Kitten season is well underway, and although we are a dog rescue, we love our feline friends!
We frequently get requests for help about cats and kittens and think it's important to share some information on what to do if you find kittens.
Just last week we got a call about a cat who had just given birth to her kittens outside someone's front door. It was the middle of July, in Las Vegas, so the weather was over 100°, and these newborns were in the rocks. One might think the best thing to do is hurry and get those kittens, but before you hurry and swoop up the kittens, it is very important to assess the situation first. At this young age they need their mother more then anything else.
Our friends at Alley Cat Allies are some of the most knowledgeable in this area, as their life's mission is to help cats, both feral and housed. Their website has tons of information to review and can give you a plan of action for every scenario you may encounter.
If Momma Cat is Friendly, and Socialized
If mom is friendly your approach will be completely different then with a feral/untamed mother cat. In the instance of last week, this mother cat was shy, but friendly. We sent a volunteer over to the location to see, and after about an hour of patiently coaxing the momma cat she was able to pick her up and place her and her kittens in a carrier. Even in the instance of a tame cat it is important to only take the kittens if you can take the mother. If the cat doesn't trust you right away, provide food and water and try and gain her trust over several days, but do not separate from any kittens under 8 weeks of age.
Once you bring them inside we suggest checking out how to set up a puuuurfect spot for them, via The Kitten Lady's Website. It is very easy to take care of a mom and her babies, as she will do most of the work for their first 6 weeks of life. If you can not provide foster care we suggest reaching out to local rescues, friends, or family who may be able to watch them while finding a rescue. You also have the option to find them all loving homes yourself, if you chose to do this please have them all spayed/neutered before they go to their new homes.
Our city shelters (Animal Foundation and Henderson Animal Shelter) are both open admission shelters, which means they have to take EVERY animal people bring in. This means, unfortunately they have to euthanize (put to sleep) animals when they run out of space. Due to the extreme volume of animals in and out of the shelter, we also believe it is not the safest place for babies because of disease and sickness.
Please check out a local list of rescues who may be able to take them in. Please consider fostering them, many rescues are short on fosters, but will offer to take them in if you can foster. Typically all supplies will be provided, and all you need to do is supply love and care.
If Momma Is Feral (Untamed)
You should be able to establish very quickly if a mom is feral. She will avoid human interaction, hide, or run. Feral cats do not want to be pet, and will avoid human interaction. TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) is the best option for this mom and her kittens. Unless the kittens are injured, or sick, please leave them with their mom if they're under 8 weeks old.
Ways to help a feral cat and her kittens:
LVV Humane Society
Picture guide on determining a kittens age
With your help we can help reduce the death of cats, both tame and community cats. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org