Here’s What To Do If You Find A Litter Of Kittens During Kitten Season

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – If you’re an animal lover like me, then you’ll want to step in and help if you find a helpless little animal that appears to be in danger – or cold, injured or hungry. But it may not be the safest thing for the animal.

The Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS), along with the City of Jacksonville’s Animal Care & Protective Service (ACPS) and First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP) would like to provide you with vital advice and information on “what to do” when you find a litter of kittens during kitten season.

Kitten season is the time of year when unattached cats procreate and give birth to kittens. When the weather warms up, cats come into heat.

According to the Best Friends Animal Society, “In most places across America, animals mate and give birth in the spring. This phenomenon can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as longer days, better weather, and better access to food, which means higher survival rates for the offspring of many species. Unlike other animals, however, cats can continue to breed, having litter after litter until the weather turns cold again. In many areas, the kitten season can last from spring until early winter.

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In 2021, JHS and ACPS combined took in 6,349 kittens under five months old and JHS served an additional 596 through a program called Kitten Krusaders, which helps community members who find kittens by providing veterinary care to keep them away. from the shelter.

When community members find a litter of kittens outside, it’s often instinctive to go straight into “rescuer mode” and “rescue” these tiny cats. This notion has been dubbed “kitnapping” and the three agencies are asking the public not to act on this instinct. In place:

  • If mom returns: Provide support (food, water, shelter) as needed and when kittens are 8 weeks old, have mom and kittens spayed and find them in their home.

  • If mom doesn’t come back: A house is a better option than shelter. JHS can provide advice on care instructions and help find new homes for kittens once they are ready.

  • If kittens are experiencing a true medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing, open sores, or visible ribs/spine, CSPA can be contacted through 904-630-2489, myjax.custhelp.com, or the MyJax app .

Kitnapping is not the best option for kittens, cats and shelters.

Minor kittens are the most fragile population in shelters and require additional time, labor and resources that are not always available. When underage kittens arrive at the shelter, they most often have to be placed with a foster family the same day, which puts additional pressure on staff and volunteers. Also, when no one is looking for the mother cat, she is left alone to continue breeding in the community.

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“If we can share the message ‘Don’t nap the kittens’ throughout our community, we can collectively do what’s best for these little ones and keep them with their mother cat,” said Denise Deisler, CEO of JHS. “Together, we can conquer kitten season in Jacksonville!”

Community members who want to help with the “Don’t Kitnap” initiative can share this post on social media, sign up to welcome kittens into their homes at either shelter, or make a donating items through kitten wish lists on shelter websites. Volunteers are also needed for the three organizations.

Community members can also help by participating in the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return programs offered by First Coast No More Homeless pets, which offers free, low-cost spaying or neutering surgeries for community cats in full swing. air.

For more information, please visit jaxhumane.org/kittenhelp.

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Jacksonville Humane Society
Jacksonville Humane Society

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Jennifer R. Strohm