After decades of working with animals, LAPS executive director Jayne Nelson still finds kittens irresistible. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

VIDEO: Langley shelter takes in unwanted kittens Saturday

Langley Animal Protection Society is hosting its fifth annual Kitten Roundup event this weekend.

Kitten season is well underway in Langley, and the local animal shelter already has at least 40 baby cats in care.

This weekend, that could more than double as the Langley Animal Protection Society flings open the doors of its new cat intake and isolation centre just in time for the fifth annual Kitten Roundup.

Jayne Nelson isn’t sure what kind of numbers to expect, but the shelter and the volunteer foster parents are all bracing for a big influx of felines this Saturday.

What has LAPS’ executive director most excited is that the new cat intake and isolation centre – which has been years in the conceptional and building stages – is supposed to be open in time for this season’s Kitten Roundup.

Grand opening of the cat intake centre is set for Thursday, followed by the Roundup two days later, Nelson said.

It should be a great test of the state-of-the-art new facility, which has been designed to limit the very common spread of viruses and diseases between cats and kittens when they first come into care.

Roundup helps reduce unwanted cats

The animal shelter typically takes in about 350 kittens a year. But that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, said the LAPS executive director.

She estimates that 80,000 kittens will be born in Langley this year alone, 75 per cent of which will die within the first six months – if they’re not rescued.

The females within that 25 per cent that survive can start getting pregnant as early as four months.

The shelter currently has two sister moms in care, little more than kittens themselves. And between the two, they have 13 kittens.

The Kitten Roundup is aimed at significantly reducing the cat population, each kitten spayed or neutered before being adopted out.

During this weekend’s event, people can drop off kittens under six months, as well as pregnant or nursing cats.

It’s often a mix of strays cats, or abandon felines found on rural properties in Langley that are brought in that day, Nelson said.

The team will also accept to see several kittens being surrendered because the pet owners can, “for whatever reason,” no longer take care of them, she explained.

“That’s okay, we are open and expecting whatever comes our way,” Nelson added. “There are no fees and no judgments on that day. We’re just looking to help the cats… the cats and kittens in our community.”

The Kitten Roundup runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Patti Dale Animal Shelter in Aldergrove, 26220 56th Ave. on Saturday, April 14.

Fosters make it possible

LAPS runs a no-kill animal shelter, and foster homes are what make that possible, Nelson said.

She gave a “huge shout out” to the foster parents who dedicate time and space to caring for all the kittens.

“We just could not do this without the amazing foster moms we have in our network,” Nelson said.

“It’s a big commitment” these people make to caring for many of these kittens that are found (often without their mothers) in barns and wood piles, under sheds, or in workshops around Langley.

While needing love and handling, most of the young kittens that come into LAPS also require bottle feeding every two hours.

“There’s nothing as adorable as a little, bottle-fed, hand-raised kitten. You would honestly think…we see literally hundreds and hundreds of kittens every year, and you would think that at some point it would get old,” Nelson said, cuddling a four-week-old kittens currently being fostered by a LAPS staff member. “But it never does.”

Kittens can be dropped off Saturday, or if it’s not possible to bring them in, Langley residents are encouraged to call the Roundup hotline or text to 604-690-5232.

There are also a limited number of spay and neuter certificates available to Langley residents who want to keep their cats but help prevent future litters. Those certificates are available on a first-come, first-serve basis during Saturday’s Roundup event.

Proof of Langley residency will be required for the certificates or to participate in this weekend’s Roundup.

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