Pet-supply store goes paws-on to help rescues during kitten season

The ASPCA reported in 2019 that the bulk of shelter cat and kitten intake takes place in the warmer months that rescuers and shelters call kitten season. The article said that Los Angeles experienced 90% of their feline surrenders take place during this time, and with a reported estimate of 34,000, that was a little more than 30,000 cats.

This year, because of pandemic restrictions, many shelters have called on rescues and the public at large to double their efforts in kitten rescue. With numbers as they still are and with the breeding proclivities of unaltered cats, though, shelters and rescuers need some rescue themselves.

With Pet Food Express’s help, these two tiny, delicate babies will grow to be healthy, beautiful and spoiled-rotten housecats. Photo courtesy of Pet Food Express

 

Pet Food Express, aka PFE, has come to the—yes, rescue. PFE is a privately owned company of California pet-supply stores that prides itself on the high-quality food and accessories it carries. The stores also have wash stations for pets and Cat Adoption Centers in selected locations. The company’s community-engagement efforts aim to assist and advise clients about food and supplies for their housemates and help rescues and shelters care for and adopt out their pets. New adopters receive the Pet Food Express 20/20 coupon, which gives them a 20% discount on their first purchase of goodies at any of the stores. The other 20 is a cash donation given to whatever rescue or shelter adopted out the pet.

This kitten season, Pet Food Express has taken some extra leaps in the form of its Kitten Season Campaign, comprising three other little words: Adopt, Foster, Donate. The company’s kitten season page provides a definitive and dedicated guide to kitten season. It lays out the reason for the season, includes resources and instructions for what to do if you come across a litter and after you make sure that Mom hasn’t abandoned them, and offers their detailed focus for how we, the concerned public can help out.

“The annual spike in kitten births is a reality for our communities, where we know we can help make a difference,” said Michael Levy, Pet Food Express’s president and CEO. “We’re supporting more local shelters than ever before with adoption, foster, and donation aid and using our marketing channels to get the Adopt, Foster, Donate word out.”

The donation component is the simplest. You click a few links, pick an amount, fill out the forms (for some reason, you have to click a delivery option, but the donation receipt shows the kitten season designation), and presto, hiss-to, you’ve sent newborn formula, food, litter and toys to a shelter or rescue sponsored by Pet Food Express. You can also make donations at the individual stores. In 2019, the company collected and gifted over $273,000 in financial and product donations to local rescues and shelters and has set a $300,000 goal for 2021.

A good deal of the strain placed on rescues and TNR (trap/neuter and spay/return) efforts is the shortage of volunteers willing to make space in their homes and schedules to care for kittens. Fostering, the second stripe of the kitty campaign, matches you up with a temporary houseguest from a shelter or a rescue near you.

The younger that a cat gets attention and cuddling from humans, the sooner they’ll have the cat skills of making up to people to get them to furfil their felinious wishes. Pet Food Express’s Rescue Reserves consists of a matchup between a person and a cat in need.

After completing a form, accessible here, you’ll be lined up with a rescue and, if approved, will be able to care for newborn and weaned kittens or an adult cat. For anyone who for some peculiar reason doesn’t want cats sleeping on their clean laundry can apply to foster dogs, puppies and bunnies. For those who decide to brave it and subsequently succumb to the charms of an adorable animal, there’s the third part: adoption.

If you want to take an animal home forever, Pet Food Express has a link to a map of rescues located from Placer County to Long Beach, all of which the company partners with for assistance. Among the 84 beneficiaries of the Kitten Season Campaign and other efforts are Long Beach’s Zazzy Cats and The Little Lion Foundation, which also runs the Little Paws Foundation kitten nursery. They receive supplies, food and Pet Food Express gift cards to help them cover costs of care. Before the pandemic restrictions, both rescues held adoption events at the Long Beach store and hope to do so again when the restrictions have been lifted.

Both rescues also serve as resources for people desperate for them, no matter what the season.

“We make ourselves as available as possible,” said Roni Naccarato, Zazzy Cats’s founder. “Most the time, people find kitties and ask for help. Some are willing to foster. For others, we arrange fosters. PFE gives us a discount to help with our expenses, they do donation drives to help the rescues with supplies and funds so we can help more animals. The 20/20 program has helped us rescues a lot over the years.”

Virtually Pets

Speaking of adoption, some folks looking for felines prefer to opt for a calmer—in most cases, anyway—adult cat. Adults often get looked over for cute kittens, and they make as good a housemate as a kitten does. Besides, cats are kittens’ future states, so why not give a sweet adult kitty a home that was denied them and at the same time free space in shelters and rescues for the kittens—and more adult cats?

The Cat Adoption Centers at selected Pet Food Express stores cater to cats of all ages and the people who love them all year round. The Long Beach store, located at 4220 Long Beach Blvd., has one! Most of the cats housed there came from our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services. Julie Somers, the adoption manger of the center there, has a few to show off.

Chico

Ham

medium-fur cat with white chest and paws and muzzle and silver-tabby body looks seriously at camera.

Oh, Romeo, wherefore art thou? Literal interpretation, he’s either in his kennel at PFE or else surveying the Adoption Center from atop the cat tree. Shakespearean scholars know that the quote means “Why are you Romeo Montague, of the house that my parents detest?” In the sense of this cat, it likely means, “Romeo, why are you here in an adoption center when you’re so gorgeous and friendly and have the potential to be the light of someone’s life?” Maybe the answer is you?

 

brown tabby sits tall against a beige backdrop

Jasper is 2 years old. He’s shy upon meeting people the first time, but he gets his cuddly on as soon as he’s comfy. He loves other cats, he loves to play, he loves to eat, and he loves children. Bet he’ll love you, and vice versa!

 

kitten with white legs and body and calico head, back and tail lolls on a white bedspread

Not that kittens won’t be available soon. This is Roberta, one of a litter of five who, with their mom, is in a foster arranged by Long Beach Animal Care Services. She and her siblings are just a couple of months old. As you can see, Roberta and her siblings are living the life. They’ll expect the same from their fur-ever home.

 

Help wanted, help given

Feline Good Social Club needs willing subjects for its bewhiskered nobility

Feline Good Social Club has opened and is running and knocking things off shelves. The cat curators would love some volunteers for their furry residents. Want to be part of a kowtowing staff to cats because everyone knows that cats expect it? Email [email protected].

Fix Long Beach low-cost pet-services clinics: Wednesday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, services available by appointment at www.fixlongbeachpets.com.

Fix Long Beach has reopened and is taking appointments for low-cost spay/neuter, dental, vaccines and other vet needs for cats and dogs. Visit their webpage or Facebook page for details.

DIY Kitten Care Kits available free at Long Beach Animal Care Services

Kitten season has begun, and soon, shelters and rescues will be scrambling to save their lives, get them fixed, get them adopted. It isn’t unusual to find nests of young, seemingly abandoned kittens during kitten season. It is a natural reaction to want to help, to save them. If you are interested in obtaining a Kitten Care Kit made possible by Helen Sanders CatPAWS, please email [email protected].

Spay/neuter vouchers available at shelter

Long Beach Animal Care Services has spay/neuter vouchers available. They’ll take a healthy nip out of the cost of a procedure. Residents of any of the five cities served by the shelter can telephone the general number at 562-570–7387 to request a voucher.

 Spay/neuter appointments available at SNP/LA

The Spay/Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP/LA) is back in business for free and low-cost spay/neuter services, and they’re extending the hours of their vaccination clinics. The San Pedro clinic, located at 957 N. Gaffey St., will give shots every third Thursday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Call 310-574–5555 to see if you qualify for services.

If you can see the bottom of the kibble bag

Pets of the Homeless’s home page gives a self-description as the only organization focusing only on providing food and care for pets belonging to homeless people. Businesses and other organizations across the country receive in-kind donations of food and other needs that the dogs’ and cats’ human families can pick up at outreach locations. The following Long Beach businesses will accept your donations:

Trendi Pawz, 3726 E. Seventh St.

Belmont Heights Animal Hospital, 255 Redondo Ave.

Paw Shoppe Pet Center, Inc., 6416 E. Spring St.

Food and supplies are available at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.; and at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

White cat with tabby-patch ears and back stares upward, sitting in bowling-pin position in a glassed-in kennel with store products in background

Chompers, whom the rescuers renamed Shompei for ease of pronunciation, is chilling at the Cat Adoption Center at the Long Beach Pet Food Express. Shompei is 10 years old and has no teeth but her fangs because of a horrible case of stomatitis that went untreated for heaven knows how long. Nonetheless, she’s playful as a kitten and loves to cuddle. She needs to be in a home with no other animals and no small children, but she thrives on having her chops rubbed. Can you give her the life she deserves?

Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center: weekdays and Saturday 10 a.m.–8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

This adoption center is a much-needed satellite operation of Long Beach Animal Care Services. Julie and her team pull adoptable cats—”adoptable,” to these guys, means any cat in a shelter kennel! The team socializes the kitties until they’re adopted, which takes less time than you could imagine!

 Helen Sanders CatPAWS adoption center: viewable daily during store hours, PetSmart, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach, adoption fees apply.

Window-shopping’s a neat pastime and likely has become more common during the pandemic. Helen Sanders CatPAWS has applied window-shopping to cat adoption; you can peer at several of the fine felines through the windows of the PetSmart adoption center in Seal Beach. Sadly, no ear scratching or chin rubs at this time, but volunteers can answer questions and provide you with adoption information! Be sure to wear a mask. You can find adoption applications and all the kitties here.

Links to loveables

The following pet-related businesses regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions, but as of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list.

 

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”
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