Animal Welfare in a foster care crunch

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Spring is in the air, but it’s also the time of year known as kitten season when shelters are overrun with litters of adoptable kittens.

Cage after cage at Albuquerque’s Eastside Animal Welfare shelter is packed.

“We expect it and we do our best, but it seems that every year there are just so many that we sometimes cannot meet the needs of all these kittens and puppies,” Nicole Vigil, a senior veterinarian with Animal Welfare, told KRQE News 13.

Vigil says more than 100 kittens brought in without their mothers over the past five weeks have been far too young to stay in the shelter, and have needed bottle feedings every few hours.

It’s creating a sort of foster care crisis.

“When it ends up there are so many kittens coming in that are in such dire need of foster care, we run into a problem because we just don’t have enough fosters,” Vigil said.

Vigil says most of the kittens have been brought in by good Samaritans who think the mother cats have abandoned the litter. She says that’s most likely not the case.

“They’re worried something is going to happen to them, and one piece of advice we like to give people is to make sure the mom isn’t coming back. Most of the time, she’s just out looking for food, and she hasn’t abandoned the kittens,” Vigil said.

Vigil recommends not moving any kittens until it’s known the mother isn’t coming back. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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