Did You Find A Newborn Kitten?
1. What should I do if I see newborn kittens without its mother?
You may have come across the kitten when their mother is off searching for food or is in the process of moving them to a different location. You should try to determine if this is the case and their mother is coming back for them or if they are truly orphaned. To do this, stand far back away from the kittens (at least 35 ft or more -- if you are close their mom will not approach the kittens), hide behind a tree or a similar object and wait for the mother cat to return. This can take several hours. If you need to leave before the mother cat is back, you need to carefully evaluate whether the kittens are in immediate danger: Is it raining or snowing? Are there dogs running loose in the neighborhood or wild animals that may harm the kittens? Does the neighborhood have kids or people who will likely harm the kittens? Are they in a high traffic area with lots of people? If you feel you must take the kittens in, wrap the carrier or container you transport the in in a towel for warmth, but make sure you leave air holes in it.
2. How long should I wait for the mother cat to return?
It can take several hours for the mother cat to return. She is the kitten's best chance for survival so wait and watch as long as you can, their lives depend on it. If you take them they will not get the immunity from their mother's milk and this can set them up for serious, even fatal illnesses. Only take the kittens if they are in immediate grave danger. Otherwise, leave them until they are weaned and either take them in for socialization and adoption placement or feral cat trap-neuter-return them and return them to their colony.
If you do have to take the kittens in, please bring them to the Austin Humane Society for proper care or contact us for care instructions!