What do I do when I’ve found a litter of kittens?
It is a question that gets asked hundreds of times throughout kitten season. Sadly, many shelters become too full to accept kittens who may be unsocial or too young to be put up for adoption.
Below are five easy steps to help you navigate kitten season while also making a difference in the life of our feline friends.
#1 LOOK, WAIT, WATCH
At first, keep your distance to determine if the kittens have a mother who may just be out gathering food for them. Put blades of grass or twigs on tiny kittens as a way to see if Mom came back without hovering. You don’t want to scare her away! The mother cat will always offer them a better chance of survival. If you don’t see the mom within eight hours, they are most likely orphans.
#2 CARE IN PLACE
Leave the family together, while providing food, water and shelter until the kittens can eat on their own. If there is no mom and kittens are too young to be spayed or neutered, assess whether you have the capabilities, time and resources to help care for them in place. Check out our “Caring for Bottle Babies” brochure for more information and instructions on Care in Place.
Affordable spay/neuter services are available throughout the Valley. Once of age – approximately 8 weeks old – and provided the kittens are tame and social, be sure to get them spayed or neutered. It is also imperative that the mother cat be fixed or you may find yourself in the same predicament just months later. Females can go into heat and get pregnant while nursing.
#4 HELP FIND HOMES
Nationally, 74 percent of people take in cats from their neighbors or surrounding areas. If you have found that you have the time and resources to help kittens as they grow, be on the search for friends, family, coworkers or neighbors who are looking to adopt a loving feline.
If the mother cat and/or kittens are not tame and able to be handled, call the Spay Neuter Hotline at 602.265.SPAY in order to Trap-Neuter-Return the cats to their natural environment where they can live out the rest of their lives.
For additional information on outdoor cats, visit somanycats.org.