Kittens need your help

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T. Russel Reitz Animal Shelter in Manhattan has seen a recent influx in kittens being brought to the shelter. Due to this unexpected overflow, the shelter is accepting any and all donations for supplies to help for their care. The donations are critical to caring for these kittens.

“We are run by the city, but the city pays for staff and for the building but otherwise everything is from donations,” Sarina Irwin, animal shelter technician, said. “So, if people don’t bring in donations, we may not have anything for the babies.”

The shelter needs several things, including bedding, toys, cat food and cleaning supplies. The bedding can include sheets, pillow cases or even carpet squares.

“Food helps the kittens get weened off of Mom, the toys help enrich the kittens and let them play in their kennels and the beds give them a place to crash after all that playing and eating they just did,” Irwin said.

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Although there are a couple dozen kittens at the T. Russel Reitz Animal Shelter, only two are currently available for adoption, the other won't be ready to leave the shelter for another couple of days. (Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

Although there are a couple dozen kittens at the T. Russel Reitz Animal Shelter, only two are currently available for adoption, the other won’t be ready to leave the shelter for another couple of days.

This kitten overflow is not only an issue because of the shortage of supplies, it also means many more kittens need to be adopted from the shelter.

Volunteers like Sarah Falcon, junior in digital journalism, enjoy working with the kittens but said they see the need for adoption.

“For one, (so many kittens) makes you feel really overwhelmed,” Falcon said. “On the other side, it’s just an overflow of cute.”

This kind of influx of kittens is unusual for the shelter at this time of year. According to Irwin, normal months for getting a lot of kittens are typically March, April and May.

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A cold and wet spring caused a late mating and birthing season, meaning that the T. Russel Reitz Animal Shelter has an unusual number of kittens for this time of year.

“It was such a cold and wet spring and even summer, and now we are now having such a late (birthing) season,” Irwin said. “We would normally be getting into our non-busy season, but not with all these babies.”

An additional contributor to the extra kittens has to do with cats not being properly spayed and neutered. This leads to accidental litters and abandoned kittens. Fixing problems like these could help avoid these problems in the future.

“We wish people would spay and neuter their cats, then we wouldn’t be having this problem,” Irwin said. “That’s what we would really like to see.”

However, the shelter is caring for all of these drop offs with the end goal being adoption. According to the T. Russel Reitz portion of the City of Manhattan website, the shelter is open all days of the week except Wednesday from 1-5:30 p.m.

“I’m just really determined to get them adopted,” Falcon said.

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My name is Emily Moore and I'm a senior majoring in English and mass communications with a minor in leadership. I love to read, write and edit. During my free time, I enjoy doing crossword puzzles, rock climbing and spending time with my friends.