Observe Before Rescuing Found Kittens | News

It’s the cat season and the San Diego County Animal Services Department reminds people to immediately wait to pick up any kittens they may encounter in their communities. Mother cats usually leave the litter alone for a while while hunting for food and then returning to it.

But in some cases, they left because a well-meaning person wanted to save them.

From this season until October each year, juvenile kittens spill out of the shelter doors.

If the kittens are not in immediate danger from things like traffic or predators and are not visibly sick or injured, it is best to observe them for a while to see if a mother cat will return – often just temporarily away from her kittens. Make sure you watch from a safe distance so that the mother cat feels safe enough to return to her babies.

If you do not see a mother cat returning after six hours and you feel that the kittens need care, you can make an appointment to take them to an animal shelter or try to take care of them yourself. Many local pet stores have kitten milk substitutes and suitable bottles (please do not use a dropper). Bottle feeding kittens can be satisfying, but very time consuming, as they need 24-hour feeding until the kittens are old enough to eat solid food.

Keep in mind that age is a critical factor in the ability of cats found to thrive (learn how to calculate the age of a cat). Newborn kittens are four weeks old and under and continue to breastfeed. they can not survive on their own and need special care. Contact your veterinarian for details on newborn care.

If you decide to bring newborn kittens to the shelter, staff will make every effort to find a shelter partner, caregiver or rescue organization to properly care for these cubs. If the kitten does not eat on its own and is still breastfeeding, staff should find a lifeline for it immediately, as the shelter does not have staff overnight to care for newborn kittens. Juvenile kittens also cannot be vaccinated and are even susceptible to diseases in a shelter environment. For these reasons, kittens you may find are best left with their mother, if possible, until they are eight weeks old.

That’s why it’s so important to help reduce the number of unwanted cats by spaying and neutering your cats, the roaming cats you see in your neighborhood, and encouraging your neighbors to change their cats. County Animal Services sees hundreds upon hundreds of kittens coming in each year and there is a very limited number of sponsors or rescuers for everything, so any support you can offer these little ones is always valuable.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a life-saving caregiver, contact the Animal Services Department at DASinfo@sdcounty.ca.gov for more information or to register.

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