It’s a sad fact of life that every year around this time, “kitten season’ rolls around. Kitten season starts in early spring and ends in late October, and it’s when thousands of kittens are born to strays and are without homes. This leads to area shelters and rescues being filled to capacity and it puts a huge strain on so many animal welfare organizations. Many of these thousands of kittens end up abandoned or as strays themselves. If you come across one, there are ways that you can help.
Take a good look at the kitten from a safe distance. Does it look underweight? Is it dirty or unkempt? A kitten who looks completely uncared for may require your help.
While you won’t be able to calculate the actual age of the kitten, there are signs that can help place the kitten within an age-specific range. For example, if the kitten is uncoordinated in its movements and has blue eyes, it is likely that the kitten is between 0-6 weeks old and is not yet weaned. At this point, the kitten is dependent on its mother to clean and care for them.
Is the kitten visibly distressed? If not, the kitten may still be actively under its mother’s care and does not need your help. It is possible that the mother is nearby. The best thing to do is to watch from a distance and see if the mother comes back to care for the kitten.
Are you able to take the kitten into your home or offer secure shelter? Are you feeding the kitten? Would you consider the kitten to be safe?
If the kitten is in distress, and no mother is found, it’s time to call a rescue or vet – but first, please make sure that this isn’t your neighbour’s new kitten that made a quick escape!
When you call a rescue or vet about a kitten found, you are likely to be asked the following questions about the kitten: approximate age, where they were found, how many there were, their general condition, and if you have been feeding them.
As we mentioned above, this is kitten season so rescue organizations and vets are receiving calls constantly about stray or abandoned kittens. If you can, please offer to keep the kitten until a foster home can be found. This will take some of the strain off the animal rescues.
Take some photos of the kitten to share with rescues and, if possible, please support your local animal shelters and rescues with a donation. Your help is appreciated more than we can say.