What If I Trap A Lactating Cat
If a lactating cat is trapped, do not release the cat before having her spayed as she may become suspicious of the trap and difficult to re-trap. If you know the kittens are less than 5 weeks old and not eating on their own, get the mom spayed and then return her to where you trapped her the same day. If the kittens are eating on their own, it is fine to keep mom confined overnight before releasing her. While the mother cat is being spayed keep the kittens warm in a confined area. Although a nursing female cat will continue to feed her kittens after surgery, it is a good idea to have Kitten Replacement Milk on hand and to be ready to bottle-feed the kittens for a couple of days. If the kittens are younger than 4 weeks old, you will need to be prepared to feed them KMR while the mother is having surgery. It is important to get the mother cat back to her kittens as quickly as you can.
What To Do If There Is A Mother Cat
Mom should be trapped and spayed but not until her kittens are able to eat on their own. If she is feral, she should be re-released into the wild after her spay recovery. An adult feral cat cannot be placed for adoption and made a pet. It is highly unlikely that she could ever be tamed. Visit this page for more resources about feral cats and groups that can help with lending traps.
If surrendered to a municipal shelter , she would be euthanized because she cannot be handled by people and wouldnt be a safe pet to have in a home. If someone attempted to handle her, she might injure them.
Is It Ok To Touch Newborn Kittens
Vets recommend not touching kittens unless you have to while their eyes are still closed. You can check on them to make sure theyre healthy and gaining weight, but try to limit direct physical contact. The kittens mother will also let you know how comfortable she is with you handling her babies.
Will a cat reject her kittens if you touch them?
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.
How do you take care of a feral cat and a kitten?
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How To Help Feral Cats
Kitten season is in full swing, and feral cats are frequently having litters in our community. Do you know what you should do if you find a stray kitten while out and about?
First, remember that many times, a baby kitten hasnt been abandoned. Its mama is likely in the middle of moving the other kittens to a safer location, or is off hunting and will return shortly. Here are the Dallas Pets Alive! Trap, Neuter, Return Teams top 5 tips for helping stray kittens.
What Do I Do If I Find Young Kittens And Dont See Their Mother
If you find young kittens and dont see the mother, dont panic and dont disturb the kittens. Mothers often leave their kittens to find food and water, to move the litter to a new location, or to breed. Leave the kittens alone for a few hours or overnight to see if the mother returns. You can put out cat food for the mom and a box that the mother could use to keep her kittens in . Dont disturb the kittens as this may discourage the mother from returning to them, or she may move them away from you. The next step depends on the age of the kittens. If the kittens are 5-6 weeks old and can eat on their own then you can decide either to keep them as your own pets, find them homes on your own, or put them up for adoption through our Kitten Caboose program. You can also take the kittens to your local shelter but remember that the kittens must be friendly in order to get into a shelter and be adopted. Many shelters have wait-lists that can be several weeks long. Most shelters are not able to place kittens that are less than 8 weeks old or kittens that are not tame.
**Do not feed kittens any milk other than Kitten Replacement Milk as they cannot digest other types of milk and it will cause diarrhea.
For more information on bottle-feeding and caring for young kittens visit Alley Cat Allies.
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What To Do If You Find A Stray Kitten
- University of South Carolina
Springtime doesnt just mean warm weather and longer days it also means kittens. And lots of them. With the number of feral cats in the United States estimated to be in the tens of millions, the Humane Society estimates that thousands of kittens are born each day.
If you come across one of these adorable bundles of fur, your first instinct might be to scoop it up and take it home, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cautions that this isnt always in the best interest of the kitten.
Before you rescue any kittens, wait to see if their mother returns. The better-fed and healthier the kitten seems, the more likely it is that a stray kitten’s mom is around. She could be hunting nearby, and taking the kittens away from her puts them in a critical situation, one that requires time-consuming care to keep them alive. However, if a kitten seems critically sick or injured, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Will A Stray Cat Leave Her Kittens
Feral cats dont abandon their kittens. They care for their kittens for a certain amount of time until they encourage them to fend for themselves. A feral cat may leave her kittens unattended for a short time while she goes hunting and finds food, but she doesnt simply leave her kittens for good.
Will a feral cat abandon her kittens?
A Mother cat will leave her kittens for hours at a time. She will NOT return if you are standing over her kittens. The mother cat offers her kittens best chance for survival, so wait and watch as long as you can. The best food for the kittens is their mothers milk.
Should you catch a stray kitten?
Chasing down feral kittens and grabbing them is always a bad idea, even when successful. The stress and anxiety for the kittens can take weeks for them to overcome. I imagine their instinct must convince the kittens that the person chasing them is set upon eating them.
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Taking Your Stray Cat To The Vet
While food and shelter are important, Phillips says that the number one priority, especially if you have other cats, is confirming that the stray cat is healthy. You have to ensure that their basic veterinary needs are being taken care of, so if you can, try to catch the cat and bring her to the vet.
It is important to have a cat carrier when transporting your new cat to the veterinarian. The vast majority of veterinarians will require you to use a cat carrier when bringing any cat to the vet. This helps ensure safety and security for all involved.
Phillips recommends putting food in the crate or cat carrier. First, just let the cat eat in the carrier for a few days. Then, start closing the door a bit while hes eating. Then, close it all the way. Then, try latching it. The key is to do everything gradually, she says. Then, after you visit the vet, keep the carrier out. Keep putting food in it. You want the cat to stay used to the carrier.
For feral or stray cats that may not be familiar with cat carriers, your veterinarian may ask you bring them in a trap.
At the vet, the cat should receive basic vaccinations and be spayed or neutered if she or he isnt already, Phillips says.
Fernandez says that by working with rescue organizations, you can usually find a veterinarian who will do vaccinations and spay/neuter procedures at a reduced cost, or even for free. They may also test for feline leukemia, FIV and parasites, and offer low-cost microchips.
Adopting A Stray Cat Into Your Home
If you are set on adopting this stray cat into your home, and you know they do not belong to someone, then you can begin the transition process. But, before you transition the outdoor stray cat into a domesticated pet, it is essential that you earn the cats trust, bring them for a vet for a checkup and have all the necessary cat supplies ready.
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How To Catch A Stray Cat
If you see a stray cat in your neighborhood, you can catch it humanely using a Havahart or box trap. You can purchase one yourself, but these can often be borrowed from local vets and shelters. Once you have the live trap and are prepared to catch the cat, line the bottom of the trap with newspaper and bait it with food. Take the trap to an area where you usually see the cat and set it. Keep an eye on the trap from a distance and check it frequently. Since cats are nocturnal hunters and feeders, trapping at night may be more successful.
What If I Dont Know Where The Kittens Are
Tell the surgery clinic staff you think she has kittens but do not know where they are when you drop her off for surgery. This way they can make sure she is ready to be released when you take her home. She will find her kittens and they will be able to nurse. Set out a box and canned food for the cat so she has extra nourishment during this time and a safe place to move her kittens to.
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After Determining The Cat Is A Stray
- Provide food, water, and shelter.
- Email SPCA NOVA at to see if we can help. We give priority to friendly stray cats, especially if the cat is sick, malnourished, or injured.
- Do not call email is the fastest way to get help.
Mama Does Not Return To The Nest
If the mother doesnt return to the nest, or you find the kittens in poor health or danger, you may choose to remove the kittens. Here are some great resources if you decide to care for the kittens yourself:
If you cannot care for them or find a home for them, and you live within the city of Fresno limits, you may bring them to the CCSPCA Stray Animal Building, open 7 days a week from 8am to 5pm for drop off. Make sure they are confined in an enclosure if they are friendly. If they are aggressive/feral, we recommend humanely trapping them with a cat trap that can be purchased at a hardware store.
If you have them confined but cannot bring them to our animal shelter, please call our animal control services at 233-7722 Monday-Friday between 8:00am-3:00pm, and we will make arrangements to pick them up. Please know that we are unable to accept any stray animals from other cities or counties, including Fresno County.
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Kittens Younger Than 8 Weeks With Their Mother
Leave Them Be! Kittens who are healthy and thriving with their mother outdoors do not need to be rescued.
Remember: Mother knows best. You cannot replace a mother cats instinctive care. Plus, neonatal kittens need round-the-clock care to survivewhich is challenging for humans to provide. These kittens are unweaned, meaning they still rely on their mothers milk.
Bringing Kittens And Mother Cats To The Local Animal Shelter
Most shelters cannot accommodate the overwhelming amount of kittens and cats during this time. The best thing to do for the shelters and the cats is to leave them outdoors. A shelter can be dangerous for kittens because their immune systems havent fully developed and can stress out the mother cat and impact her health, as well.
It is recommended to bring in stray cats when they are old enough to be spayed or neutered, then return them to their outdoor home. Counties offer spay and neutering programs to help reduce the animal population with little or no cost to the person who found the animal.
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If The Mother Cat Does Not Return
The Mama Cat offers her kittens the absolute best chance for survival, so WAIT and WATCH as long as you can. The best food for kittens is their mothers milk. She will provide them not only with properly balanced nutrition but also much-needed antibodies and immune system support!
Although there are resources to help you, it would be best if you are prepared to see the kittens through at least until getting additional help if you decide to intervene!
The Kitten Socialization Window
Socialization, or the process of becoming friendly to humans, is most successfully achieved during the first 12 weeks of a kittens life. If youve encountered a feral kitten, one of the first things to do is to determine the kittens age and make sure that shes within the age range where socialization will be successful.
Neonatal kittens should be handled at least twice a day to help them become comfortable with humans.
0-5 weeks: Dependent Kittens
Kittens under 5 weeks of age will be dependent on mama for nursing. You can foster a feral mama with her babies, and any interactions you have with the kittens during the first five weeks of life will greatly increase their level of socialization. Feral kittens raised with a feral mama should be handled at least 1-2 times daily for monitoring and light socialization. Orphaned kittens under 5 weeks old will receive plenty of hands-on care through bottle feeding and will generally become socialized within hours to days.
Use mealtime to help weaning kittens gradually accept humans!
5-12 weeks: Transitional Kittens
Older kittens may have a better outcome through TNR.
12+ Weeks: Independent Kittens
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Feeding Schedule For Kittens By Weight And Age
Determining the age of the stray kitten right away is imperative. His age will mandate what hell eat as well as how much and how often.
Using a postal scale, heres a quick guide:
- Under 1 week old: kitten weighs less than 4 ounces. Feed formula: every two to three hours.
- 7 to10 days old: kitten weighs 4 to 6 ounces. Feed formula: every two to three hours.
- 10 to14 days old: kitten weighs 6 to 8 ounces. Feed formula: every three hours.
- 14 to21 days old: kitten weighs 8 to 12 ounces. Feed formula: every four hours.
- 4 to5 weeks old: kitten weighs 12 ounces to 1 pound. Feed mix of gruel/formula/kitten kibble: every four hours.
- 6 to7 weeks old: kitten weighs 1 pound to 1 pound and 8 ounces. Feed mix of kitten kibble and wet food four times a day.
- 8 weeks old: kitten weighs one and a half to 2 pounds. Fully weaned.
Ways You Can Help Stray And Feral Cats
From little to big, there are many ways to help stray and feral cats. Here are some, beginning with one you can do at home:
âAs part of living in a civilized society, it is our obligation to look after those who are weak, sick, or powerless,â says Slater. âOur responsibility includes our domestic animals, whom we took from the wild and made dependent on us.â
Linda P. Case, MS, adjunct assistant professor, University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine author, Canine and Feline Behavior and Training: A Complete Guide to Understanding Our Two Best Friends.
Margaret R. Slater, DVM, PhD, senior director of epidemiology, animal health services, ASPCA, Urbana, Ill author, Community Approaches to Feral Cats: Problems, Alternatives & Recommendations.
Humane Society of the United States: âFeral Cats: Frequently Asked Questionsâ and âTestimonials Describing the Advantages of Trap-Neuter-Return for Feral Cats.â
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab Utah: âCaring for Feral Cats.â
Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, Seattle: âFeeding Stray Cats? Youâre Not Alone.â
ASPCA: âFeral Cats FAQ.â
American Association of Feline Practitioners: âTrap Neuter Return of Feral Cats.â
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Considering The Kittens’ Future
While it remains the choice of the person who raised them, an animal shelter is not always the best next step. Don’t be pacified by a shelter’s reply of “We don’t euthanize”. Most shelters are not transparent with their euthanasia policy and with good reason. They will lose public donations and land in an even worse position to help animals.
It’s not that they are trying to be deceitful. Most are caught in the terrible reality where there are simply too many animals not being adopted. They can only care for so many and unwanted pets keep pouring into shelters.