They’re the most vulnerable creatures imaginable; tiny kittens born too early because an accident or illness befell their mother. The fragile kittens need specialized care, so a Shuswap couple are raising funds for an ICU unit similar to an incubator that will give the newborns the best chance of survival.
“We deal with a lot of babies where the mom has been hit by a car, or you know something tragic has happened to the mother cat,” said Barbara Gosselin, who helps run the Shuswap Paws Rescue society along with her husband Dennis.
Gosselin explained the ICU they are raising money for regulates the kittens’ temperature but also has a nebulizer for delivering medication and an oxygen supply which can help ward off pneumonia, a common problem for neonatal kittens that are being tube or bottle fed.
Although Shuswap Paws focus their efforts on cats, Gosselin said the ICU could be used for new-born puppies as well.
The closest comparable unit to the one Shuswap Paws plan to purchase is located in Lake Country.
“There isn’t one locally. There’s nothing anywhere close. We’ve had a lot of neo-nates and it would really increase the odds for the babies,” Gosselin said.
To cover the cost of the ICU incubator, which has to be shipped from the United States, Shuswap Paws are trying to raise approximately $2600.
The plight of the Shuswap’s kittens is drawing small donations from all over the world thanks to the Instagram account @beescats which Gosselin uses to document her foster-care efforts; the page boasts over 38,000 followers.
After Gosselin and the other foster families she works with rescued 108 cats and kittens last year, she decided it was time to incorporate the group of volunteers into an official rescue society. The newly-incorporated rescue society focuses their efforts on helping cats and kittens, but have also worked with dogs. The society oversees 25 pet foster homes throughout the Shuswap and around 70 volunteers.
Shuswap Paws currently have 28 cats in their care, including two mothers and their litters that Gosselin is looking after in her own home. After being spayed or neutered and receiving necessary medical treatment and vaccines, the cats will be up for adoption and will hopefully become a part of loving families.
Donations to the Shuswap Paws’ pet ICU project are being accepted at: https://www.gofundme.com/5gtqtqo.