Tri-County campaign reminds South Floridians – Don’t Kit-Nap the Kittens!
South Florida shelters advise residents that kittens’ best chances to survive and thrive are with their mom
South Florida (April 1, 2021) – Animal welfare organizations throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach today announced the tri-county launch of the second annual Don’t Kit-Nap the Kittens public awareness campaign. Every year shelters across the country brace themselves for “kitten season” in the spring and summer months. South Florida animal shelters are partnering to share one unified message, making a plea to the community and warning well intentioned good Samaritans, that picking up found litters of kittens may be hurting them more than helping them. In most cases, newborn litters of kittens do not need human intervention and, in fact, taking the kittens is inadvertently creating orphaned kittens. The best thing is to keep the mother and kittens together to ensure the kittens’ best chances of survival, until the kittens are eating on their own and can be safely removed to be socialized and find their forever family.
When people find kittens outdoors without their mom, their first instinct may be to bring them inside or rush them to an animal shelter. South Florida shelters receive thousands of kittens every year. But research shows, when kittens are separated from their mother, their chances of survival drop significantly.
What should you do when you find a litter of kittens?
1. Do not interfere with the kittens as it may cause stress to the mother. If you really want to help, you can provide some food and water for the mother, placed a good distance from the nest.
2. If you don’t see mom around, observe the kittens from a distance. The mother may be out looking for food, but she will most likely return.
3. If the kittens are in immediate danger, like under a car or in a flooded area, find a safe place nearby to move them, but make sure they are still close enough for their mother to find them.
4. If you have observed the kittens for 24 hours and are sure that the mother isn’t returning, you may pick them up and care for them. Newborn kittens need special care.
5. If the mother comes back and is friendly, wait until the kittens are 2 pounds or 2 months old before bringing them and their mom to a veterinarian or to the Animal Services’ Pet Adoption and Protection Center to be vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
What happens if newborn kittens are brought into the shelter without their mother?
Kittens under four weeks of age need round the clock care which most shelters are not equipped to provide. Shelters rely on volunteer foster programs to supplement the care and needs of these newborn kittens. Unfortunately, when babies are separated from their moms it threatens their ability to thrive and survive, which is more reason to leave kittens with their mom.
Orphaned kittens need to be bottle fed with special formula every two to three hours, then stimulated to eliminate, cleaned and kept warm because at such a young age they cannot regulate their body temperature. Most shelters will provide you with everything needed to care for the newborn kittens.
Once the foster kitten is old enough to transition to solid food and be spayed or neutered, that is at about 2-months-old or 2 pound in weight, foster volunteers can bring the kittens back to the shelter so they can be placed for adoption and find their forever homes.
For more information on how you can help kittens contact your local shelter:
Miami-Dade County Animal Service Department
3599 NW 79 Avenue, Doral, FL 33145
311 or (305) 468-5900
Humane Society of Greater Miami
16101 W Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach, FL 33160
Broward County Animal Care
2400 SW 42nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Humane Society of Broward County
2070 Griffin Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312(954) 989-3977
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control
7100 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, 33411
Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League
3200 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33409