Hungry 10-day-old orphan kitten gets bottle feeding thanks to shelter’s Kitten Triage program

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By Karen Harrison Binette


A young, days-old feral kitten eagerly takes to the bottle as it gets its first meal after being rescued, in a video made to illustrate the success of the Kitten Triage program at Multnomah County Animal Services, in Troutdale, Oregon, just outside of Portland.

The kitten was lucky to be found, after its siblings died, and he or she can look forward to life as someone’s pampered pet thanks to the shelter’s special kitten program that has saved many lives since its inception a few years ago.

Shelter manager Ann Potter talks about the Kitten Triage program as she feeds the kitten in the video made for a story in The Oregonian.

The major media outlets from Portland all have stories on the Kitten Triage program this week, as it was announced that the shelter has received a Petco Foundation grant to cover part of its expenses and MCAS has set up an Indegogo campaign to help raise the rest of the funds needed to care for young kittens and save their lives.

The very hungry little kitten in the video was dropped off Tuesday afternoon, shortly before The Oregonian’s visit to the shelter.

Potter says that kittens get bottle feedings from volunters, then receive flea treatment and vaccinations, and adds that none of those resources would have been available just three years ago.  She drives home the point by acknowledging that three years ago the kitten wold probably have been euthanized.

MCAS started its Kitten Triage Project in 2013after concluding that the low survival rate for young kittens was unacceptable and could not continue.

A lot of kittens come through the shelter doors every year, and in 2012 they had only a 66% survival rate. By 2014 the survival rate for the young kittens had reached nearly 97%.

With more than 1,000 kittens turning up every kitten season,the Kitten Triage program needs about $60k a year to fund the lifesaving project. MCAS announced Tuesday that they’ve received a $15,000 grant from the Petco Foundation toward this year’s efforts, and they’ve set up a MCAS Kitten Triage Project 2015 Indegogo campaign to help raise the rest of the needed funds.


Watch the cute black kitten get a much appreciated feeding, as SMCAS shelter manager Ann Potter talks about this kitten and the Kitten Triage program, in this video from The Oregonian:


The MCAS Kitten Triage Project 2015 Indegogo Campaign appeal reads, in part:

Each year during “kitten season” (late Spring through early Autumn), over 1,200 kittens are brought to Multnomah County Animal Services. These kittens reflect the full range of adoptability: feral, social, sick, healthy, abandoned, litters with moms, litters without moms, unweaned and/or weaned.

This huge influx stresses the shelter’s capacity, limiting the shelter’s ability to adequately care for kittens and cats in their charge; very young, unweaned kittens without moms are especially difficult to care for.

In 2012, MCAS was able to save 857 of the 1,295 kittens received (a 66% save rate), while 438 were euthanized. This outcome was unacceptable to staff and clearly not consistent with the shelter’s commitment to end euthanasia; in response, staff worked to identify potential solutions that would save the lives of more kittens.

In 2013, MCAS piloted the “Kitten Triage Project” with the goal to save all kittens brought into MCAS. The project involved converting an underutilized, mobile hospital trailer into a kitten triage trailer.

All incoming kittens were immediately taken to the trailer, assessed and given emergent care and underweight and feral kittens were cared for until transferred. It was staffed seven days per week with dedicated, temporary staff members. Volunteers were used to transport kittens and serve as foster homes.

Whenever possible, all kittens brought to the shelter were:

— If weaned, placed in loving foster homes or with adoption placement partners within 24 hours -OR-

— If unweaned, placed in a loving foster home within 1 hour


As a result of the pilot project, MCAS’s 2013 kitten save rate climbed to 94% in 2013! In total, 1,184 kittens were saved in 2013.

We were able to obtain funding for the 2014 Kitten Triage Project and achieved similar success with a 96.6% kitten save rate in 2014.

What About 2015? …We Need Funding!

We have been unable to secure ongoing, permanent funding for the Kitten Triage Project thus far.

Thanks to a very generous $15,000 grant from Petco Foundation toward the $60,000 cost of the 2015 Kitten Triage Project, we are well on our way to being able to fund this project for the upcoming kitten season.


Those who wish to contribute to the Kitten Triage program can click either of the above links to the Indegogo campaign in this post to donate.

Rescue organziations and shelters everywhere are similarly in need of funds and volunteers during kitten season , and readers may wish to donate to groups in their own communities.

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1 thought on “Hungry 10-day-old orphan kitten gets bottle feeding thanks to shelter’s Kitten Triage program”

  1. Please remember Never to bottle-feed a kitten while it’s lying on its back where it can breathe in (aspirate) formula.

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