Finding kittens draws attention to unwanted animals Local news

A White Township motorist and two garbage collectors with waste found something in common recently this morning along Route 286, just behind a traffic light at Airport Road.

“On the way to Climer, I saw a raccoon walking in a trash can,” Robin Allen recalled.

He was going for something wrapped in a black towel and put in a pot of paint.

There were four kittens inside this towel – and the find came as no surprise to the garbage collectors.

“These sewers said it wasn’t their first time,” Allen said.

Not their last. Allen later said the sewers found someone had thrown the kitten out on the road in Derry.

“It was a gray tiger kitten, probably a week old, with its nose closed,” Allen said.

As for the kittens Allen found, “I took them home, fed them baby food and warm milk, and cleaned their eyes,” she said.

She brought the kittens to the offices of The Indiana Gazette, on the way to talk to the Indiana Police Department and the Indiana County Humane Society.

Eventually Allen took the kittens to Four Footed Friends and he was told that state police in Squad A in White City would investigate the case.

“It’s very difficult for all shelters to fight the flow of animals,” said Zhanna Stelmak, director of the Four-Legged Friends. “We are gaining recognition as vagrants, abandoned and surrendering owners. It seems like all the shelters in western Pennsylvania are full, so when people call for help, we often need to put them on a waiting list. ”

Another Gazette reader is one who called a shelter in Armstrong County after someone threw a black cat that apparently was neutered, but not before the animal started spraying. He is now in a foster family with two other cats.

“Abandoned, found, and surrendered animals are distributed everywhere, not just in our community,” said Indiana County Humane Society Director Beth Finnegan. “ICHS and other shelters, rescue services and groups are constantly advocating for the sterilization and sterilization of animals to control the animal population in our community. Simply put, a cat can get pregnant before the age of five months, and only during the first year in the original cat and her offspring can be born more than 100 kittens. In four years, that number has risen to 2,000. Keeping livestock under control, sterilizing and sterilizing animals helps reduce the likelihood that an animal will be abandoned, found or surrendered. ”

Allen understands. She has four cats of her own at home.

“They’re manual,” she said of the four kittens she brought to the Gazette’s offices. “They want you to play with them.”

Stelmak said animals can cause different dilemmas depending on the situation.

“If the animals are really abandoned, we try to make it a priority to deliver them in some way,” said the director of Four Footed Friends. “Often, however, this includes the police, landlords, humane officers or others because we can’t just go to the property to pick up abandoned animals.”

If the animal is stray, Four Footed Friends will try to get them out of the street as soon as possible, or enlist the help of those looking for an animal to keep the animal until the case is posted on social media and other means will be used to find the owner.

“Again, we are committed to taking the pet when we have room,” Stelmak said. “Sometimes they are a priority for handing over the owner, for example, if the owner has died or been hospitalized and no family / friends can take care of the animals.”

In the case of a black cat raised by a couple in the Pussy Valley, social media has singled out a woman who thought a black cat could be a pet. Unfortunately, it was not – the family pet in question was a cat; the tramp, to whom the family came, turned out to be a man.

“If someone throws an animal, a community member, state police or dog warden can call the shelter to warn us about the situation,” Finnegan said. “When someone calls, we talk to them about the right ways to deal with the situation.”

One: “Don’t interfere right away!”

The ICHS website says: “If their mother is not there, wait for her return from afar for at least a few hours. If the kittens are in danger, move them to a safe place where the mother can find them.

“If the mother does not return and the kittens appear to be orphaned, they will now need human intervention from you or your local shelter.”

ICHS emphasizes, “Please call first to make sure they can now take the kittens.”

ICHS, 191 Airport Road, White Township, can be reached at (724) 465-7387.

Four Footed Friends, at 220 Beck Road, White Township, can be reached at (724) 349-1144.

“If the mother is present or returning and you can, provide the mother and kittens with food, water and dry shelter,” the Humane Society website continues. “If the kittens are able to feed themselves and successfully wean themselves, they will no longer need a mother and will be ready to find a new home. It’s also a good time to create a plan to catch, sterilize and release / return home for the mother. ”

ICHS said anyone who is unable to provide such assistance or has additional questions about this may contact a local shelter / rescuer in advance for assistance or advice or from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at

“Sometimes people move, and we have a few weeks for those people to be on the waiting list,” Stelmak said. “Unfortunately, a lot of people call and say they’re moving today, and the animal (s) has to go somewhere. People often threaten to just take them out into the street, shoot them, drive them into the woods, because they can’t take them. “

The director of “Four-Legged Friends” said it was a puzzle: accept the lost, and there is no room for surrender. Take in the surrender, then the vagrants will come out on their own.

“Sometimes the animals are taken to the shelter in an hour without our prior knowledge,” Stelmak said. “This creates a problem because we don’t know what animal is here and we don’t have any information about the animal, such as where it was found, or, in the case of surrender, if it has medical or behavioral problems. We ask people to call the shelter in advance so that we can organize the arrival of the animal (and) take it into their family. “

Although the focus here has been stray cats, this is not the only species that may need a good home.

“In most cases, if a stray animal is found, police or a dog warden will bring it to a shelter or our humane officer will go and rescue it,” Finnegan said. “We are immediately trying to find its owner, which is a good reason for your animals to chip the microchip, so by scanning the microchip, we can find the owner’s information.

Stelmak agreed: “If your pet is microchipped, register the chip. If it’s not microchipped, chip it and register the number. “

More from her advice: “Give a license to your dogs.”

And “keep dogs and cats up to date with rabies vaccines.” The couple in the Valley of Pussies was vaccinated against rabies for their foster cat, at the same time as they were getting their pet for an annual checkup.

“Once an abandoned or surrendered animal is taken to a shelter, we take care of its immediate needs such as bathing them, feeding them and walking them,” Finnegan said. “Sometimes animals need immediate veterinary care, which we turn to. In all cases, they are examined by a local veterinarian for a health check, where they receive the necessary vaccines and injections, such as the rabies vaccine, and, if necessary, are sterilized or sterilized. ”

Microchipping can be done by a veterinarian for both dogs and cats.

If an abandoned animal has medical or behavioral problems, it will not be immediately integrated into the shelter community.

“When an animal joins our family in a shelter, they are first cared for in a quarantine zone for a period of time so we can observe them and acclimatize them to the shelter,” said Finnegan of the Humane Society. “They are kept separate from the rest of the animal shelter until they are safely integrated and made available for adoption.”

Both the Indiana County Humane Society and the Four Footed Friends – as well as any other animal shelter in western Pennsylvania – will have times when they can’t accept new animals because they lack space.

“Just to give you an idea of ​​the scale of the problem, from January to March this year we took 44 stray cats, 40 stray dogs,” Shelmak told Four Footed Friends. “We took 26 cats that were handed over by the owners, 40 dogs that were handed over by the owners. Unfortunately, the number of adoptions we have quarterly does not often match or exceed the number of receptions we have.

That’s why the shelter is always full. “

Shelmak said Four Footed Friends staff is working creatively to find additional places to house animals, drawers in hallways, search for foster homes and so on.

“This is a very big problem in Indiana County, and I think it’s a monumental problem in every part of the country,” Shelmak said.

“Asylum overpopulation can lead to an unhealthy environment and disease, which is also bad for all animals and staff,” Finnegan said. “If such a situation arises in the Indiana County Humane Society, we encourage people to call other shelters and rescue services to accommodate the animal found. We also keep a waiting list, so if we have a place in the kennel, we can call and arrange the arrival of the animal to our shelter. ”

More tips from Four Footed Friends:

• Have an ID on your pets. Even a strictly domestic cat can find an opportunity to slip through a door or window.

• If your pet is lost, post photos on social media. Facebook has a page called Lost Pets of Indiana County.

“Put your pet in there and look at the posts,” Stelmak said. “Many pets meet their owners this way.”

• Call and / or visit any shelter in the surrounding areas of your home. Four Footed Friends staff have animals that come to them from Armstrong, Westmarland and Jefferson counties because they were the only shelter able to help with a stray person.

“Owners are very shocked to see that their pet is so far from home when we contact them,” said the director of Four Footed Friends.

• If there are campfires in the area that are outdoors / wild, work with a sterilization / castration team to have them sterilized and vaccinated, and then continue to provide them with food, water, and shelter.

Locally, this could also include the Cat Aid Network ( in Blairsville or SNIPP, Spay and Neuter Indiana PA Pets,

However, Stelmak regrets that “there are simply no unlimited number of barns / farms that are willing to accept more cats.”

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