What is kitten season?
In most states, kitten season begins around spring and lasts through early winter. However, in Florida, it can come close to all year long. Cats start reproducing and continue to have several litters during this time period. During this time, Orange County Animal Services experiences a massive influx of intakes of kittens and mother cats. Underage kittens without their mothers are at high-risk being brought into shelters due to the vulnerability of their health.
I found a kitten, or a litter of kittens. What do I do?
Before jumping to the rescue, please considering the following recommendations:
1. Quietly observe from a safe distance to determine if the mother is present.
2. If the kittens are clean and sleeping in a heap, mom is most likely out looking for something to eat and will be back to care for them.
3. If you sense the kittens are in immediate danger, move them to a safe area nearby where the mother can still find them.
4. Place them in a sheltered area, away from the direct sun, rain or traffic and continue to watch for the mother.
5. If you have observed the kittens for 12 to 24 hours and the mother has not returned, then pick them up, and care for them.
Be aware that sometimes, no matter what you do, some neonatal kittens do not survive and can fade very fast. You can only try to be the best surrogate guardian possible and hope for the best.
I am going to bring the litter of kittens to Orange County Animal Services. What will happen?
Orange County Animal Services is an open-admission shelter. That means we do not turn any animal away. However, kittens less than eight weeks old are at extremely high risk being brought into shelters. Due to large amount of animals housed at the animal shelter, underage kittens are more susceptible to diseases that can spread quickly and affect these vulnerable animals heavily, and often fatally. Underage kittens would be in need of foster care with constant monitoring and feedings. Animal Services can never guarantee that a pet will be fostered or adopted from the shelter, although every effort is made.
I want to care for the kittens. What are my next steps?
Due to the vulnerability of kittens in a shelter environment, Orange County Animal Services has partnered with Kindness for Cats, Inc. to empower citizens in the community to help through the Wait 'Til 8 program. For more information regarding this program please visit Orange County Animal Services web page Kitten Season & Wait 'til 8