Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If You Find Kittens

We receive many of these calls especially now that it's kitten season. Most nonprofits are overwhelmed with rescue animals that they can not take in more cats or dogs. The solution is YOU! But don't worry, we offer information and tools to guide you through the process. It's three overall steps.

  1. Take kitten to vet for medical checkup and get kitten spayed/neutered if it's 4 months old
  2. Providing nourishment, warmth and relief
  3. Find the kitten a home if you can not keep it

First, if you found kittens and a mother cat, try to observe if they are still nursing from the mother. If not, they are ready to be separated from the mother and taken inside so they can find permanent indoor home.  Another sign is the color of their eyes. If they are blue, they are still young and likely to be under 6 weeks of age and should remain with the mother unless you are prepared to bottle feed. Once the eyes are no longer blue is a good indication they can be separated from the mother. However, if you find kittens and not the mother cat, it could be that the mother is searching for food.  Do not remove the kittens right away. Please check regularly for the mother cat. She will need to be trapped and spayed immediately.

When bringing in the kitten, if you have other pets, it's important to keep them in a separate room until they are bloodtested and vaccinated.  This will also help minimize any allergic reactions for family members that suffer from allergies.

Take the kittens to a local veterinarian  to help determine the kitten's age, exact care needs or if any health problems exists. At this time the vet will perform a physical exam, a bloodtest and possibly administer vaccinations. If the kitten is at least 4 months old, it is critical to get it spayed/neutered but instead of spending $250+ at a vet, you can go to a low cost spay/neuter clinic for outdoor cats. Cats can get pregnant as young as four and five months.

In Miami you have options. The Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS), The Cat Network and Planned Pethood all offer low cost spay/neuter. At MDAS you have to make an appointment. With the Cat Network you must become a member for the year ($25) and then purchase a S/N certificate ($25) and take to participating veterinarian. Be sure to check their website to see if there is a vet near you.
With Planned Pethood you must make an appointment. They are located off of I-95 and Opa Locka Blvd at shopping center just west of I-95. Very easy.

If the kitten can eat and drink well on its own, he or she may only need routine care (a safe environment, kitten food, water, toys, bed, litter box--use non-clumping litter for kittens ).  If the kitten is too small to eat and drink unassisted or does not have eyes open yet, then they are too small to be taken from the mother. But if you do not see the mother, do not immediately assume she abandoned them. Try to spend some time observing. Often she's searching for food. If the mother does not return, then do take in the kittens. You will have to act as a replacement mother.

Extremely young kittens need to be fed kitten milk replacer according to the manufacturers' directions as often as every 2-4 hours, depending on age. NEVER give the kittens regular cow's milk. They are lactose intolerant so give any lactose-free milk at room temperature or goat's milk is the best.

They may require a SAFE heat source such as a heating pad and an enclosed area like pet bed or box with blankets. If a heating pad is used, be sure to keep it very low and only use for half of the nest area or bed. This the kitten can move between warm bed or cooler spot in self regulating their body temperature. We recommend warm towels, no heating pad, if they are staying in a heated home during winter.

Newborn kittens can not pass stool and urinate by themselves.  They need gentle rubbing in the genital areas (with moist warm cotton balls or a very soft moist cloth) to help them pass bodily wastes.  This should be done every time the kittens are fed. Any stool or urinate MUST be gently, but completely cleaned off the skin to avoid potentially severe skin rashes and even blistering from body wastes. 

What if you find the mother cat?
CLICK HERE for help on what to do if you find a mother cat, or adult cat.

Finding Homes for Kittens
CLICK HERE to learn how to find homes for kittens.

Any questions, the best way to reach us is via email at

or call 786-205-6165
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