So, you've come across what appears to be a litter of stray kittens near your home. Their little "meows" sound like cries for help, but you're not sure what to do; you want to give them the help they need, but you don't have any experience caring for kittens. Not to worry! By following these important tips, you can make sure the kitties get the care they need.
DON'T Assume They're Abandoned
First and foremost, never assume that a litter of kittens has been abandoned by its mother unless you're absolutely sure this is the case. Often times, mother cats will leave their kittens alone for extended periods of time—especially during the day while they're out looking for food. Of course, there are circumstances where a mother may abandon her kittens or, unfortunately, may die and therefore not return to the kittens at the end of the day. Still, just because you see a litter of kittens without a mother doesn't mean this is the case, and taking kittens away from their mother can do them more harm than good.
DO Look for Signs of Distress
If you're not sure whether or not a litter of kittens has been abandoned, it's time to keep a watchful eye on the situation. For example, perhaps you've seen a litter of kittens on your property with a mama cat, but you haven't seen the mama cat around in a couple of days and you're starting to get worried that something happened to her. Monitor the kittens closely, and be on the lookout for obvious signs of distress. If the kittens are being extremely vocal, there is a chance that they are malnourished and need food, so it would be appropriate to act at this time (either by syringe feeding or giving them canned food, depending on how old they are). For more information, contact a local veterinarian (like those at Pet Medical Center – Full Service Veterinary Care).
DO Get Them the Help They Need
If it's obvious that a litter of kittens has been completely abandoned, you'll need to decide whether or not you think you're capable (and willing) to foster them until they're old enough to be adopted out. If this isn't something you're comfortable with, you can always contact a local animal shelter or cat rescue to locate a foster for the kittens. Either way, there's a good chance that you will have saved the lives of these kittens and hopefully secured happy forever homes for them as well.