All Souls Day Kittenz

All Souls Day Kittenz - Jamie

I want to bring attention to the plight of kittens in the shelter system. Facts are hard to find because there is not any national statistics required by the government on shelter kill rates and segmenting out the percentage of cats killed that are kittens. The estimates are that 75% of the cats died in shelters are kittens, this statistic is not well known. What I have found is that most people don’t know the high number of kittens killed in shelters. It is a place where headway can be made because foster homes make a difference in these kitten’s lives. Kittens are born without immunity and are too young to get shots; therefore, they are vulnerable to disease.

I have been fostering kittens for PACC (Pima Animal Care Center) for many years. I wanted a way to educate people on the reality of kittens in shelters while remembering these souls for their joy and love they bring to the planet. Therefore, I decided to create a Day of the Dead style portrait of every foster kitten that has been in my care and to celebrate their lives.

With my foster kittens, I bring them home, love them and give them the best start possible. Being in a house with humans is so different from being in a cage and is stressful for the kittens. Kittens have passive immunity, so any ability they have to ward of disease comes from their mother. Once the kittens are removed from their cages and taken into a foster home, the exposure to illness is less.
For me, just saving kittens wasn’t enough. Those of us who help kittens, sometimes feel like it is a never-ending process, you keep one only to have five the next day. Kitten season in Tucson is LONG- because of the warm weather- kittens are born 10 months a year instead of two seasons. Many people find kittens and thinking they are a good Samaritan bring them into the shelter. Often this is separating them from their mother who was off hunting to support her brood.

I remembered Mark Barone. Mark started The Museum of the Dog. He wanted to bring attention to all the shelter dogs killed in a day. He relocated to paid artist housing in Kentucky and took over a year to paint over 5,400 dogs, the number of HEALTHY DOGS that are put to death EACH DAY in America. The only way that number changes are for good people to do what they can to make it change. Mark’s part of that is to raise awareness of the problem. I really respect him for doing his project. You can find Mark’s work here: “Once you truly learn about the issue, it doesn’t leave you – Not if you have any sort of empathy or compassion or care in your being,” Barone says. “That’s why this project has become our lives. We’ve laid it all on the line.”

I felt the best way to do express my love for them was to paint each foster kitten I have had in my care. In the Southwest, Day of the Dead Art is collected all year around. The idea of All Souls Day Kittens came to me because many kittens die without even getting a name or being loved by a human. They will all be remembered, not forgotten, these brave souls that come to have an incredible life. These lovely kittens came to love us unconditionally and share their joy, and I want to create awareness thru my art, what will you do to show your support?


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