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It’s the purrfect time to foster kittens

Sumter County Animal Services will be throwing a “Purrfect Kitten Shower” event this upcoming month.

The shower — which includes a foster training session— comes ahead of kitten season. From April until October, many shelters receive an influx of kittens in need of care.

Sumter County Animal Services is looking for additional volunteers at this time to help.

“We’re hoping to register citizens as new fosters to help care for the kittens. We will teach you how to feed them, make sure they’re gaining the proper weight, and how to socialize them,” said Dr. Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, Sumter County Animal Services Veterinarian. “The goal is to get as many kittens as we can into foster homes where they can be cared for and eventually adopted.”

The shower will take place Wednesday, April 5, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Sumter County Service Center in Room 102.

The shelter, along with many other agencies, uses a system called Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) to help stem the feral cat population. Whenever the agency traps unowned outdoor cats, the cats then undergo vaccinations, spaying or neutering, before being returned outdoors. All of the cats captured and released have their ears tipped so members of the public can know they’ve been sterilized and vaccinated.

Animal services reminds anyone who encounters kittens to wait patiently to spot the mother before taking action. If time passes, and no mother has appeared, animal services suggests putting a ring of flour around the kittens and checking after a few hours to check for the mother’s paw prints. If no mother is present or the kittens display injury or illness, call animal services at 352-689-4400.

Anyone who chooses to become a volunteer via the kitten shower will have all supplies necessary to foster kittens provided for. This includes food, beds and kitty litter. For those interested in fostering that already have pets at home, Sumter County Animal Services asks that you bring in proof of rabies vaccinations of your pets before accepting the fostered animals.

Have you fostered or plan to? Would you be interested in sharing your story? We’d love to hear your story.