Doctors and employees at the Indian Land Animal Hospital in Lancaster County are caring for six kittens they say were abandoned in a trash can outside the local Walmart this weekend.
A client rescued the kittens after finding them in a trash bag inside the trash can, Dr. Monica Tarantino told The Herald on Monday. The animal hospital posted photos and information about the kittens this weekend on the business’ Facebook page.
Veterinarians believe the kittens are about one week old. Staff members are taking turns feeding them with a bottle every four hours.
Although the kittens were separated from their mother after being abandoned, the animal hospital has a female cat who lost her litter last week, Tarantino said.
On Facebook, the animal hospital employees wrote: “We have put these babies with her and she fell in love ... We will still need to bottle feed them for a couple days until her milk comes in, but this is so heartwarming for us to watch her cuddle up with these orphans.”
By Sunday, the kittens’ health was improving, employees reported.
Over the next few weeks, Tarantino and her staff will continue to monitor the kittens’ health, help them gain weight and eventually wean them off of their adopted mom. They plan to find adoptive families for the kittens after the cats are at least eight weeks old.
Hospital staff members have named the kittens after singers, including Frank Sinatra, Janice Joplin and John Lennon. The rescue kitten group is made up of four males and two females.
Tarantino said one of the male cats has been nicknamed “Skinny Jack” because he’s the smallest – the runt of the group. When the kittens were brought to the hospital, Skinny Jack was in poor condition, breathing heavily and not making much noise, the veterinarian said.
All of the kittens weigh less than half a pound, Tarantino said. They are at a vulnerable stage, she said, but are expected to be in good health soon.
“They wouldn’t have survived” if they weren’t found, she said.
The woman who found the kittens heard a faint rustling in the trash can and investigated the noise, Taratino said. The kittens are so young, she said, their eyes were barely open when they were found.
Leaving kittens alone to die in a trash can is not the way to treat animals if they are not wanted, the veternarian said. Shelters and rescue groups will accept pets that are no longer wanted.
“There will be no judgment,” Tarantino said. Even if an animal is euthanized later at a shelter, she said, that’s more humane than dumping kittens to die.
The animal hospital told The Herald that the business does not need donations to care for the kittens. Instead, they recommend that people wanting to help make a donation to a local animal shelter or rescue group of their choice.
Anna Douglas • 803-329-4068