Kitten season is here. Do you know what to do when you find a litter of kittens? Before COVID-19, you relied on us to bring these babies into our care and give them a second chance at life. Times are different now, and many organizations, including the Houston SPCA, are limiting intake because of the pandemic. We are asking you to help us save this year’s kittens! Below is a step-by-step guide to raising kittens from newborns to almost ready for adoption.
STEP 1: WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A LITTER OF KITTENS
If you find a litter of kittens, do not assume that something has happened to the Mom, and the kittens are abandoned. She might be searching for food or a safer place for her babies. Before you do anything, wait and watch. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Do they look healthy, or is their fur dirty or matted?
- Are they resting quietly or crying loudly?
- Are they in a safe environment free from fire ants and predators?
- Are they protected from the rain and sun and away from roadways?
If they are healthy, resting quietly and in a safe, protected environment, continue to watch them for about four hours and check back. You want to give the Mom as much time as possible to return to her litter. She will provide them with the best chance of survival. If it is an emergency, and the kittens are covered in ants, appear starving or are in danger or Mom doesn’t return after four hours, remove them immediately and follow our instructions on how to care for your bottle babies!
STEP 2: JUST HOW OLD ARE YOUR KITTENS?
Identifying the age of your kittens will determine what kind of care they will need.
STEP 3: KEEPING KITTENS WARM
Kittens under four weeks of age cannot thermoregulate, or maintain control of their body temperature. It is critical to keep your kittens warm but not too warm! Here are some suggestions and options, including how to make inexpensive “Rice Moms”:
Always make sure that there is a small area in the carrier or box that is heating pad free so your kittens can move away from the heat source if they get too hot.
STEP 4: KEEPING KITTENS FULL
Here is a list of what you’ll need to bottle feed your kittens.
- Bottles and nipples
- Kitten formula
- A scale
- Towels or soft blankets
- Alcohol-free baby wipes (yes, you have to “stimulate” kittens to help them urinate and defecate!)
Here is a link for more information on supplies and easy to follow instructions, both print and video, on how to bottle feed kittens:
Once your kittens are eight weeks old and weigh at least two pounds, they are ready for adoption. If the County Judge’s order has expired and our Rehoming Center is open, please call us at (713) 869-7722 to schedule an appointment or visit us at www.houstonspca.org. If you want to place the kittens yourself, here are some helpful tips from the Kitten Lady. http://www.kittenlady.org/pickingadopters.
Thank you for partnering with us to save lives!