DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Officials with SICSA are giving residents a heads up as “Kitten Season” approaches. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you start to see stray kittens in your neighborhood.
As spring approaches and the weather starts to get warmer, more litters of kittens will be born to stray or feral mother cats.
It is common for citizens to see these litters of kittens left unattended in their neighborhoods, yards, or local parks, and assume that they have been abandoned. This is not always the case, and in many cases, people who remove them and bring them in to animal shelters may actually cause more harm in the long run by taking these kittens away from their mother.
“More often than not, the mother cat has just left the area to locate food, relieve herself, or seek a moment of quiet time. Removing the litter can be detrimental to the kittens’ survival because their mother is best equipped to meet their needs – even better than our fine group of staff members and foster volunteers who frequently care for kittens at the adoption center,” states Megan Dell, SICSA’s Veterinary Clinic Manager.
If you come across a litter of kittens who appear to be unattended, SICSA recommends that you do the following:
- First, please leave them undisturbed and refrain from touching them. It’s important to allow the mother cat to return and care for her offspring. Stay far enough away from the litter that you can observe them but not frighten the mother cat from returning to her kittens.
- Use the “Wait and Watch” approach: leave the kittens undisturbed for a few hours (if they are 0-4 weeks old) or overnight (if the kittens are older) to see if the mother returns.
- If the mother doesn’t come back, you can safely remove the kittens.
- If the mother returns, then wait until the litter is weaned (at least 6 weeks old) before you remove them.
- If the mother cat and kittens are friendly and you want to take them home, call SICSA at 937-294-6505 for helpful tips before removing them.
- Placing fresh water and cat food nearby can help the mother cat while she is nursing, but not too close to their location – it may attract other stray cats to the area.
- If the mother cat or her kittens demonstrate signs of distress or illness, a veterinarian should be consulted.