“YOU FOUND A KITTEN!?” Now what?
Every day many kittens are taken from their mothers too soon – usually by accident. While human parents do a great job filling in the role of mom, kittens are going to be set up for success best when there are able to stay with their natural feline mother during the first 8 weeks of life! So, when you find kittens, these next steps can assist you in helping them in the best way possible. Sometimes the best choice is not to bring them to the shelter right away!
What to Do When You Find Kittens:
FIRST, identify if the kittens are in a safe place. Are there any threats around? (dogs, traffic, etc.)
• If you know there is a threat, move the kittens to a nearby, safer area so the mom can still find them, but they are safe from the threat. (On the other side of a fence, under a nearby structure, etc.) *Only move the kittens if necessary and keep them nearby so mom can find them! * Do not be a kit-napper!
• If the kittens are not in a safe place and unable to be moved to a safe place, you can contact Harbor Humane Society at (616)399-2119 EXT 119 we have options to help you trap their mother, and resources to help the kittens if need be!
NEXT, ask yourself, do the kittens look healthy?
• Healthy kittens have clean fur and big bellies. If the kittens look healthy and there is no known threat where they are, leave them there! Sometimes it is hard because we are so used to intervening, but think of them during this time like you would a nest of baby birds. Mom is probably coming right back even if they are alone for a moment. If they look healthy and you leave them where they are, check for mom every few hours. Once you see the mom coming back, you can rest assured that the kittens are okay to stay. Cat moms are not likely to abandon their babies.
• Sickly kittens will be thin, dirty and possibly have crusty eyes or nasal discharge. You can sprinkle a circle of baking flour around the kitten “nest” to see if mom is still coming and going.If the kittens look sick or injured, or mom does not come back within 24 hours, then call Harbor Humane Society at (616)399-2119 EXT 119 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last question to ask yourself when deciding to remove or leave the kittens is “how old are these kittens?”. See chart!