Written by Sydney Walker, SAIT Journalism Student
All photos courtesy of some of the amazing cat foster moms at AARCS.
As the days get warmer, and spring becomes reality, kitten season is already in full swing. With litters upon litters of new kittens being born, calls regarding newborn kittens that appear to be abandoned are becoming more frequent. And although the introduction of new life into the world is beautiful and wondrous, it leads to the increase of abandoned, homeless, and neglected animals within our province.
What should you do if you encounter a mom and her babies in loud or dangerous environments:
- Call your local animal welfare agency to assist
- Minimize moving the mom or the kittens
- Do not move the kittens if the mom is not present – mother cats commonly leave their kittens unattended for extended periods of time to look for food or hide in fear if disturbed.
It’s important to be aware that it is difficult to determine whether or not their mom is to return without hours of distant and quiet observation of the area where the kittens are located.
If you find a potentially orphaned litter of kittens:
- It is best to leave them where they are and call a local animal welfare agency, or animal services (list of Calgary-based organizations below)
- If the kittens are in imminent danger due to an environmental danger, or a predator, make precise notes of the location and take them to a local veterinary clinic. Your notes and contact information are used by animal rescuers to search for a mother cat within the area the kittens were found.
The kittens’ greatest chance of survival is with their mother. Young kittens are very fragile, and even when being bottle-fed by experienced foster parents, their chance of survival is still not as high as it would be with their mother present.
When kittens are removed, the mother will go into heat again almost immediately, and thus the cycle of kittens will continue.
If the entire family can be rescued, the chances of survival are much greater. Ultimately if more people become more educated on what to do in these circumstances, together we can help stop the cycle of homeless kittens. One person can make a difference, no matter how small! It can feel daunting to see or read about homeless cats, but ultimately even if one is saved, to that one cat, their entire life changes, and that’s always worth the effort.
If outside of the Calgary area, you can call your local animal services, emergency veterinary hospitals and/or humane society.
Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!
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