- First of all – don’t panic. Observe and leave the kittens alone — make sure they have been abandoned before you take action. You’ll often find that their mother is simply out looking for food or for a good place to move them. Take note of the exact location so you can share the address and description of where the kittens are located if you find that they have been abandoned.
- Contact your local animal shelter to get the contact information for your local community cat or TNR program. These groups will be able to determine if the mother comes back in a normal time frame or if the kittens will need to be bottle fed.
- Though it may go against your instincts, don’t immediately scoop kittens up and take them to the shelter.
- If the mother does not come back and you are willing to volunteer with your local group to care for the kittens, please first read Best Friends’ resource article “Feeding and Caring for Bottle Babies.”
- If the mother does return, keep your eye on her and the kittens until they are old enough to be trapped, spayed or neutered and returned to the area they came from. TNR is not only the most humane method of preventing cats from entering the shelter system, it’s the most effective. (Editor’s note: Often, the kittens can be tamed and adopted into homes if you catch them at a young age. I’ve also had some luck with taming some of the adults.)
Want to help community cats?
- Best Friends Animal Society has volunteer opportunities in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Baltimore, Albuquerque, DeKalb County, Georgia, St. George, Utah and the Four Directions program for rural southern Utah.
- The Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network of local animal rescue groups and shelters has more than 250 groups nationwide that are involved in helping community cats.
- Your local animal rescue groups and shelters can put you in touch with the community cat programs that are not affiliated with Best Friends, you also can do an internet search to find groups in your area. “Bottle feeding is a very rewarding but also incredibly demanding endeavor, so make sure you have the time, resources and a suitable home to care for the kittens,” said Dankert. “And please also remember how important it is to spay and neuter your pets. This is the single most important thing we can do to prevent unwanted litters. Best Friends has an education campaign called Fix at Four and you can enter your zip code to find local veterinarians and low-cost spay/neuter clinics.”
Find out more
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