What To Do With Found Kittens
May 9th, 2019
I am often asked what to do with found kittens! Last July I wrote about fostering kittens, and now with kitten season underway once again I feel it is a good time to revisit the topic. If you are available to help, we need you! . However, to answer that frequently asked question, here is what you can do if you stumble upon kittens:
First, observe the kittens from a distance. The kittens may seem to be abandoned, however, the mother cat may not be far away. She could be hunting, or she could be hiding, waiting for you to get away from her babies. Wait a few hours before disturbing the kittens unless they are in obvious danger. Are the kittens sleeping and seem content? The mother is probably around and nearby. If you check the area again and there are fewer kittens, the mother is most likely moving them to a new area. If you cannot be sure, sprinkle flour around where the kittens are located and look for paw prints in the disturbed flour when you revisit the site. If you determine that the mother is present, continue to observe the family from a distance, she will most likely move the kittens to a new area. It is best for the mother to nurse them as they will have a greater chance of survival until about six weeks, when the kittens should be socialized by humans. When the kittens have reached that age you can bring them to your local animal care center.
We hope you will consider joining us in fostering kittens!
If The Mother Cat Returns
If mama returns and the area is relatively safe, leave the kittens alone with mama until they are about 6 weeks old or weaned. You can offer a shelter and regular food to mama to keep her in this location so that you rescue them all when they are older. Keep the food and shelter at a distance from each other. Mama will find the food but will not accept your shelter if the food is nearby, because she will not want to attract other cats to food located near her nest.
Six weeks is the optimal age to take the kittens from mama for socialization and to prepare them for adoption when they are over 8 weeks old and 2 lbs in weight. Female cats can become pregnant with a new litter even while they are still nursing, so trap mama at the same time you take the kittens. Otherwise, she may split and have more babies right away that youll have to rescue you need to break this cycle by trapping and fixing mama right away. Do not wait because you feel overwhelmed with the kittens or dont have space. The extra work now will greatly pay off for you in the long run!
Helping Abandoned Stray Cats And Kittens
The following is an excerpt from the Petfinder Blog.
Almost every summer, Carol goes out on the porch of her remote rural home and discovers an unfamiliar feline face. Another cat or kitten has been thoughtlessly abandoned during the night.
Carol is a senior citizen, and all of her own cats are fixed. Her income is fixed as well, and she has no money for vet visits for new cats.
Yet the abandonment continues.
I volunteer with a feral-cat trap/neuter/return group in addition to my job with Petfinder. We helped neuter Carols outdoor cats in 2002 , so luckily we are there to help when new cats appear in her life. When my phone rang this Sunday, the news was particularly bad: Two female cats and three tiny kittens had been left at Carols door.
Abandonment of domestic animals is illegal. In New York State it is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or a year in prison. However, its hard to catch someone who merely slows down and tosses a cat alongside a country road or leaves a box of kittens at a campground.
If you wander outside one day with your morning coffee and are greeted by the forlorn mews of an abandoned cat or kittens, you might be tempted to hope they will just go away. However, ignoring them will only make the situation worse. A dumped pregnant cat may shortly have kittens beneath your porch. Healthy kittens, abandoned without their mother, will soon starve or become ill or injured.
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I’ve Found A Stray Cat With Kittens What Should I Do
If mum and kittens appear to be free from sickness or injury and are located in a safe area then at this time it’s best to leave them alone. If you spot a mum and kittens, it’s best to keep your distance so as not to risk disturbing them. It’s important not to move kittens or mum unless they’re in danger as being moved may put the kittens at risk. In addition to the risk of disturbance, the mum might have an owner nearby already looking for her so it’s best to leave them be but you can help in other ways.
Please try to see if the mum has an owner by posting on local social media groups or speaking to neighbours to see if anybody knows her. In addition, you can and a paper cat collar so people know to get in touch with you if they have any information.
If you can’t find an owner and you think mum is a stray, it’s a good idea to call your local animal rescue for advice. They may talk to you about giving a helping hand by providing food, water and outside shelter to help protect mum and kittens from extreme weather.
If mum and/or the kittens look to be suffering from sickness or injury, phoning a local vet for advice is the best and quickest way to help. It’s important that mum and kittens stay together. If you need to transport the mum and kittens and are not able to do so safely, please call your local rescue charity or our advice line on 0300 1234 999. Never put yourself in danger.
Unable To Care For The Kittens Yourself
DoNOT take the kittensto an animal shelter. See if a friend or family member can care for them, or contact local rescues, animal protection groups, or advocates. You may be able to find such advocates near you through Alley Cat Allies Feral Friends Network®. Find a member in your area at alleycat.org/FindFeralFriends.
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Determine If The Cat Looks Sick Or Healthy We Are Only Encouraging People To Complete The Following Steps If A Cat Looks Sick Or Injured
We know it can be difficult to resist bringing them to the shelter, but most community cats are perfectly fine and are being cared for by one or even multiple people in the neighborhood. You can provide food and water, and watch for any illness or injury to occur, but if the cat currently looks healthy we strongly recommend you leave it alone.
How To Identify An Independent Kitten
An independent kitten will:
- Be capable or urinating and defecating without assistance from their mother
- Eat solid food
- Be able to walk
- Be able to play
If the kitten is not capable of any of the above, they’re deemed still dependent on their mother. If this is the case and the kitten is alone, please get in touch with us via our helpline on 0300 1234 999.
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What To Do If The Stray Kitten Does Not Have A Mother
If you have determined the stray kitten does not have a mother, his greatest chance for survival begins with you. The first thing youll need to do is capture the stray kitten. For some kittens, this is as easy as reaching out and scooping them up. For others, you may need to contact a local animal society or shelter to obtain the humane traps often used in TNR. Simply place the trap out with some food inside, and wait nearby. The kitten should wander in and trigger the trap to close its door. Kittens do not get hurt in the process!
Next, get the stray kitten to a veterinarian for a checkup ASAP. If the vets office is closed, youll have to start his care right away. Even if you cant foster a stray kitten long term, youll be a lifeline during this first phase of rescue.
Containing and monitoring the formerly stray kitten is key to his health and well-being. A dog crate is perfect. To keep him toasty, place a covered heating pad in his crate and keep the room temperature at 75 degrees. The heating pad should cover only half the crate so he can get away from it. Watch for panting you dont want him to get overheated either. A cold or limp kitten indicates a medical emergency.
Mama Returns And You Can Leave It To Nature
If, upon rechecking the nest of kittens, you find that their mother has returned, you can rest easier and let nature take its course. She is the best bet that they will survive. Feel free to monitor the situation and make sure that the newborns are progressing, kept fed, and relatively safe from predators or other dangerous situations.
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What’s The Difference Between Stray And Feral Cats
There are often different terms used to describe cats and it can get a little confusing. We consider feral cats to be free-roaming cats who predominantly live independently from people. Feral cats are unsocialised and are likely to be very elusive – they are generally scared of people and less friendly towards them.
However, stray cats typically have some reliance on people and are more tolerable. They live amongst us much more than feral cats do and they often live in towns or villages because of the opportunity for food. Many stray cats haven’t been socialised with people as kittens and have no experience of living in a domestic home. However, within this ‘group’ you often find individuals who have been lost or abandoned and have previously lived with people.
How To Manage Scratching
Try these tips for your kittys claws. Nail clippers are easier to use than you think, and usually you only need to clip the front claws. Don’t cut the central pink part, or “quick” — the blood supply to the nail. Gently press the foot pads to extend the nail before clipping. Your vet can show you how. Scratching posts let cats do the work. Claw caps are tiny vinyl sleeves that fit over your cats claws, keeping them from doing damage.
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What Should I Do With A Sick Or Injured Stray/feral Cat
If you find an injured stray or feral cat and they’re approachable, please confine them and take them to a vet, if possible. If this is not possible, please get in contact with us on 0300 1234 999.
If taking a sick/injured stray cat to the vets and the cat just needs minimum care, you might be expected to take the cat away and fit a paper collar if needed.
How To Set Up A Safe Nursery
A nursery needs safety and silence. Placing their basket where your toddler twins and Great Dane regularly gallop through is not ideal. Look for a room such as a study or guest room and keep the door closed to keep sounds down.
Older kittens are prone to be on edge when they are moved into the home. There are new smells and sounds – and they have to deal with humans for the first time. They will settle faster in a safe, quiet and warm environment. That being said, some kittens take to home life quickly and with flair. They just need to feel that they are safe and cared for. Soon, you will have a bunch of tiny clowns on your hands.
If you plan on keeping the kitten, they should be carefully introduced to your other pets to avoid stress and aggression on both sides.
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Do Mom Cats Forget Their Kittens
Mother cats take good care of their kittens, but after the weaning stage, they will tend to forget about them since the bond between mother and kittens will weaken. At around 10 to 12 weeks, the mother cat will most likely resent the kittens since at this time they are ready to be independent and on their own.
What Do I Do If I Find Kittens
Its Spring, the season of adorable baby animals, and that means kittens are going to be out in abundance! Already, we have been inundated with requests from kind members of the public to help with small kittens that have been found in sheds and under houses. If you find yourself with a surprise family in your backyard, we have some tips to help you help them.
If you find a litter of kittens become a covert-op spy:
If you find a litter of kittens its best not to assume that kittens have been abandoned. Whether its to hunt for food, perform perimeter checks, or just for a little break mother cats will leave their kittens for periods of time during the day. Sometimes, she may even be in the process of moving them to a new location when you stumble across them. She will do this one at a time, and only if she thinks you arent looking!
The best thing you can do is observe them from a safe distance , secret agent style. Check every hour or so to see if the mother returns. If you spy her moving her kittens about its best she thinks you havent seen her, or shell likely move them again for safetys sake.
Helping the cat-family:
What to do if the mother cat has not come back:
For info about Maneki Neko, and their upcoming Kitten Shower to raise funds for rearing kittens click here, or check them out on
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Five Things To Do With A Found Cat
Printable Paper Collars For Cats
If you’ve found a cat and you’re unsure as to whether it has an owner, use our handy paper collars. Here’s what to do:
- Print out the template here
- Write your contact telephone number in the space provided and cut out one collar
- Ensure the fitted collar allows for two fingers to be placed between the collar and cat’s neck, to make sure the cat isn’t harmed
- If you get no response from the owner, call your local Cats Protection branch. You can find your local branch by typing in your postcode in our Find us page
For more advice on what to do, .
Which Situation Am I Dealing With
A good clue is to look at the kittens’ physical appearance. If they look well-fed, then that means the mother is still caring for them. Yet, you might feel worried that perhaps she got hit by a car or had an accident because the little ones look like they skipped a meal or two. That is a legitimate worry.
Here are some additional reasons the mother might be gone.
- At that moment, she could be out hunting for food.
- Feral mothers are known to move their litters around. She could be away because she’s carrying the next kitten to a new nest.
- She could be nearby but refuse to show herself because there is a human near her young.
- Female cats are dedicated parents but some will abandon their offspring.
Retreat a good distance away. This will allow the mother to think that you’ve gone and she might return. However, keep an eye on the situation because if she fails to show up the babies face starvation, cold nights and undesirable characters hearing their cries. Even if they are in good condition, don’t wait hours and definitely not until the next morning.
Cat Characteristics Guide And What To Do Next
If you have found a healthy cat and think it may need to come in, a helpful first step is to determine what kind of cat you have found by using the Cat Type Guide below. Because Edmonton has both a large feral cat population and a substantial population of domestic cats that roam on public property, it can be difficult to determine how best to help a cat that appears lost.
These categories do not have solid boundaries and one cat can often fit into several categories. Understanding the differences helps determine what care a particular cat requires.
- Are not accustomed to the outdoors often found hiding, scared, hungry and difficult to approach
- Will not have roamed too far from its home
- Start to lose weight over time their coats will begin to get dull/matted and unhealthy looking
- Often have injuries such as scratches, breaks or frostbite
What To Do Next
- Will be familiar with roaming outdoors and are comfortable in their surroundings
- Will be in healthy condition and are likely very friendly and approachable
- Roam large territory and may have specific places they visit often
What To Do Next
- A cat with a collar and a bell is often a good sign that its owners know it is out.
- Owned outdoor cats should only be brought to ACCC if it is injured, in distress or unhealthy, or meet any of the other criteria for priority intake.
What To Do Next
What To Do Next
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