With spring and summer comes warm weather, and with warm weather comes…kitten season. This might sound adorable, but in reality it places a huge strain on the resources of shelters all over the country and in many cases the lives of these tiny, innocent kittens are at risk.
It is not uncommon for Good Samaritans to discover a litter of these precious infants under a porch or tucked away in a row of bushes, and with the best intentions, they will remove the kittens and bring them to an animal shelter. The problem is that many of these kittens had a mother cat that was caring for them.
If you find a litter of unweaned kittens, avoid the initial temptation to remove them right away. Instead, monitor the area to see whether a mother cat returns to care for them. Chances are, a mother is nearby foraging for food and will soon return. The kittens’ chance for survival is greatest when left with a mother. If after monitoring the area for a reasonable period of time (2-3 hours), it becomes clear the mother is not returning, then you can remove the kittens in order to feed them and provide other necessary care. (If the mother returns, it is still important that she, along with the kittens once they are 8 weeks old, are spayed and neutered)
If you have already ensured the kittens you have found do not have a mother, we appreciate your opening your heart and home to them so that they may be guaranteed a second chance at a happy and healthy future. The Richmond SPCA can provide you with all the supplies, support and guidance you will need to successfully care for these stray orphans. By following the care instructions on our website, you can help save a life!
The Richmond SPCA transferred more than 900 kittens into our care from local government shelters in 2011. Additionally, we brought hundreds more kittens into our center that were found by Good Samaritans. These kittens are in need of your support as well. You can open your home to them as part of our Meet the Fosters program. In our next post, we'll tell you how to get involved.
Tamsen Kingry is the chief operating officer at the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.
How and When to Care for and Socialize Feral Kittens (Alley Cat Allies)
Related Richmond SPCA blog posts:
April 9, 2012: Help us gather supplies needed for "kitten season" this spring
April 13, 2012: Getting involved: Foster care volunteers tout great rewards in saving infant kitten lives