Four tiny, cold kittens are to be fostered by prison inmates after they were dumped outside a vet clinic this morning.
The 3-week-old kittens were found abandoned outside the Wainuiomata vet clinic in a cardboard box. They are too young to be separated from their mother and will now be looked after by inmates at Wellington's Arohata Women's Prison.
Wellington SPCA spokesman James Craw said the kittens were in reasonable shape but would need special attention because they were so young.
''We are sending them to Arohata for a foster programme. They have done it several times and we have had really great results with it.
''The inmates take a lot of pride in looking after these kittens and raising them and it gives the kittens social skills as well.''
The kittens will need regular bottle-feeding every few hours - a level of foster care that most people can't provide. They will be looked after by inmates in self-care units in the last stages of their sentence. Caring for the kittens can help rehabilitate prisoners in preparation for their release.
Mr Craw said the kittens would be desexed at about eight weeks and readied for adoption.
''They [the inmates and wardens] definitely do become attached to them. It is a big undertaking but they all love doing it.''
A staff member at Wainuiomata vet clinic said she came across the kittens just before 8am. Their bedding was damp and the kittens were quite cold.
Mid to late August was usually the start of ''kitten season'', when kittens were dumped because owners had not thought to de-sex their cats.
Mr Craw said this litter was the second batch of kittens to be found this year, though the first batch were old enough to go straight out for adoption.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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