Kitten Season Is here!
It’s Kitten Season!
Starting in the spring intact female cats, also known as queens, begin giving birth to litters of kittens. Queens that are allowed to roam freely outside will look for places that appear safe, providing shelter and protection from predators to her kittens. Some examples of an outdoor safe place are under bushes or piles of brush, inside holes in a block wall or buildings, crawl spaces, abandoned vehicles, etc. While some of these places seem safe to a queen, they can potentially be putting the kittens in danger.
What should I do if I find a litter of kittens?
The first thing you should do if you find a litter is to leave them where they are. Without touching the kittens visually inspect to see if they are moving, breathing, crying, and appear to be at a healthy weight. If yes, then the kittens are being cared for and their mother is temporarily be away. Over the next 24 hours keep a close eye on the area, watching to see if the queen returns. There are many reasons why a queen will temporarily leave her nest but unless she is injured she will return. It is rare for a queen to abandon her litter!
What should I do if the queen has not returned after 24 hours? If the queen has not returned or the kittens are in real danger- gather the kittens into a basket or cat carrier lined with a blanket. Kittens are unable to regulate their body temperature until around 4 weeks of age relying on litter-mates and their mother to keep them warm.
The second step is to call Arizona Animal Wellness Center or one of the rescues from the list provided. AAWC has “kitten specialists” who are experienced in neonatal care and fostering. If you would like to learn how to raise and bottle feed kittens we would be happy to schedule a time to teach you everything you need to know.
*During the COVID-19 pandemic these specialists are available for zoom consultations. If you would like to schedule a zoom meeting please contact the office by calling 480-988-3660 or texting 480-467-5686.
Seeking advice from friends and family on social media is not always a reliable source of information.
Attempting to have a new mother cat “adopt” the abandoned kittens or introducing a new kitten to an already nursing cat (or any other animal) is not advised. This can potentially be very dangerous for the orphaned kitten(s).
How else can I help?
During kitten season clinics and shelters are often over-loaded with strays and orphaned kittens. Here are some ways you can help:
Arizona Animal Wellness Center has an amazon wish list with items that are in high demand for our strays and orphans. You can purchase directly from the list and amazon will ship those items to our clinic. https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/358TR3PQCOMAD/ref=hz_ls_biz_ex
Have more questions? We’re here to help! Reach out to our kitten specialists through our facebook page, website, or contact our office.
Arizona Animal Wellness Center
3279 E. Pecos Rd l Gilbert, AZ 85295 (480) 988-3660