Dear Porky and Buddy,
Last week, I discovered four tiny kitten in my garage on one of those sunny days.
I picked them up, brought them inside and called the Humane Society.
They asked me a few questions, then they told me not to try to feed them and to return them to exactly where I found them and wait a few hours to see if the mother came back.
I hated to do that but followed their instructions and a few hours later the kittens were gone and I have not seen them since.
But how do I know that some other animals didn’t come by and just grab them?
Was that good advice? It seems sort of heartless to me.
Imagine if you were a mother cat fending for yourself and your four kittens outdoors and you leave them in what you think is a safe place and go off to hunt down some food.
Remember cats living on their own don’t have grocery stores or babysitters.
When you come back from doing what you must to keep your babies thriving, they are gone.
Does that seem heartless to you?
Not to make you feel guilty, exactly, but the reality is that unless you see a dead mama cat hit by a car in the road, it is very likely that she has every intention of returning for those babies, to feed them, possibly to move them to a safer place, which is probably what happened with these four babies.
So, it is always good advice, especially if there is no imminent danger to the kittens (and most mother cats do not leave their kittens where there is imminent danger), to wait, for several hours usually.
Find a place where you can keep an eye on them but not be close enough to scare their mother away.
The mother cat offers her newborn kittens their best chance for survival, so wait and watch as long as you safely can for her to return before doing anything more drastic.
They will not starve in the meantime.
If she comes back and seems to be inclined to stay there, put some food or water out for her, not too close so you don’t frighten them away, but close enough that she can find it and maybe stay there while you come up with a plan for her and the kittens.
You can call the Humane Society for help with that.
How to proceed to help these cats in the long run will depend on how tame the mother cat is and that may not be obvious at first.
But that’s another column.
While you are waiting and watching, you can use that time to try to lineup some resources in case the mother does not return.
Find our whether a local rescue organization has experienced bottle feeders available or possibly even a lactating cat who might take then in.
Remember that this is a HUGE responsibility.
Newborn orphaned kittens require 24/7 care and many do not survive despite your best efforts.
You can find crucial information about how to take care of newborn kittens yourself at http://www.animalalliancenyc.org.
It is too long and convoluted to repeat here, but the Humane Society can also provide advice.
We hope we haven’t discouraged you too much.
People who care for newborn kittens successfully will tell you that it is a a totally engrossing and heartwarming (and exhausting) experience.
So, thank you for your interest in these babies and your willingness to help.
We need more people like you.
When you are not out rescuing kittens, you can go to the Oliver Paine Greenhouses, at 125 South Granby Road, Fulton, on May 20 and 21 to buy your summer plants from their huge selection of annuals and perennials.
If you take our Spring Fundraiser flyer with you, 15% of your plant purchases will be donated to the Oswego County Humane Society.
Download your flyer from our website at www.oswegohumane.org or call the office for a copy.
You can never have too many flowers.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.