Foster Kitten Care: Part One
In the veterinary and rescue community, this time of year is referred to as “Kitten Season.” Why you ask? Well, with the approaching milder weather, the females start “queening” (having their babies) and this is when we see the highest number of orphaned or abandoned kittens every year.
Spaying and neutering would help eliminate this problem; however, not everyone does this. Every year the kittens find their way to someone’s doorstep looking for help. Sometimes they are a bit older and able to find homes quickly or are able to fend for themselves if left outdoors, but most often they are young kittens or newborns (“neonates”) that require extensive and intensive round-the-clock care.
So what should you do if you happen to find one of these kittens?
First and foremost, you need to make sure that mom isn’t still caring for them. The best way to do this is to monitor them from afar. If the mom sees you she could become highly protective of the babies and aggressive towards you. This is a natural instinct for mom – she may view you as a predator or someone that is going to harm her babies.
If it is at all possible, it is best to leave the area where the babies are and monitor from a distance or through a window (especially if you find the neonate in your yard). Sometimes people come across these little kittens when mom is in the process of moving them from one location to another or is out hunting for food. They may appear abandoned, but mom is usually not too far away.
How do I tell if the kitten(s) have been abandoned?
If the kittens appear well fed, content and clean, then likely mom is nearby watching over them. These kittens do not, generally, require any assistance from us – unless they are in danger from another animal or because of their location (ie. a high traffic area). These kittens should be left with mom.
If the kittens are dirty, crying a lot, lethargic, cool to touch, thin, etc, then they likely have been abandoned and require immediate medical attention. These kittens should be placed in a warm environment (a shoe box with warm water bottle & towels works well – especially for transport) and brought to your Brantford veterinarian or local emergency vet for evaluation and any necessary medical attention.
Any Brantford animal hospital team can help you determine the kitten’s age, any medical care required, and will show you how to care for them until they are old enough to find a forever home.
If you come across stray kittens, or even older cats, and are not sure whether you should bring them into a clinic contact the Park Road Veterinary Clinic team. Our client care rep team is available to answer the necessary questions and guide you through how to properly evaluate whether a cat is stray, feral or needs medical attention. Contact us at (519) 759-3031