Kitten season is here, but it’s not too late to stem the tide. These tiny babies showed up at the County Animal Shelter in Bonita over the weekend, and the County’s local shelters will likely see thousands of them in the coming months.
When people don’t spay or neuter their cats, we see a boom in the kitten population, and most of them are unwanted. You can help reduce the problem by spaying female cats. County Animal Services is still offering $100 spay vouchers to cover or offset the cost.
The kittens you see here are so little, they are called neonate kittens. They’re under four weeks of age and can’t survive on their own. What should you do if you find a litter of neonate kittens?
First—wait. If the kittens aren’t in immediate danger from such things as traffic or predators, just observe them for a while. See if a mother cat will return to them. Be sure to watch from a safe distance so the mother cat feels safe enough to return to her babies.
If you don’t see a mother cat return and feel the kittens need care, you can take them to an animal shelter or try to care for them yourself. Many local pet stores carry kitten milk replacer and the proper bottles. Don’t use an eye dropper. Bottle feeding kittens can be rewarding but very time intensive!
Kittens four weeks and under are still nursing on the mother cat. They rely on her to feed them and even to help them with their bodily functions. If there is no mama cat, this is care you must be willing to provide. Contact your veterinarian for details on caring for neonates.
If you decide to bring neonate kittens to the shelter, we make every effort to find a rescue organization with people willing to wake up every few hours and properly care for these youngsters. From now through October every year, underage kittens pour through our doors. If the kitten is not eating on its own and still nursing from the bottle, we must find a rescue for it immediately as the shelter does not have overnight staff to care for neonate kittens.
That’s why it’s so important to help reduce the number of unwanted kittens by spaying and neutering your cats, the free-roaming cats you see in your neighborhood and by encouraging your neighbors to alter their cats! We have hundreds upon hundreds of kittens come in every year and there are simply not enough foster homes or rescues for them all.
Right now and through the end of March, you can get the $100 coupon toward the cost of spaying a female cat. Residents in the unincorporated area and the cities of Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Diego, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Santee can get the coupons while supplies last at any of the three County Animal Shelters in Mission Valley, Bonita or Carlsbad. Business hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or you can call 619-767-2675.
-County of San Diego news release