Caregivers and staff at the ASPCA Kitten Nursery celebrated an exciting milestone this week: 1,000 kittens have now come through the specialized care facility since its opening this past May.
“The commitment, dedication, and round-the-clock hard work that staff has given these fragile kittens is why we’re here today,” said Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Center.
Rather than draw attention to just one particular cat during the celebration, the team instead focused on the sheer quantity.
“It’s hard to imagine one thousand,” said Adi Hovav, a senior Feline Behavior Counselor.
“One thousand was not an easy number to get to,” added Lourdes Bravo, the Nursery’s Senior Manager.
Many kittens have already been adopted, and after last weekend’s “Clear the Shelters” adoption event, the Nursery was actually below capacity for the first time this year.
Animal Care & Control of NYC (ACC) delivers kittens to the nursery daily. Those with nursing mothers usually go into foster care, while orphans are hand-fed every two hours by the more than 50 caretakers and staff.
“It’s a huge accomplishment to be able to help an organization like the ACC,” said Nursery manager Eric Burgie, who added that knowing when the kittens are adopted is the staff’s ultimate reward.
Sometimes, those adopters are the caretakers themselves. Pamela Harris, a Nursery caregiver, wanted a playmate for her younger cat and chose Yvonne, a four-month-old tabby who survived several brushes with illness. “It’s hard to resist the cuteness,” Harris says.
Colleen Moore, another Nursery caregiver, fell in love with Mojave, a tiny white-and-orange kitten, and has already amassed a collection of photos of him on her iPhone.
Caregiver Teandra Henry pointed to a black-and-white kitten, also named Teandra. “We’ve been through the alphabet 15 times,” she said, explaining how each incoming litter is assigned a letter of the alphabet that’s designated as the first initial of each kitten’s name. Sometimes, “larger litters get assigned tougher letters, like X and Z,” she said, laughing. “It never fails.”
While we are thrilled by this milestone, we are already back at work, caring for more and more kittens every day. We look forward to celebrating as they move on from our Nursery to find loving homes.