The Scratching Post is a weekly newsletter from pets columnist Kate Karp, bringing you all the latest news on pet adoptions, animal welfare and ways to get involved.

Every spring, shelters, rescues and cat advocates brace themselves for kitten season. Sure, “kitten season” sounds cute, and why would there be any accompanying dread? But everyone who does anything in earnest to save cats knows about the litters brought into shelters and rescues daily, both with and without mothers. Hundreds and thousands of kittens are born in backyards, streets, dumpsters — anywhere a mother cat can give birth, while humans struggle to stop the flow of newborns through spay/neuter and finding homes, fosters and more spay/neuter for the kittens.

“The mild and welcoming climate of Southern California extends our kitten season from late February till mid-October, resulting in a flood of orphaned newborn kittens into our shelter,” said Claudia Otis, cofounder of The Little Lion Foundation cat rescue. “For us at Little Lion, it bears an intensified commitment to our mission as we welcome around 1,000 kittens into our rescue.”

The Little Lion Foundation established itself as a nonprofit in 2016 and launched the Little Paws Project kitten nursery in 2019 in partnership with Helen Sanders CatPAWS. Little Lion pulls hundreds of cats from Long Beach Animal Care Services — around 560 in 2023 — and the nursery has had a big impact on saving newborns from dying. Kittens under 8 weeks old are vulnerable to shelter euthanasia because of the numbers of them entering shelters and the lack of shelter staff and resources to care for them. Hundreds of thousands die every year in shelters across the country.

To increase the lifesaving pawprint, Little Lion and LBACS are launching The Bottle Brigade, a project involving Little Lion volunteers taking over bottle feeding for shelter staff during off-hours.

“[Kittens under 8 weeks old] are unable to eat on their own and would ultimately suffer if left alone overnight,” Otis said. “Little Lion has always known that this is an issue at the public shelters, but now, with such an amazing shelter director as Melanie [Wagner], we are in a place where we can work together and make this program a reality.”

As with everything animal, it takes an involved community to make it work. Find out how to bottle-feed neonatal kittens and what’s involved in long-term and short-term fostering on Saturday, March 16, 1 to 2 p.m. at Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach. Watching vulnerable, helpless kittens grow to become independent, playful ones will give you the best feeling ever — especially when you realize that they’re alive because of you.

Support the Bottle Baby Brigade here.

Adopt or foster

The Little Lion Foundation wants the best luck for their kitties, so they’re having a big St. Patrick’s Day Adoption Weekend event on Saturday, March 16, and Sunday, March 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. The event will take place at Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, so you can spend your green on lots of neat stuff for your pot of furry purring at the end of the rainbow. By the way, March 17 is also St. Gertrude’s Day, celebrating Gertrude the Great of Nivelles. St. Gertrude was designated patron saint of cats in recent years — stories vary, but she remains the iconic cat lady.

To take permanent patronage of any of these cats, access this link and fill out an application. Check out the other Little Leprechauns as well!


Confetti isn’t the life of the party — she’s the main event! This girl has been through several trials but has come out happy, loving and strong. She was pregnant and had a broken pelvis when she was rescued, and against all odds, her kittens survived. Confetti had an operation on her pelvis and ultimately required a leg amputation to relieve her pain. Since becoming a tripod, this resilient young lady has become affectionate and maintains her active lifestyle — having three legs has not held her back! She jumps from tall ledges and uses the litter box perfectly. A life with Confetti is filled with warmth, bravery, and of course, a little sass.


Ponyo is a beautiful one-eyed chocolate-point Siamese. She came into our local shelter with a severely infected and ruptured eye. Her eye was surgically removed, and she’s now ready to find a loving home. Ponyo will follow you around the house, meowing with her tiny squeaky voice, and she’ll give you her “puppy-dog eye” when she’s hungry. She also loves to sleep at your feet when she’s cold and absolutely loves playtime with you! Ponyo is a delightful addition to any home — sweet, sassy and entertaining all at once.

Mint Julep and Mickey Jaggy.

Meet Mint Julep and Mickey Jaggy. They were rescued over a year ago when they were just a few days old. Minty, the cute tuxedo, is a sweet, affectionate cuddle bug who greets you in the morning by running into your room, hopping onto your bed, and snuggling in your arms when she hears you wake up. She also has a special talent: flycatcher. She once caught three flies in the air with her bare paws. 

She also loves snacking and playing with toys or with her sister, Jaggy, the sleek panther. Jaggy is as sweet and affectionate as her sibling, except that she prefers to lie beside you with her head on your pillow as you drift to sleep together. You can often find her napping belly up in laundry baskets, playing with her toys, or staring out the window. She enjoys wrestling with Minty and would love to be adopted with her!

Tail-wagging and nose-booping events

11th annual CatPAWS Bowling Fundraiser

Show any cat anywhere that you’re just as good as rolling a ball around as they are! Fundraiser tickets include savory appetizers or a personal pizza, two hours of bowling, a soft drink, and bowling shoes. Prefer to lie around and watch, like a veritable cat? No worries! For just $20, you can be part of the fun by cheering on your team and friends and enjoying delicious food and a soft drink, which your ticket covers. Plus, every ticket comes with an entry into the opportunity drawing. Prizes await the highest and lowest scores for participants. All proceeds benefit the lucky rescue cats at Helen Sanders CatPAWS.

The CatPAWS bowling fundraiser takes place Saturday, March 23 from 2 p.m.–5:30 p.m. at Westminster Lanes, 6471 Westminster Blvd., Westminster. Tickets are $45 for bowling and $20 for spectating; buy tickets here.

TNR Community Cat Action Group to hold second meeting

In January, TNR (trap/neuter-spay/return) cat trappers and supporters, representatives from Long Beach Animal Care Services, spay/neuter advocates and anyone interested in finding out how to help with TNR formed a coalition to do just that. Read about it here — it was a full house! If you have resources to share, if you can help trap or transport cats, if you want to actively support the effort to mitigate the number of kittens filling shelters and rescues and prevent euthanasia, sign up — here’s a video on how to trap, for starters.

The next meeting takes place Sunday, March 24 at 1 p.m. To sign up, email Kris Beardsley at [email protected]. Organizers will provide location to participants.

Wellness exams at Fix Long Beach

Keep your cat or dog healthy as a horse, for far less than usual! Fix Long Beach, known for its Parvo ICU and low-cost spay/neuter procedures and vaccinations, now offers low-cost wellness exams for $50. All animals must be spayed or neutered or have a pending appointment at Fix Long Beach to take advantage of the low prices at the clinic. Make an appointment here.

Fix Long Beach is located at 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach