Abandoned Kittens? How to Be Sure.

Many animals have their young in the spring and cats are no different. We call this “kitty season” because of the phone calls we get from people asking about pregnant or nursing cats and kittens. We get more phone calls from people trying to help “abandoned kittens.” Why the quotes? More often than not, the kitties aren’t “abandoned.”

It seems absurd to us that momma cats will leave their kittens alone for hours at a time. Us humans rarely leave our kids out of our sight – especially when they’re babies. When someone finds a litter of kittens without the mom around, it’s easy to conclude the mother has left and the kittens need help. They then decide to “help” the kittens, which isn’t always the best decision.

How To Know If You Should Help

  • Do not move the kittens unless there is danger and you have to intervene. If you have to move them, put them nearby so the mom can see or hear them calling. There’s a good chance the mom might be out stretching her legs or grabbing something to eat. You’d want a break too if you had to take care of that many babies at once!
  • Bust out your spy gear and watch the kittens from a distance for 12-24 hours to see if the mom returns. It isn’t uncommon for the mom to be away for hours at a time. If you don’t have time to be on super-spy surveillance that long, sprinkle some flour around the kittens. If the mom comes back, she’ll leave flour paw prints.
  • If the kittens disappear, don’t panic. This is actually a good sign. Chances are the mom moved her kittens because she felt they were in danger. It’s not uncommon for cats to move their young several times.
  • If the time has passed and the kittens look unkempt and there is no sign of the mom, it is time to consider them abandoned. The important part is to wait long enough to be absolutely sure.
  • A lot of people think taking care of kittens is a piece of cake. But, caring for kittens is like caring for newborns. Young kittens that aren’t eating solid food are a lot of work. It is best for the kittens to grow up with their mom.

The Mom Didn’t Return. Now What?

  • If you do not have the time to take on the responsibility of caring for the kittens, please call us at Central Pet Care. We will give you the numbers of agencies in the area that can handle kittens. Please remember that “kitty season” is one of the busiest times of the year and some places might not be able to help.
  • If you are able to foster the kittens, you might be put on a waiting list until a spot becomes available.
  • If the agencies do not have a spot for the kittens, they are still a great resource. Be sure to ask for tips and tricks to help with your transition on becoming a momma cat.

Just remember to be patient and do what you can. We know how hard it is to resist kitten cuteness, but letting their mom take care of them is the best thing you can do.

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