Springtime is prime time for cats to breed and Cat Haven is reminding everyone to be vigilant and to spread the word to sterilize and microchip your cats when they are six months old. They also warn everyone to be mindful that if they find stray kittens not to touch them, but to call Cat Haven straight away. They may not actually be orphaned kittens and the mother cat will probably be nearby.
“People often assume kittens are abandoned when in many cases they aren’t and we can place them in more danger by taking them away from their mother. The mortality rate of orphaned kittens from 2-4 weeks old ranges from 15-40% and many kittens under 1 week old will just not survive. If you come across kittens without a mother cat in sight please follow these steps to ensure you are not putting the kittens at risk.” Trish Hazell, Foster Care Coordinator at Cat Haven said.
1. ASSESS THE SITUATION but DO NOT TOUCH THE KITTENS – if you have already moved the kittens, please put them back straight away. If the kittens are in a dangerous area, gently move them to somewhere safe but in the immediate area so the mother cat can still find them. Also take note of the kittens’ body condition i.e. are they clean, plump and content or are they dirty, cold and crying?
2. MONITOR THE AREA – Step right back and keep an eye on the area for a few hours – checking every hour if you can. There is a very high chance that the mum is coming back and is just out hunting, hiding from you, or in the process of moving the litter one by one.
3. IF MUM CAT IS AROUND – Then let her take care of the kittens. It is crucial for newborn kittens to receive the nutrition from the mother cat’s milk during the first couple of days of their lives. Many kittens will not survive if separated from the mother during the first week of their life. Put some food and water out for the mum, so that she can devote herself to her babies. Cat Haven can advise you and may be able to organize to send out a ranger to trap the mother first and then get the kittens. It can be very dangerous to the kittens’ lives if you bring them in first and then try to get the mum.
4. STILL NO SIGN OF MUM – If, after many hours there is still no signs that a mother cat is around then you can consider the kittens abandoned. Place them in a clean and dry box with plenty of bedding and if possible, a covered hot water bottle. Newborn kittens cannot generate their own heat so it is imperative that they have a source of heat to keep warm.
5. SHELTER OR RESCUE – Urgently contact a shelter or rescue group who can take the kittens as soon as possible. If they have been without their mother for a while they may be cold and hungry, and in need of urgent attention.
Cat Haven never turns a cat away, no matter how old, sick or feral but as a charity with very little Government funding, the shelter struggles during kitten season.
They receive up to 8000 abandoned cats and kittens each year and it costs over $13 a day to keep a cat at the shelter. Cat Haven wants to remind people it is now law to sterilize, microchip and register with your council, all cats over 6 months old, and they offer discounted cat sterilization and microchipping for concession cardholders.
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