(Jacksonville Humane Society)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Humane Society is urgently seeking the community’s help in saving the lives of underage kittens.


JHS has received 746 underage kittens so far in 2024, and 401 of those entered the shelter in May alone. There are currently nearly 100 kittens awaiting foster care at JHS.

Underage, orphaned kittens are too fragile to stay in the shelter and have the best chance of surviving and thriving with a volunteer foster family. These volunteers take kittens into their homes, keep them warm, provide love and socialization and help them learn and grow.

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Some kittens need to be fed by bottle every 2-3 hours, others are eating on their own. Some litters of kittens have a mother cat who nurses her kittens while the foster parent provides care for the mother. JHS provides all the veterinary care and supplies needed for foster pets.

Foster kittens should be housed separately from other pets and can easily be cared for in a bathroom, laundry room, spare room or walk-in closet.

The amount of time a kitten stays in foster care depends on the age of the kittens, but the goal is to help kittens reach 8 weeks of age and weigh at least 2 pounds. At this stage, kittens can be spayed/neutered and made available for adoption. Foster volunteers are encouraged to help find homes for the kittens in their care, but this is not required.

JHS encourages people interested in adopting a kitten to consider fostering as well. Foster volunteers receive special perks, including their “pick of the litter” to adopt a kitten in their foster care once they are of age and a waived adoption fee for their first kitten adoption.

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JHS also has an option called “Foster First Responders” where a volunteer provides care overnight in their home and returns the kittens the next day. Foster First Responders assist kittens who cannot eat on their own or require urgent care.

“Foster volunteers are an incredible lifesaving force,” said Denise Deisler, JHS CEO. “Last year, nearly 2,500 kittens received lifesaving care in foster homes. Volunteer foster families are vital to helping the most vulnerable animals in our community, and Jacksonville’s kittens need foster families now more than ever. We encourage anyone who has room in their heart and home to become a foster volunteer and help pets in need.”

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Community members are also asked to remember “Don’t Kitnap” recommendations when they find kittens - stop, watch and wait for the mother cat to return. A kitten’s best chance at survival is to stay with their mother cat. She is likely nearby and waiting for you to leave. Don’t Kitnap information can be found on the JHS website HERE.

Community members who are not able to foster but still want to help kittens in need are encouraged to donate kitten care items to JHS. Most needed items can be viewed and ordered directly from the organization’s Amazon wishlist and shipped to the shelter.

For information on becoming a foster volunteer, donating, or adopting, visit jaxhumane.org or call 904-725-8766.

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