Page 2’s Monica Stabile on Working With Kittens
Most of our clients know Monica Stabile from her service as an account executive. But she keeps busy outside work too, as a volunteer for several animal welfare groups.
I volunteer at The Anti-Cruelty Society, the largest animal shelter in Illinois, where I train other volunteers on how to socialize kittens to help them develop into friendly and confident companions, and how to care for and bottle feed neonatal kittens, also known as “bottle babies.”
Since kittens are not born understanding the world, they must be taught to like people, and enjoy being pet and held. Spending time with young kittens and giving them food creates an incentive for them to interact with you while also forming positive associations with humans. I have spent countless hours socializing young kittens, from introducing tasty snacks to playing and wrapping kittens in purritos (a towel swaddling technique). I have worked with feral kittens that were rescued from the street and from hoarding situations. With time, those feral kittens went from a “spicy” temperament to sweet, cuddly kittens that are comfortable with people. I especially love working with feral kittens and watching their progression from being feisty and scared to perfect feline companions.
Like human babies, orphaned neonatal kittens need around-the-clock specialized care to help their survival. That means they must be bottle fed and weighed every two hours, and they need help using the bathroom. Unfortunately, kittens under eight weeks old are one of the most euthanized populations in the country due to the high volume of kittens born and the lack of shelter resources to provide specialized care for this vulnerable population.
With that in mind, I also participate in trap-neuter-return (TNR) of community cats, (also called feral cats) in my neighborhood. TNR involves humanely trapping community cats, getting them to a veterinary clinic where they are sterilized, vaccinated and ear tipped, and then returning them to their territory where they are taken care of by a colony caretaker. TNR programs provide a non-lethal means of reducing cat populations, and preventing thousands of kittens from being born outside, the majority of which do not survive. TNR also ensures that the cats are healthier, and it helps decrease fighting, spraying and feline diseases. I care for four community cats that have gone through the TNR program and live happily in my backyard where they are spoiled daily with wet food, ice cubes in their water and catnip.
I also foster kittens through CatNap from the Heart, a Chicagoland shelter that focuses on felines. I started fostering through CatNap when one of the community cats I cared for brought her five young kittens to my backyard. I successfully trapped all five of the kittens, socialized them, and they were all adopted through CatNap. I also humanely trapped the mama cat, and she also went through the TNR program.
I greatly enjoy volunteering within the animal welfare industry to further save feline lives in my community through socialization and TNR programs. If you are interested in fostering or volunteering with The Anti-Cruelty Society or CatNap from the Heart, click the links below: