The Brightside: Kitten Sweater Donations
SALISBURY, Md. – One Salisbury woman’s journey to helping bottle baby kittens proved to be a challenge when she was searching for ways to keep the tiny babies warm.
“Back in 2019, there was a need for bottle baby fosters,” Leigh Collins Lampert said, and she answered that call about three years ago. Since then, her home has been filled with the cutest, smallest kittens.
But learning to care for the tiny babies was a journey.
“I had never done it before, I thought well I’ll try it and see, and Kim Engst, a vet-tech who worked at the shelter, she’s since retired, she just kind of took me under her wing and showed me what to do and how to do it, and four years later, I’ve fostered probably over 60 kittens,” she explained.
Leigh compares it to having eight newborns at one time, so you can imagine how much work that is.
Explaining some of the work, she said, “they need to be bottle fed, and that’s, depending on their age, every hour and a half, every three hours, around the clock, so we get up all night long with them, they need help going to the bathroom, they have to be kept warm because their bodies can’t regulate their temperature.”
Now that last part, keeping the babies warm, proved to be a challenge for Leigh, as she tried different things.
“I use microwaveable discs that I can put in their crates, but sometimes the kittens, they still shiver,” she explained.
But then one day while scrolling through social media, she saw another solution.
“I randomly saw on Facebook one day these little kitten sweaters, and I thought aren’t they cute, because Tatia, one of the kittens that I have right now, every time I took her out of her crate, she would always shiver,” Leigh said.
But she’s only one person, and while fostering a number of kittens at once, she needed help making the miniature garments.
“I kind of just put out on my Facebook page, ‘Do any of my foster know how to crochet and can make these sweaters?’ And that post kind of blew up,” she said.
And, maybe because of how cute the assignment was, Leigh says more people than she ever imagined have volunteered their time and their yarn.
“We’ve probably had dozens of people tell us that they’re going to make sweaters, we’ve had two folks send them so far, some are still in progress, my best friend’s mother is making some for me,” she said.
Yes, the kittens wearing the sweaters is as cute as it sounds, even if it takes a little bit of wrangling to get their paws into them. Leigh says with so many people stepping up, she’s now planning on how to use extra sweaters she gets.
“Any sweaters that we can’t use, we’re going to use with our foster partners, there’s bottle baby kittens everywhere,” Leigh told us.
While the babies will one day outgrow their sweaters and head off to their forever families, she says there are always more kittens waiting for not only the warmth of a sweater, but of a foster home.
“When you see them grow up, and they go to their forever homes, it’s wonderful, I love watching it, and it’s very rewarding,” Leigh said.
Leigh tells us she gets all of her foster kittens through the Humane Society of Wicomico County, and that’s where they can be adopted. She posts updates of the babies on her foster Facebook page, where you can see which ones are still waiting for their forever home and when they’ll be ready for adoption. If you want to take a look, just search Cedarcrest Homestead Foster Trails on Facebook.