Humane Society for Boone Co. struggles to keep up with spring kitten litters


By Chris Bavender

Ah, spring. The days are longer. The weather warmer, the world just a little bit brighter. And the litters of kittens coming into the Humane Society for Boone County is difficult to manage.



“It’s hard to estimate how many litters we will have. Last year I believe we took in six,” said Michelle Atkinson, director of fosters for HSBC. “They vary in ages … and will need to be bottle fed. Typically, if there is a mother, she is out hunting and neighbors move the kittens before she gets back. If the mother is feral, it is very difficult to catch her before she moves the kittens.”

The HBSC will try to help as many kittens as it can.

“The reality is if we get a litter that is a few days old, some of them won’t survive,” Atkinson said. “They are very fragile and need their mother. We can only do so much.”

An excess of kittens means a strain on the Humane Society – which does not have a physical shelter. That means bottle feeding fosters are needed and those, Atkinson said, are few and far between.

“A litter of kittens requires around the clock care with feedings every two hours in the beginning. You also need to help them eliminate, as their mother would,” Atkinson said.

More fosters are available this year, however, through the Cuffs and Collars program at the Boone County jail – which utilizes inmates to help care for felines.

“They will be able to not only provide space, but also around the clock care,” she said. “The kittens are very fragile, so we will be sure to set them up with success, starting with a less fragile litter and then eventually giving them the tiny ones.”

As in previous years, the HBSC will try to get the message out to the community to spay and neuter their cats.

“Most of the time, these litters come from cats who are running the neighborhoods,” Atkinson said. “We offer transportation to the low cost spay and neuter clinic. We also can discuss a trap and release program.”

Anyone interested in being a volunteer foster may contact Atkinson at

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