Found Kittens Outside?
By: Judy Lore, AVHS Volunteer
Perhaps you’re taking a walk through your neighborhood or you are cleaning out under your porch and find a litter of newborn or very young kittens. What should you do now? Following are some suggestions from Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit that deals with this on a daily basis and particularly in the summer months when so many kittens arrive.
First, your local shelter Ark-Valley Humane Society has a link on their website that gives you advice about how to handle this situation. Go to www.ark-valley.org and look for this link: www.ark-valley.org/kitten-
Oftentimes, the mother of those sweet kittens is off searching for food and will return to continue caring for her brood. After all, she still has to hunt in order to feed herself and her young ones, and it can be very traumatic for all involved if she returns to see the kittens have been moved/taken away by a well meaning human. If you can observe the litter for a while and you see a mother return, it is best to leave the kittens alone until they are no longer nursing from her (often around 8 weeks). Removing kittens less than eight weeks old is detrimental to their well-being, as they need the antibodies from their mothers milk to build a strong immune system. Go to alleycat.org/LeaveThemBe for detailed information and answers to all your questions. Their site is extensive and is a great informative resource.
If you are able to start socializing the kittens around humans as they grow older, they may be able to find adoptive homes through Ark-Valley Humane Society. If they are less social AVHS also partners with some vet clinics in town to cover the cost of TNR, or trap, neuter, return. Check out ark-valley.org for more information on this program. This will help cut down the feral population over time. Please also have the mother cat spayed too! Otherwise this same problem may occur just a few months later. They can then be returned to their outdoor area, or call AVHS at 719-395-2737. If the kitten shows signs of becoming socialized they could be fostered for adoption if you have the means to do so, For more info check alleycat.org/AdoptionTips. This requires a lot of time and it is recommended that if no progress is shown return them to their outdoor home areas where they can fend for themselves with the rest of their group.
You can help the mama cat and her kittens while outdoors by providing water, some food and shelter. Alleycat.org/BestPractices and alleycat.org/ShelterGallery provide more details.
If you think the kittens and mama cat are in danger or sickly, you could bring them inside to a small room or into a large dog crate with a blanket over it and call your local shelter or check with the AlleyCats.org website for more details. I hope this helps you in deciding how to go about protecting these kittens and their hard-working mother.
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