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'Kitten Palooza!' workshop attendees practice new skills with foster kittens. (Photo by Valerie Sicignano)

Kitten Palooza! workshop attendees practice new skills with foster kittens.

Photo by Valerie Sicignano

NYC Eartips: Fall/Winter 2009

Kitten Palooza! Workshop Series, Sponsored by PetSmart Charities, Fills to Capacity

by Valerie Sicignano, NYC Feral Cat Initiative

Last spring, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) and sponsor PetSmart Charities teamed up to present Kitten Palooza!, a series of four workshops that provide instruction on caring for kittens born or found on the street. Three workshops were originally scheduled, but because of high demand, a fourth workshop was added. All four workshops filled to capacity, with participants from three states and twenty different animal organizations.

The workshops instructed participants on how to safely socialize (tame) feral kittens and how to bottle-feed and care for orphaned kittens. Instructors included Tina Waltke, DVM, Manhattan Cat Specialists; Mike Phillips, LVT, Urban Cat League; Nancy Alusick, KittyKind; Iris Lugo, volunteer, Animal Care & Control of NYC; and Valerie Sicignano, NYCFCI.

The Bottle Babies workshops were followed by individual and group mentoring sessions led by Iris Lugo. Dozens of new volunteers were trained in these highly specialized skills, and more than 100 kittens have already been taken in for care and fostering as a result. Thank you for your support, PetSmart Charities!

About the Author

Valerie Sicignano is Director of Special Events & Training for the New York City Feral Cat Initiative and has been working with feral cats in New York City since 1990. She holds a Certificate in Humane Education from the ASPCA, and her work with animals has been recognized by the Manhattan Pet Gazette's "Animal Guardian Award" and In Defense of Animals' "Companion Animal Guardian Award."