Kitten season is upon us, and even though your first instinct may be to scoop them up thinking you’re saving them, STOP AND PAWS. Our valley has a large community cat population, so it’s very common for folks to find kittens. Although you may think mom is gone for good, chances are she’s just out hunting for food. She also may be in the process of moving the kittens. If she knows you’re there, she’s going to hide.
Kittens at this age NEED mom’s milk to survive, as it provides them with colostrum and antibodies for their developing immune systems. With that being said, jumping the gun and taking them to a shelter is the worst thing you can do unless it’s your last resort. If the kittens aren’t in distress (meowing is normal because they’re hungry, lethargy and malnourishment is not!) it’s best to leave them be and leave the area so mom is comfortable enough to return. If they are neonates, mom should return in two hours or less. But if they’re several weeks old, she could be gone for several hours.
If you do believe the kittens are in distress, then it’s time to grab a soft blanket and take action and bring them to your local shelter, where they can take over. Best Friends has recently partnered with Animal Samaritans and Riverside County Animal Services and they have a representative there to help and answer questions. They are a great resource available to our valley, so PLEASE USE THEM!
The Best Friends feral cat/community cat program hotline is 760.507.1228 or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.