Do not immediately assume that a litter of kittens found without a mama cat nearby has been abandoned. Mama may be hunting, if feral, or simply going back home to get something to eat and drink.
If you do determine that the kittens have somehow lost their mom, and you realize that they are newborns and not yet weaned, if you’re able, keep them with you until they are weaned (about six weeks old) before you deliver them to a shelter. Neonatal kittens require around-the-clock care, including feeding every two hours, and cleaning of their little bottoms. It is so difficult for a shelter to provide this 24-hour care, that on a national level, about half of the 3,000,000 (a staggering number, I know) animals euthanized each year in our shelters are kittens.
And remember, if you’re the happy owner of a feline companion, please spay or neuter your pet. If you’re caring for a feral colony, of course, spaying and neutering the members of the colony will quickly reduce the numbers of kittens that come into the world with nowhere to go, perpetuating the problem of growing feral communities.
We all need to help in whatever way we can. Thanks for caring.
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.