Kitten Season – the time of year when most community cats who aren’t spayed and neutered start reproducing – is nearly upon us here in Florida. YOU can help us during this busy time by following the Don’t Kitnap procedure. Want to know how?
When most people find a litter of kittens outside, their first impulse is to spring into action, scoop the kittens up, and bring them to their local animal shelter.
We get this. It’s human nature to want to help, and who’s more helpless than a tiny kitten left outside to fend for herself?
More often than not, though, kittens found outside haven’t been left to fend for themselves. In most cases, a mother cat is nearby – maybe looking for food, maybe scoping out a new spot for the family to move to – and planning to return to feed and care for her babies.
A kitten’s BEST chance of survival is sticking with their mom. A mother cat’s milk is the best possible food for unweaned kittens, and by removing them from this food source, you are putting them at risk.
This is why we ask that if you find kittens outside, please don’t kitnap them. Look for their mom first.
What to do next?
- Use this chart to estimate the age of the kittens. If the kittens are at least 6-8 weeks of age and friendly, use your personal network to try to find homes for them. Don’t forget to make plans to get the kittens – and their parents! – spayed and neutered.
- If the kittens are under 6 weeks old and you see their mom, leave them where they are to ensure they have the best chance of survival. If you want to help, you can make sure the mom has access to shelter, food, and water.
- If the kittens are under 6 weeks old and you do NOT see their mom…keep waiting. Sometimes mother cats will leave for hours at a time. After a few hours, if there is still no sign of a mom, you can step in and intervene if you are willing to assume the responsibility to become the kittens’ caretaker. You can reach out to JHS at [email protected] for support and resources to help you.
For additional information on kittens, community cats, and how YOU can help your local shelters, check out our Don’t Kitnap digital resources.
Thank you to our partners at Jaguar Moving for sponsoring our 2023 Don’t Kitnap campaign!