Unfortunately, Eves (A496096) owner had to move into an assisted living and could no longer look after her. She was described as “relaxed”. . . social, people-friendly, calm and likes cuddling. “One volunteer reported that she was a treasure and nudged you and got you noticed. Give Eve her new home forever and get the opportunity to learn all about Eve for yourself! (Pasadena Humane)
It’s that time again. As the weather warms up, more and more kittens will be born throughout the San Gabriel Valley. While this sounds like a super cute phenomenon, it actually presents a significant challenge for animal shelters and the communities that support them.
Every year we are inundated with litters of kittens believed to have been abandoned by their mother. Most of the time this is not the case. Usually Mama Kitty is around somewhere looking for food to maintain her strength while she breastfeeds. It’s a completely natural process for most animal species – but for some reason, when humans see kittens alone, the knee-jerk response is to believe they have been abandoned.
Well-intentioned animal lovers will inevitably pick them up and bring them to the nearby animal shelter for care and support.
But here’s the problem: most shelters (including ours) are not set up to provide 24-hour care. Unweaned kittens under 8 weeks of age must be bottle-fed 24 hours a day, every few hours. Since we cannot do this at the shelter, we have to rely on caregivers to take care of it until they are old enough to be neutered, vaccinated, and put up for adoption.
In a perfect world, we would always have more than enough caregivers to look after them – but unfortunately this is not a perfect world. In normal circumstances, it is actually quite difficult to recruit and retain willing kitten caregivers. If we cannot find willing supporters this busy season, the only other alternative is humane euthanasia. I think we can all agree that this is not a reasonable result.
We need to make sure that our shelters can support and care for the animals that actually need help.
It is true that there are rarer cases where kittens have been left without a mother because they have either been captured by a predator or run over by a car. However, this is usually the exception rather than the rule. In these cases, stepping in and getting help from your local animal shelter is absolutely the right decision.
In any case, we are there for you. If you find a litter of kittens that you fear may have been abandoned, here are some things to keep in mind:
Monitor the situation. Watch the kittens, but do not move or touch them. The mother cat is likely around, but if she hasn’t returned by the end of the day (or 8-12 hours), they may need assistance. If they’re there overnight and still stable in the morning, chances are mom will come and go without you seeing her. She is sneaky, this one!
DO NOT bring the kittens into the house. If they are not in danger, it is best to leave the kittens outside for the mother cat to take care of. Remember, if stealthy mom does a good job, you may never see her!
If there is anything you need to do, you can put the kittens in a box. Do not change the position of the kittens so that the mother cat can be sure of finding them.
Be careful when handling kittens. You can accidentally give them a disease and that is not a bueno. Older kittens may not be friendly and may scratch or bite you if they are startled or frightened.
NOT foster parents alone. If the kittens are truly orphaned and you decide to care for them, the Pasadena Humane Society can help. We have you Boo! We can provide resources to make your experience successful and we will neuter the kittens before returning them to their outdoor home or putting them up for adoption.
Keep the kittens separate from your pets to prevent fights and to minimize the transmission of diseases and parasites. Make sure your pet cats are up to date on their vaccines.
DO NOT let the cycle go on! To break the cycle of cat overpopulation, spay or neuter! The Pasadena Humane Society has a TNRM (Trap Neuter Return Monitor) program. Once kittens are old enough to be spayed and vaccinated, you’ll want to catch mom too and bring them in so we can spay and vaccinate them too.
We are happy to support you in your TNRM endeavors. We believe TNRM is an effective way to control community cat population growth and improve their health through vaccination.
The good news is that most of us, at least for the time being, spend a lot more time at home and have the bandwidth to promote kittens. If you would like to help us or need help with a litter of kittens that you have found, please email us at Foster@pasadenahumane.org. We’ll give you all the tools you need to be a successful foster parent for needy kittens.
Don’t worry, if you can’t care for orphaned kittens, you can still help us! To take care of needy kittens, Pasadena Humane is hosting a virtual kitten shower fundraiser. With just a few clicks, you can donate essential kitten care items from our wishlist. Your gifts help us provide tiny kittens with the supplies they need to grow into healthy, adoptable cats. Visit pasadenahumane.org/kittenshower to view our wishlist and donate supplies