Pet Connections

Animal Friends

What is Kitten Season?

At Animal Friends, each spring marks the beginning of what is known by many as kitten season. And, it’s not quite as fun as it sounds.

As the weather gets warmer, stray and feral cats are preparing to welcome newborn kittens after a long winter. But, in 2017 alone, Animal Friends brought in 896 homeless kittens! With such an influx of cats in need of help right away and a limited amount of space and resources, kitten season can be a very difficult time.

The sudden spike in the cat population this spring means you may encounter a litter of kittens in a window well, a garage or tucked away from view in your garden. If you come across unexpected new neighbors, there are some importing things to keep in mind …

Do not pick up or move the kittens.

Mother cats may leave their kittens alone for several hours while they are out finding food or searching for a safe location to move them to. If you’re watching a litter of kittens, keep an eye out for mom. She’s likely nearby and could be returning shortly. Newborn kittens should never be taken away from their mother if at all possible.

If you’re certain a litter is abandoned, know what to do.

While the best case scenario is always to keep a mother and her kittens together, this is not always feasible with stray litters. Keep in mind that kittens require a constant heat source and must eat every 2-4 hours. They cannot drink dairy milk or water, so it’s very important to have a plan before taking in a litter of kittens. When in doubt, always contact a shelter to ask for instructions.

Once the kittens are in our care, their fight is just beginning.

Stray kittens are often exposed to fleas, upper respiratory problems and countless other medical complications. With very fragile immune systems, kittens less than 4 weeks old require 24-hour supervision and must receive deworming and flea treatments every 2 weeks. When they reach 2 pounds, they are spayed or neutered, helping to proactively decrease the number of unwanted animals in our region. And, once they reach 2 ½ pounds and are given a clean bill of health by our Medical team, the kittens are ready to be adopted!

You can do your part to help Animal Friends combat kitten season by sponsoring a spay or neuter surgery, adopting a cat or kitten or donating an item on Animal Friends’ Amazon Wish List. For more information, visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.

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