PSA | It's Kitten Season! -- What to do if You Find a Litter

Ahhh, Spring is in the air and Kitten Season has started here in the Coastal Bend. Already rescue groups in the area are becoming flooded with litters either from pregnant cats being trapped or surrendered and giving birth in the shelter or from well-intentioned rescuers trying to save lives. In any case, the resources: food, money, space, fosters, in all facilities are stretched to the max.
So, what should one do if one finds a litter?

First of all, WAIT! Don’t assume that mom has abandoned them, she may be off hunting for food for herself or looking for a safer place to move her family and may be gone for as long as 7-8 hours. Stay well away from the nest so as to not scare her, if she feels threatened, she will abandon them. You may want to sprinkle flour in a wide circle around the babies so you can tell if the mother has returned.

If you do decide to “rescue” a litter, be prepared to take on both the financial responsibility as well as a 4-6-week care obligation. It is imperative that you make a few phone calls before undertaking this endeavor. Most organizations, at this time of year, are stretched to the limit with their resources. Neonatal kitten care is a 24/7 project and many facilities are not staffed for that and must rely on experienced fosters for them. Kittens need to be fed every 2 hours for the first 7-10 days, gradually transitioning to 3, then 4 hours between feeding over the course of 4 weeks or so. And it’s not just what goes in that is an issue - did you know that kittens and puppies aren’t born knowing how to go to the bathroom? Their Mom’s don’t spend all that time licking them because they are dirty, it’s to stimulate the elimination organs (human caretakers get to take on this job too). You may be asked to step up to the care until one can be found or until the kittens are transitioned to eating solid food, about 4-5 weeks. Often, there will be the option to reserving a spot on a waiting list for available space. In many cases, facilities will ask for the animals to be vaccinated prior to intake or for an intake fee -anywhere from $10-$50 per animal.

Who to call for assistance?
The Humane Society and Adoption Center of Rockport/Fulton (HSAC), 361-729-8186, has experienced staff and may be able to assist with supplies or foster homes.
Aransas County Animal Control: 361-790-0151, can answer many of your questions and provide advice and directions.
The Cattery Cat Shelter: 361-854-6369, provides experienced and professional advice and may have room or fosters available.
There is also PAAC 361-248-2009 and SPCA 361-332-1445 that may be able to help out.
As always, just about year-round, foster homes are needed, not just for kittens and puppies but for other homeless dogs and cats. If you can help, short term or long, please contact your local rescue facility.
Remember before you go ahead and box up a litter and take them to a facility, you are not rescuing, you are dumping an additional weight onto an already overburdened facility, please make arrangements before dumping another litter and making it someone else’s problem.

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