GUELPH -- More than 400 kittens are expected to come through the doors at the Guelph Humane Society by the fall and staff are getting ready to welcome them into their care at their recently renovated facility.

“It can be quite costly and with our new facility being as large as it is, we are able to house more kittens and we want to help more,” said Samantha Westphal, the animal care manager at the Guelph Humane Society.

Pets Mart Charities of Canada has donated $25,000 to the organization to help offset some of the costs that come with caring for hundreds of kittens during what staff call their busy ‘kitten season.’

According to the SPCA, the summer is considered kitten season because female cats often have litters in the spring.

The latest litter of five kittens arrived at the Guelph Humane Society in May, arriving from a barn setting.

“They were nervous when they came into our care,” said Westphal.

The five kittens are about nine weeks old and are now playful and ready for adoption, but it took a few weeks to get them there, as is the case with many outdoor felines, according to the humane society.

“They often will have some internal and external parasites so we treat them for that and we vaccinate them,” Westphal said.

Foster volunteers also play a big part in the kitten intake process.

“(They) work on socializing and handling them so that they are comfortable just being handled,” said Westphal.

Lucy the kitten

Lucy the kitten is about 16 days old and was found all alone and outside. Her foster mother, Mercedes Strachan, takes her to work to care for her.

“She gets bottle-fed every two to three hours. Even throughout the night, I set an alarm so I get up with her,” said Strachan.

Strachan admitted after fostering close to a dozen cats over the years you can get attached.

“She meows and I just turn around and my heart breaks because she’s so sad and she doesn’t understand why there’s no mom or no siblings,” she said.

Those looking to adopt a kitten from the Guelph Humane Society must fill out an application and a coordinator will choose if they are the right fit.