Washington County’s animal shelter needs your help.

This time of year the Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter is inundated with kittens and mother cats and is looking for foster families to take care of the animals for a few weeks until they can be adopted.

People often drop off kittens at the shelter each spring and summer, said Animal Services Manager Deborah Wood.

“Kitten season is just starting,” she said. “We’ve had our first few litters come to the shelter — and we know that many, many, many more are on the way.”

But most kittens are brought to the shelter before they are old enough to be adopted.

Kittens must become big enough and healthy enough to be spayed or neutered before they can be placed in a permanent home, Wood said. That is usually at about 8 weeks old and 2 pounds.

Wood is hoping families across Washington County will be willing to foster some kittens in their home until they are old enough to be put up for adoption.

“The best place for kittens to get ready for adoption is in a home,” Wood said. “We’re looking for people who are willing to open their homes and help these little creatures get a good start on life.”

In order to successfully foster kittens, families should be able to care for the kittens for seven to 90 days, depending on the age of the animal, and provide a safe, warm and stress-free place in a separate room of the home. Foster pets must be kept away from all other animals.

“If you love kittens, but aren’t ready to commit for more than a few weeks or months at a time, fostering may be the perfect arrangement for you to get your fix of cuteness — and you’ll also be helping homeless cats on their way to finding their forever home,” Wood said.

For more information on the fostering program, call 503-846-7039.

The Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter is located at 1901 S.E. 24th Ave. in Hillsboro.

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