26 kittens left in box at Michigan Humane Society

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The 26 kittens left in a chicken wire-wrapped box at the Michigan Humane Society’s Rochester Hills center symbolize an ongoing issue often emerging this time of year.

Every spring and summer, MHS officials said, homeless litters end up there and at other animal shelters and rescues.

“It’s a big burden, not just on the Michigan Humane Society but shelters across the country,” said Ryan McTigue, a spokesman for the group.

MHS is highlighting the latest arrivals as a way to encourage Metro Detroit residents to support efforts to sterilize animals.

“This problem can only be solved if we, as a community, work together to reduce animal homelessness and save lives,” said CJ Bentley, senior director of operations at MHS.

The kittens dropped off in Rochester Hills last Friday were believed to be 4 or 5 weeks old, MHS said.

Workers there have not determined where the kittens came from, but “it may be someone who has a large number of cats who aren’t sterilized,” McTigue said. “It looks like it was someone who got themselves in trouble and knew that we could help but for whatever reason chose not to talk to us.”

Two kittens have since died “due to substandard care before their arrival at the shelter,” MHS officials said.

“This specific example is very sad and disheartening,” Bentley said in a statement. “Worse yet, similar situations are brought to the Michigan Humane Society on a daily basis ...”

Some of the cats have been placed with foster homes among volunteers; MHS veterinarians and staff are caring for the rest, McTigue said. The plan is to eventually have all of the kittens healthy enough for adoption, he said.

Meanwhile, MHS also seeks foster volunteers.

“They are so crucial to ensuring these animals can get healthy and get into homes.” McTigue said.

To become a foster caregiver volunteer or learn more: www.michiganhumane.org/foster.

MHS also offers tips on curbing cat overpopulation:

■Ensure pets are spayed or neutered. To make an appointment: www.michiganhumane.org/about/locations.

■Adopt. To view adoptable cats and kittens: www.michiganhumane.org/adoption/cats.

■Donate to help house, treat and find homes for homeless cats and kittens through http://www.michiganhumane.org/donate or calling 855-MHS-GIVE (855-647-4483).

■Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) for feral cats. To learn more, email mbabbitt@michiganhumane.org.