What to do (and NOT do) if you find an abandoned kitten or litter
As we go into 2016 my strongest wish is that we won’t have any abandoned babies to raise this year. As much as I love these tiny bundles of joy, I can never give them what their mother can, no human substitute can… and babies belong with their mothers when at all possible. There were numerous litters that were brought in last year that shouldn’t have been… by people that meant well but interfered too soon…
Before you scoop up a litter of “abandoned” kittens, please be SURE the kittens are actually abandoned.
How do you tell?
If you find a single kitten wandering on its own or a litter dumped in a box or bag, you should rescue them immediately. They were probably abandoned by an unscrupulous and heartless human. In cases like this they will need urgent care, including keeping them warm and feeding them kitten formula NOT cow’s milk! In an emergency goats milk can be used for a short period of time, it doesn’t provide all the nutrients the kittens need but it won’t give them diarrhea and dehydrate them like cows milk does. Please contact your vet or us for help or instructions on hand raising kittens.
If you find a litter of kittens together in a nest:..
The mother cat may be out looking for food, or may have been scared off by your presence and is hiding very close by waiting for you to leave. She will be VERY upset if you take her kittens and sadly, your effort to “save” them might actually be a death sentence as despite our best efforts there is usually a 15% to 20% loss of life in hand reared kittens.
Clean kittens who are sleeping soundly are probably not abandoned… if the kittens aren’t in imminent danger, wait and observe them from a distance for an hour or two. You can put them in a little box with a soda bottle, or something similar, full of hot water if you’re worried about them being cold. A mother cat will NOT “reject” kittens that have been touched by humans.
You can try scattering flour around the nest and leave the area completely for a while. Look for paw prints in the flour when you come back. If there are signs that mama cat has been back but she is afraid of you and runs away, she is probably feral, meaning she was born outside and has never been around humans, and should stay outside with her kittens.
You should give her as much space as possible and not interfere with her. You can set up some sort of shelter nearby in the hopes that she might use it, and of course she will appreciate a steady source of food and water. Nursing mothers need lots of extra calories, so it’s best to feed dry kitten food if possible.
Kittens should only be removed from their nest if there is no evidence of a mother cat after several hours, or if the kittens seem to be in imminent danger or distress.
Please contact us when the kittens start eating on their own at 6 to 8 weeks old to get the mother cat trapped, neutered and returned to her babies or you will have another litter within a couple of months nd if you have unsterilized pets please have hen sterilized and become part of the solution… not part of the problem.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent then please contact us with your name and phone number, or alternatively you can apply here… it’s hard work, long hours but incredibly rewarding.
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