Kitten season in Ohio is coming.
As temperatures climb in early spring and summer, more litters of kitten are born to stray or feral cats, according to the SICSA Pet Adoption Center.
Sometimes people are alarmed to see litters of unattended kittens in their neighborhoods, yards or local parks, and they assume the kittens have been abandoned. In an effort to help, sometimes they scoop them up and bring them to SICSA and other animal shelters. However, not all kittens who appear unattended are abandoned, in many cases they may be harmed by taking them from their nursing mother.
SICSA offers a few recommendations for those who come across a litter of kittens that appear unattended:
- First, don't touch them. It's important to allow the mother cat to return and care for her offspring. Stay far enough away from the litter to observe them but not frighten the mother cat from returning to her kittens.
- Follow the "Wait and Watch" approach: Leave the kittens undisturbed for a few hours (if they are newborn to 4 weeks) or overnight (if they 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
- Place fresh water and cat food nearby to help the mother cat while she is nursing, but not too close because it could attract other strays to their area
- If the mother cat or kittens show signs of distress or illness, a veterinarian should be consulted
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