‘First responder program’ saves newborn kittens

Person bottle feeding a kitten
Foster volunteers can sign up care for kittens during the first 24 hours they’re at Best Friends through the first responder program.
By Nicole Hamilton

Tenaya Kenner stands at the ready with her phone always close by, because at any time of the day she could get a call to help baby kittens.

A volunteer with Best Friends’ “first responder program,” Tenaya routinely fosters neonatal kittens at a moment’s notice, caring for them at a critical time their lives ― their first 24 hours with Best Friends. During that time, she cares for the kittens while the team lines up another foster home where they can stay until they’re ready to be adopted.

“In order for neonatal kittens to survive, they need to be fed every two, three or four hours depending on their age,” says Tenaya. “We need to make sure that there is a warm place for them to sleep, with somebody who can take care of them overnight.”

Tenaya usually only keeps the kittens for one night, but she has the option of caring for them longer. She loves knowing that she’s making a difference in the world and says that being a part of the first responder program leaves her with a sense of purpose and joy. “Taking care of an innocent animal is, to me, a really deep expression of love.”

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