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Mollie is a recent alum of the San Diego Humane Society’s Jim Lester Kitten Nursery & Foster Center, one of 27,000 baby kittens saved since it opened in 2009. Courtesy photo
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Celebrating 15 years of saving kittens

San Diego Humane Society’s Jim Lester Kitten Nursery & Foster Center is dedicated to saving thousands of tiny lives each year. In fact, since the nursery opened in 2009, it has saved more than 27,000 baby kittens — an incredible feat considering orphaned kittens are among the most vulnerable animals to enter shelters. 

Now open for its 15th season, the Lester Kitten Nursery was once the first facility of its kind in the nation. It was created to meet the unique needs of neonate kittens, or kittens under eight weeks of age. 

Neonate kittens are one of the most at-risk populations to enter shelters because of the time and resources needed to keep them alive. But San Diego Humane Society is dedicated to finding solutions for the most challenging issues in animal welfare, and this nursery was the innovative solution the organization needed to address the influx of orphaned kittens who come into their care every year. 

Since launching in 2009, San Diego Humane Society now has nurseries at their San Diego, Escondido and Oceanside campuses. And today, an extensive network of specially trained foster volunteers plays a key role in this lifesaving work. These dedicated fosters raise kittens in their homes and provide around-the-clock care until the babies are big enough for adoption. 

Mollie, a recent alum of the program, came to San Diego Humane Society at only a few weeks old. She was underweight and in need of close monitoring, around-the-clock feedings and nutrient dense food to gain the weight necessary to thrive.

With the help of her caretakers at San Diego Humane Society and a dedicated foster volunteer, Mollie made great strides and now shares a family with a cat-loving Siberian husky. 

As San Diego Humane Society celebrates the Lester Kitten Nursery’s 15th anniversary season, the organization will welcome thousands of kittens like Mollie this year alone. 

The Lester Kitten Nursery is a cornerstone of San Diego Humane Society’s ability to Stay at Zero euthanasia of healthy or treatable shelter animals, and it sets our community apart from other regions where orphaned baby kittens often have nowhere to turn.

To learn more about how the San Diego Humane Society is making a difference for kittens, and how you can support their work by donating or becoming a foster volunteer, visit  

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