You hear mewing, go looking for the source -- and find kittens! Left all alone!
But wait. Before swooping in for the rescue, don't assume they're orphans. Mother cat might be out looking for food or in the process of moving her litter to a new location.
As long as kittens aren't sick or in immediate danger, they will be fine until an absent mom returns. Watch from a distance – at least 30 feet -- and she should be back within three or four hours.
Kittens are healthiest when raised by mom. She provides just the right amount of warmth, love, and nutritious milk around the clock. It’s best if she does the job. But if we have to, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) can raise newborn kittens, thanks to our tireless volunteers and donations from the public that help pay for kitten formula.
Do bring us a kitten if it:
- Is sluggish and cold to the touch;
- has a dirty, matted coat;
- has eyes encrusted with mucous;
- is so infested with fleas its gums are pale;
- is in grave danger such as in a road or busy pathway or under attack by another animal.
If you have found a healthy litter, try to keep an eye on the family as the kittens mature. When they are five or six weeks old – they will have teeth and be walking and playing -- bring them to FAAS for adoption.
As for feral mom, please consider taking the next step and arranging to have her trapped and spayed. Adult females can become pregnant before they finish nursing their current litter, adding to the cat overpopulation.
Fix Our Ferals (fixourferals.org) or Island Cat Resources and Adoption (www.icraeastbay.org) can tell you exactly what to do.