Now, there’s nothing more precious (or maybe purrecious?) than a litter of newborn kittens.
When you uncover a nest of unattended kittens, you might decide to hang out there for a minute or two to see what they’re doing. They’ll be climbing and crawling on top of each other, trying to figure out where they are, and trying to meow.
We’re aware that’s a wondrous sight that doesn’t occur that often. However, you might want to think twice before you come to the conclusion that the kittens are abandoned and try to get them to a rescue.
Did you know kittens are one of the most vulnerable populations across animal shelters and rescues and that many end up there because of well-meaning animal enthusiasts?
During the high kitten seasons (mainly spring and summer), you’re guaranteed to come across a litter of kittens – with or without the mother.
When you do that, though, don’t be quick to contact a rescue. Wait and watch over them for a little while before you’re 100% sure they’re alone and abandoned.
A mother cat can be away for hours on end because she’s hunting for food, searching for a better place to move them, or struggling to figure out where she left them.
Naturally, she won’t be happy when she returns and sees you hovering over her kittens. She might decide to abandon them once she sees you touching them or watching over them.
Remove the kittens when you’re sure that they are facing some sort of danger there. Contact a rescue or a shelter only when you’re sure that the mother won’t come back for them. Why’s that, you may wonder?
Take the situation that occurred a while back at Wrenn Rescues, a non-profit, foster-based animal rescue serving Los Angeles and Ventura County, as an example. Alissa Smith, the co-founder of Wrenn Rescues, was contacted about a litter of kittens that needed to be rescued.
According to the caller, there were four kittens that weren’t older than ten days that needed a foster home or a rescue with a wider capacity. At the time, the kittens were kept in a shelter in Downey, California.
The staff of the shelter managed to transport them to Ventura County, California, and get them to Alissa ASAP. They mentioned that the mother of the kittens wasn’t dead. They remembered that the person who found the kittens mentioned how the mother was there, too, but she got scared and ran off.
Because the kittens were super, super young, Alissa and the rest of the staff at Wrenn Rescues were worried whether they’d manage to feed them and nurse them back to health. Jennifer Hurt, another co-founder of the rescue, bottle-fed each of the kittens during the day.
Ashley, a foster volunteer at the rescue, fed them during the night. Pretty much everyone at the rescue took turns to take care of the kittens and make sure they were growing bigger, stronger, and healthier with each day.
Now, the mother cat took good care of the kittens before she ran off.
There was no doubt that the kittens were fed, groomed, and taken care of before they were separated from her. That’s one of the reasons why you’re never supposed to move the kittens before you’re sure that the mother abandoned them for good.
There was no reason to believe that the mother cat wanted to abandon them. She got scared and took off, but she probably came back to look for them. That’s something that Alissa, Jennifer, and Ashley were worried about.
Sure, the three women were ready to do everything to ensure the kittens were going to be OK.
But, there was always a question of whether the mother cat was going to show up and wonder where her babies were. Before the kitten even started crying for the mother cat, Ashley and the rest of the staff were over the moon to hear that she did come back for them.
When the Good Samaritans who found the kittens came home, they noticed the mother cat sniffing around, meowing, and searching for them. Luckily, the family was able to catch her and bring her to Wrenn Rescues.
When the mother cat reunited with her little ones, everyone at the rescue cried. She was shy because she didn’t understand what was going on. She refused to come out of the carrier and she kept meowing and crying her heart out.
Ashley brought one of the kittens closer to see whether she was going to react – and she sure did. She came out of the carrier, held onto her kitten, and calmed down right away. She seemed to have figured out where she was – and the moment she saw the kittens, she started purring, meowing, and grooming them.
When the kittens started nursing, everyone broke down. According to Ashley and the rest of the staff, there was something super special about the fact that the family finally reunite, even though they weren’t apart for that long.
The following morning, Ashley woke up to the sounds of nursing, purring, and snuggling, and she thought she was dreaming.
The mother cat was feeding her kittens, watching over them, and kneading with her paws to ensure each and every one of them was getting enough food. To say that the reunion went well would be an understatement.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the mother cat and her kittens find a forever family with a little help from the staff at Wrenn Rescues!