Long Beach Little Paws Project Celebrates Expansion with Open House • Long Beach Post News

Otis was talking about more than matches and matches of kittens she and her team of volunteers rescued from precarious health conditions and injuries. Otis is co-founder of The Little Paws Kitten Nursery, under the Little Lion umbrella. “Umbrella” is an apt metaphor this time around – the nursery has housed the lives of around 2,500 newborns and neutered and sterilized adults to prevent them from doing more. Little Lion and Helen Sanders CatPAWS opened the nursery in April 2019. It is now run solely by Little Lion.

The Little Paws Project Set to Raise Healthy Adoptable Kittens

That day, Otis was preparing the newly expanded nursery and Little Lion headquarters for its public debut on Saturday, April 30 (see Big fun fur balls for more details). The neighboring business closed last year and the owner of Little Lion approached Otis to take over the space and expand the nursery’s facilities and programs. The addition would increase the square footage from 1,100 square feet to 2,100. So on January 1, after scavenging stuff from other defunct businesses, Little Paws accepted the keys and went to work.

“It was completely bare here – the floor was messed up, with cracked tiles, so we had to redo everything,” Otis said. “We built new walls – it was a crazy amount of money.”

Also time and insight. A few years ago, Otis and the volunteers had swarmed an entire adoption center, kennels and all, at a pet store that was closing. From an Orange County cat cafe that succumbed to the COVID-19 shutdown, the rescue secured quirky little wall perches and climbed stairs for little cats’ feet and buttocks. Little Lion stored all of this and more for two years, and earlier this year they drove to headquarters in a U-Haul and set everything up in the new space.

Steps, shelves and lockers will have active kittens literally climbing the wall. Photo by Kate Karp.

Little Paws, which was initially spacious but limited to what it could fit in a single unit, now has, in addition to the nursery, a community cat room, where up to 21 trapped cats and other recovering felines can recover from surgery; the Enrichment Lounge, where fully vaccinated kittens and cats can play and adopters can meet their new best friends; an isolation room for serious and contagious medical cases; and a community welfare and education room, where volunteers can demonstrate how to care for newborn kittens, how to effectively trap, neuter and neuter, and bring cats back to where they came from, and what people need to take care of their pets. More wonderfully, Little Lion staff and volunteers now have room for a proper office instead of a table wedged between kennels and incubators.

“We just had a community welfare event with Long Beach Animal Care Services – people’s pets got free shots, microchips – all to keep animals out of the shelter because people can’t afford the care,” Otis said. “We aim to do food giveaways at least once a month. We have run workshops on kitten care, and we host foster families here, teaching them how to care for newborn babies. We have big plans!

One of the plans is to expand the “kitten control program”. Most of the kittens Little Lion rescues come from shelters in more than one way. One is shelter diversion, which involves taking in kittens before they can enter the shelter. The shelter diversion is run in tandem with the SEACCA Shelter in Downey, which serves eight cities east of Los Angeles. SEACCA advises rescues where cats breed outdoors, and volunteers trap and house them.

“People are calling shelters and saying, ‘There’s way too many cats and they’re having babies,'” Otis said. “The shelter contacts us, and we go out and assess the location. Then we trap as many cats as possible and fix them. You’re not going to get all of them when you leave, so we go back and clean up the stragglers.

Long Beach Animal Care Services takes in kittens and often nursing mothers. LBACS contacts Little Lion and other cat shelters to pull kittens, especially newborns and recently weaned ones.

The kittens, once weaned, are socialized and adopted. Mothers and fathers are vaccinated and sterilized so that they can no longer make kittens. They are also warned to identify them as having been repaired. Then they are sent back to the region they came from unless they prove to be cozy and adoptable.

The expansion of rescue, both in the region and in the programs, indicates an increased need for volunteers. The core group lays its claws on nubbins who feed newborns every few hours, socialize healthy kittens, care for the sick, and disinfect everything, especially the iso room.

rows and rows of humane cat traps in red and black on the top shelf

“You must disinfect the room with a garden sprayer full of Rescue [a veterinary disinfectant),” Otis said. “You also have to make sure they’re clean and fed. The room has its own bathroom to clean kennels, so they don’t have to worry about cross-contamination. We’re trying to raise money to put in a big tub thing so that they can dip and sanitize the traps.” Photo by Kate Karp

Of course, they’ll need additional funding for the projects, which Otis said they secure through “lots of begging.” She hopes that when people visit the new headquarters, she won’t have to beg. Cats don’t need to!

Visit The Little Lion Foundation’s new headquarters Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be pie.

Donations are gladly accepted here. Learn about volunteer options on this link.

Virtually pets

Meet some graduates of the Kitten-Control Project! Find anything you need to know about adopting one of them at this link.

striped cat with three legs and a white muzzle and legs stares at camera. She lies on a soft, printed blanket

Ella is a beautiful, petite, tripod girl with lots of spunk and love to give. She’s got a big personality and a big heart. She has been though a lot in her short life, but that hasn’t slowed her down one bit! Ella has never been around dogs or children but currently lives in a home with four other cats. She would do best going home to another playful cat and human with lots patience and love to give. If you want a fun cuddly companion who sleeps in bed with you all night long, Ella is your girl!

light orang cat lies on back

Sinbad is a very energetic cat who never tires! He loves toys, and his favorites are the chirping bird and squeaky mice. He will carry them around in his mouth as if they’re his prey. He does well with other cats and small dogs. He loves to plop down on your feet and lick your toes. This floofy little guy will make a great addition to your home!


Cat with calico head and ears and white chest and mask with orange smudge on left side lies on a blanket staring at the camera

Fern is a chunky little sweetheart! She’s extremely loving and loyal, eager to seek you out and hang out wherever you are. She loves to be stroked and snuggle up for cuddles and ear scratches! Fern is eternally curious and loves finding little things to bat around the house. Her favorite spot is on the couch cuddled up or just splayed out enjoying the rug. She’s also spunky and sassy with her brother, Avery, and loves to play! She also can be independent and adventurous—a true calico! Fern’s favorite toys are plastic springs, and she enjoys bouncing after them around the house. She also loves long strings—chasing them with her brother can be lots of fun! She’s very outgoing and loves meeting new friends! Fern is bonded with her brother Avery.


cat with black head and white upper muzzle and chest, and widespread ears sits on a blanket

Avery is super-affectionate, loving and sweet! He always eager to greet you at the door when you come home and is very happy to pad around the house after you, looking for rubs and cuddles and ear tugs. His favorite place to sleep is in front of the wood stove, where he can find some cozy warmth in the winter! He can be quite mischievous with his sister, Fern, and sometimes steals her favorite spot to sleep in! He adores getting treats and will jump up to grab them from your hand. Avery loves spring toys just like his sister does and adores chasing after a good long string or a reed. Avery’s sweet nature and little milk mustache will capture your heart! Avery is bonded with his sister Fern.


Great Furballs of Fun

Adult and special-needs cat-adoption day: Saturday, April 30, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., Pet Supplies Plus, 2806 Bellflower Blvd. (next to Lazy Acres), Long Beach, adoption fees apply

All shelters and rescues are rushing to get kittens healthy and adopted into loving homes. But our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services and the Helen Sanders CatPAWS rescue don’t want the adult kitties left in the lurch, and that includes the cats with special needs. This Saturday, CatPAWS is covering the adoption fee for all cats adopted at this event (adopters will be screened as always) and will provide the adopters with a $50 Pet Supplies Plus gift card, which will take a healthy chomp out of all your new friend’s wants and needs!


Little Lion Foundation Headquarters Grand Opening: Saturday, April 30, 3–6 p.m., 1175 E. Wardlow Road,  Long Beach, free event.

How they’ve grown! Not just the kittens but the nursery. Mingle with the meowers and the humans, tour the expanded facility, and learn about the rescue’s lifesaving programs. Enjoy refreshments, participate in a raffle, and meet some kittens! Parking available in lot behind building.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

woman with gray hair and wearing a light shirt and green apron cuddles a big pit bull as they sit on a bench.

Are you in the mood for love—forever, unconditional love? Go online to Long Beach Animal Care Services and look for Poncho (ID#A671445). Poncho’s an 8-month-old puppyish pittie, and you’ll fall in love immediately. So will he! Volunteer Jo said that Poncho’s only flaw, if you can call it that, is jumping up on every park bench he passes for some cuddles. Make an appointment to fall in love.

Long Beach Animal Care Services open Saturdays and Sundays, with no appointment necessary

Please make our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Service your first stop for adoption—it continues to fill with dogs and cats. LBACS is now open without any appointment necessary on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for adoptions and for intake of healthy stray dogs. If you can’t come Sundays, appointments to adopt one of these sweet animals are readily available at [email protected] or 562-570-4925.

Appointments are readily available Wednesday through Saturday. The shelter has also been open since June 2021 for walk-in personal animal redemptions during regular business hours and also accepts any sick, dangerous, or injured animal walk-in during regular business hours. Appointments are always required for the release of a healthy animal or for the adoption of a pet during regular hours, excluding the Sunday hours mentioned above.

Foster for a while or forever!

The man is lying on a checkered blanket with cats from neck to toe

Meet a real cat dad – he’s the foster parent of Helen Sanders CatPAWS, and he’s not lying around at work no matter what he looks like. All adoptive cat parents are encouraged to complete a form, available here, to bring home a kitten and socialize it for the adoption center! It’s just temporary. Really. Unless . . . Photo courtesy of Nancy Cohn.

If you’ve always wanted a pet, but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a lifelong commitment (the pet), or if you’re past the time of roommates for some reason, the Foster care can be a great solution. , especially with one or more kittens appearing during kitten season. Each of the organizations listed below is in desperate need of foster families who will socialize them and help save their little lives. Who knows, maybe one of these lifetimes will change your mind about not being ready for a roommate!

These non-profit organizations also regularly offer cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. Now, adoptions are mostly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate on donations and grants, and anything you can give would be appreciated. Please suggest rescues in the Long Beach area to add to the list.

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Raymond I. Langston