It’s that time of year again. We are not talking about mud season, spring blossom time, or plan-your-garden season. We want to talk about Kitten Season.
Spring is when animals reproduce. For cats, it is just the start as they can keep on reproducing until the weather turns cold again. In our area, kitten season starts in early spring and lasts until fall. We are already host to four litters of newborns and their moms and we expect more.
Some of the most vulnerable babies are those who do not have their moms to take care of them. Very young orphan kittens require around-the-clock care, and their situation is very precarious. We are prepared for orphans. But we want to make sure that kittens are truly abandoned or orphaned. A feral mom living outdoors is better suited to caring for her babies than people are.
What do you do if you find tiny kittens? First, try to determine their age. Kittens under two weeks old will still have their eyes closed or are just barely starting to open them. From about two to four weeks, eyes will be open, kittens are alert, and they will be moving around more. From four to six weeks, they are mobile and talkative and may be starting to eat solid food. All kittens under six weeks old are better with their mom. If you see a mother cat, leave the kittens where they are.
If you find little ones under six weeks old, and don’t immediately see their mother- don’t take them away just yet. A kitten’s best chance of survival is with her. If you don’t see the mom, she may be off hunting, or may not come around if people are present. Watch for her to come back for a few hours. Leave a ring of flour around the kittens, then check for mom’s footprints in the flour. If you see her or see evidence that she’s caring for the kittens, leave them where they are. You can help by providing shelter, food, & water. You can also work with Second Chance or another spay/neuter group to have Mom and kittens spayed/neutered and vaccinated when they’re ready. Kittens can be spayed and neutered as young as 8 weeks of age if they are healthy and weigh at least 2 pounds.
After waiting and monitoring, if you still don’t see the mother cat or evidence that she is checking on the babies, you should take action. Without Mom to care for them, kittens will require round-the-clock care including bottle-feeding. If you cannot provide this care, contact Second Chance or another local shelter or rescue.
Kittens over six weeks old are active, playful, fuzzy little bundles, who no longer need their mother’s constant care. These babies should be handled differently. If the kittens are healthy, friendly & social, utilize social media and your personal network to try to place them in homes. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask if we have the space and resources to help.
My name is Felicia. I came to Second Chance way back in August. I was a kitten who was born to a feral mother. Since then, I’ve grown into a beautiful young lady who has learned to trust people. Other cats just love me, especially my best friend Sky. We’d love to find a home together.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have served San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties since 1994. Adoption hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Our Community Veterinary Services are available by appointment. View our shelter pets and services online: www.secondchancehumane.org