Tagged: “kittens”

Little Ones are Coming!

Little Ones are Coming!

Do you see strange rustling in your bushes?  Hear funny noises coming from under your porch?  It’s Springtime and with the change in season come kittens (among other young).  About this time, they are getting old enough to venture from the nest and you may soon see little fluff balls.  If we are to tame them down and find them homes, it’s critical that they be caught before they are eight weeks old.  That means as soon as you see them, catch them!

Kittens have a shorter, and earlier, socializing period than dogs.  It starts at two-weeks-old (if you are raising kittens it’s important for them to be handled daily at this early age) and pretty much is over by ten weeks.  If kittens are not socialized by then it becomes increasingly more difficult and less successful.  It’s a shame to sentence these young animals to the rough life of a feral when they could be caught early and tamed down.  The important point is not to wait.  Too many people think, I’ll catch them on the weekend, or I’ll try to get them used to coming for food and then I’ll work on getting them to trust me and then I’ll catch them.  NO!  They need to be caught today!  Immediately!

Although it’s true that for super young kittens, with their eyes still closed, staying with the mom is the best thing for them, as soon as they are old enough to walk around and venture a bit on their own they are old enough to be caught and brought in for taming.  Of course if your tame cat had kittens you wouldn’t want to separate them until the kittens are at least seven weeks old (eight is even better), but that assumes that you are handling, playing and socializing the kittens the whole time.  It’s also not in their best interest to be adopted out singly too young – they learn a lot about bite inhibition and appropriate play by remaining with their littermates until they are at least a couple months old.

Along with catching the babies, you definitely want to catch the mom to get her spayed.  Otherwise you will be repeating this scenario again in another three months (gestation is about 63 days and the kittens start moving around at about 4 weeks of age).  Forgotten Felines runs weekly spay/neuter clinics for trapped ferals in our County – call 576-7999 for an appointment and helpful tips and information about how to trap mom-cats.  They can also give you great advice on how to socialize the young, if you are willing to do it yourself – otherwise they will point you in the direction of the animal shelter that services your area.

We have foster parents who have signed up to help raise these orphan kittens – a very satisfying (and fun) job indeed!  It’s considered the politically correct way to have kittens – all the fun without the lifetime of responsibility!  If you are interested there is more information on our website (rpanimalshelter.org) or at the shelter.  Meantime, don’t just watch these cuties grow up wild out there; all too quickly it will be too late.  Thanks for getting involved and helping them out.  Maybe there is a reason they picked your bush or patio!

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Paws

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Paws

We got in our first mom-cat with a week old kitten, so it’s official. Kitten season has begun. Pretty soon the shelter will resonate with the pitter-patter of tiny paws and the mewling cry of hungry babies.

We know (but find it hard to believe) that some cats have slipped through our offer of free spays and neuters and are still out there procreating. Here’s the important point you need to hear – the younger the kittens are when they are caught and brought in, the better their chances of being socialized and adopted.

So, if you’ve been feeding a stray, and she was looking pudgy and well fed but now appears to be slimmer when she shows up at the food bowl, chances are she has kittens somewhere. And unless you are committed to feeding the whole litter for their lifetime (about 8-10 years for a feral cats if they are lucky), you have to do something now. Remember each of those kittens grows up and has more kittens, too. You could have dozens in no time at all.

At about 4 weeks old, the kittens are beginning to be mobile and will start to be seen. Catching them (and mom, so she can be spayed – no need to go through this cycle yet again) between 4-6 weeks is ideal, up to 8 weeks is OK, but much beyond that and they will be too wild to tame down. Traps are available for rent at 49er Pet Store and Hertz Rental.

You can stop by the shelter for some instructions on how to humanely use the traps if the store doesn’t provide that. Also, have an appointment for mom or a reservation at the shelter for the kittens before you start trapping so you aren’t standing there with an animal in a trap and no where to take them.

Interested in helping us with raising all the kittens that come through our door? Fostering is the politically correct way to have cute, playful kittens in your home. And you get all the fun without having to make a lifetime commitment or costing you a lot of money. We provide all the litter, food and medical care for the babies. You just have to feed, socialize and love them up.

The fun lasts 2-8 weeks, depending on the age of the kittens you take on. They usually return to the shelter for adoption at about 8-9 weeks old. It’s a great project for a family to take on together. Want to learn more? We will be having a one-hour new foster parent orientation on Monday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the shelter lobby.

Hope to see you at our fix-it clinics with all those errant mom-cats and/or at our foster parent orientation. Become part of the solution and help solve the kitten overpopulation problem.