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The hard work of saving the cutest: Oklahoma’s only neonatal kitten rescue operation

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STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA -- They arrive with eyes closed and stomachs empty, a litter at a time, as many as 100 in a month.

"These guys came from Stilwater Animal Welfare," says Bottle Feeding Coordinator Rennee Huddleston.

These are the orphaned or abandoned kittens of Oklahoma, the lucky ones who make it to Tiny Paws Kitten Rescue, the state's only on site neonatal facility for orphaned felines.

"All kittens all the time," remarks a visitor.

"Yes," says Director Holly Chapples. "And that's the way we like it."

They often come in sick, covered with parasites, and in need of round the clock care.

Huddleston says these little ones need a bottle once every two to four hours.

"24-7," she smiles. "Round the clock bottle feeding."

Back in 2004 Holly Chapples ran the Stillwater Humane Society shelter.

When she quit, the kitten rescue operation for the city went to her house.

In 2013 her organization took over an abandoned building near downtown and watched the kittens pour in.

"There's such a need for this," says Chapples. "There are a lot of orphaned kittens that need help."

They've seen 4,000 since Holly started.

They're here from birth to 3 months.

A precious few are here for longer, like Agave, found as kitten in the bottom of a trash can, with a broken spine.

Board President Dee Dutt runs through a few of the many expenditures required to save a kitten's life.

"We go through milk replacement. We go through canned food, dry food. We go through litter, baby wipes, paper towels."

This bunch of orphans is ready to graduate, un-afraid of humans or cameras, curious and playful.

It's been a busy spring as you can see, but the Tiny Paws life saving footprint is getting bigger all the time.

Tiny Paws boasts 80 volunteers but there are always more needed.

The non-profit organization relies on sponsorship and donations to keep their doors open.

To help out or to learn more go to or find them on Facebook under Tiny Paws Kitten Rescue.

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