What To Do If You Find A Kitten

You guys!

What do you do if you find a kitten on the street? Do you leave it alone? Do you take it? What’s the best protocol?

When doing my post a few weeks ago on kitten rescue kits, I got some excellent pieces of advice from Tammy at Feral Fixers. I would like to share it with you now. Please welcome Tammy! ::applause::

feral fixers logo

C: Tell us, Tammy. What do you do if you see kittens on the street?

.T: If you find kittens, unless they are in danger – predators, exposed, frantic with hunger, LEAVE THEM ALONE and watch.  Do not disturb.  Moms leave their kittens for 10 hours at a time.  When moving kittens, they might do it in stages, moving from A to B, getting them all to B, then moving to C, their ultimate destination.  That can take time.

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C: How long do mother cats leave their kittens unattended?
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T: We have had kittens alone for 72 hours and they have survived – they tend to go into a comatose state and conserve their energy til mom comes back.  But if you disturb them, they wake up and start using their reserves.
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C: What if I want to check on the kitten nest?
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T: If you keep physically going up to the nest and bothering and the mom observes, she will move the kittens at the first opportunity – where you cannot find them later or may only take one or two because that’s all the alternate living arrangements she has found while she has been gone.
A grumpy little kitten who was rescued along with his mama. This kitten does not like kisses.

A grumpy little kitten who was rescued along with his mama. This kitten does not like kisses.

C: Is the ultimate goal to trap both the kittens and the mother?
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T: Yes, that is the ideal: mom doing as much of the work of caring for the kittens as is safe.  Mom is best equipped to care for the kittens.  It’s possible that bringing them into a dog crate can be stressful and result in illness in mom and kittens and moms can up and decide not to continue to care for the kittens if she is stressed, too, but leaving the mom unspayed to make more is completely irresponsible, so if this is the only opportunity to trap her (she only shows up when she has a litter of kittens), take that opportunity.
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C: Which kittens are good candidates for abduction, I mean, rescue?
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T: If they are out and walking about with no supervision, and seem to be 5+ weeks old and capable of eating on their own, it may be that mom has cut her losses, decided she can only care for a portion of her litter and abandoned these ones.  But, still, waiting to see if mom comes back is ideal.
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C: What if I think they really need help. Then what?
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T: If you MUST “rescue” the kittens, if they seem weak or lethargic or at their end of energy – DO NOT FEED!  No matter what the age, if the kittens are not bouncy healthy, first make sure they are warm.  Mom cats are warmer than humans.  Give them a heating pad on low setting, fill an Ice Mountain water bottle with hot water and wrap in a towel and set next to them, but your body heat is not enough.  Cover and seal in the heat.  If you feed a kitten when its cold, you will kill it.
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C: We have personally used the method of putting a heating pad on half of their bed so they can avoid getting over heated and move, if necessary. Is that appropriate in this case?
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T: Absolutely, Set the heating pad on low and give them enough area that they can move off of it, should it become too warm.  Be sure to sandwich the heating pad between two soft pieces of material to preserve the heating pad cover.  Kittens are gross and not in control of themselves until they understand litter boxes!
A messy kitten.

A messy kitten.

C: Yes, they are a bit yucky. What happens when they’re warm?
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T: Once they are warm, the first step is to give them sugar water – doesn’t even have to be Karo syrup.  One part sugar to 3 parts water, even 3 mls will help tremendously to get their reserves replenished.  Plain water if you have no sugar, just to get their systems going again.  THEN you can give them kitten formula (never cow’s milk) or human meat baby food if they are old enough in tiny amounts.  Again, its okay to wait a whole day to feed, as long as they are first warm and then hydrated.
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C: Any further tips on the kitten housing?
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T: Kittens can be housed in small crates,2’x2′ will do until they need room to play.  A plastic shoe box type container can be used for litter until they get too big for it, with at least 2″ of litter to keep it heavy enough not to be spilled.  Use heavy, crock-type food bowls unless you wish to do lots of laundry!

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C: If there anything else you’d like to add?
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T: In all, you have to make yourself as educated as possible in advance (why you are reading this now) so that you can make informed, gut decisions when this situation occurs in your yard!   Every situation is unique and this is a general protocol, a starting point so that you can make the best decisions for the cats you encounter!

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Thanks to Tammy from Feral Fixers for this informative guide and for being out there every day helping homeless cats! It’s a tough job and she deserves a big round of applause!  She also suggested this link to Alley Cat Allies for more information on caring for neonatal kittens. Does anyone have any questions for Tammy?

Love,

Crepes.

Meet Francis! – Betta Care Tips

You guys!

I’m so excited to introduce to you the newest member of our family: Francis!

Francis in his Tree House holding glass, waiting for his home to be cleaned.

Francis in his Tree House holding glass, waiting for his home to be cleaned.

Francis is my new crown tail betta friend. In addition to presenting him, I wanted to share with you some important information about bettas and their care.

Now, MomFOD wasn’t looking for a betta but, as she puts it, their eyes met and she knew Francis had to come home with her. She went home and left him at the store so she could have a night to prepare and make sure it was the right choice – bettas require a lot of care – and, after sleeping on it, decided it was.

If you want to have a betta friend, here are some things you should know:

  • Bettas can breathe air. This is good and bad. It’s good because it allows them to be adaptable – for instance, if they hop out of their tank, they’ll be ok as long as they don’t dry out. The bad is that people think that means they can live in dirty water. This is not so, which brings me to my next point.
  • Bettas need clean water, regardless of what marketing campaigns want us to believe. Fish waste creates ammonia and ammonia is poisonous to fish. Your betta’s water should be cleaned out frequently, depending on the size of the tank.
  • Tank size is important. Would you want to live in a glass? Unlikely. Please don’t put your betta in anything less than one gallon. More swimming surface equals a happier betta. Hidey holes, soft plants, and a place to nap are essentials.
  • Bettas are carnivores. They do not eat plant roots. Have you heard of betta lilies? They are a gimmick. You must feed your betta and change his water. Please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Many bettas have died because of this silly “novelty.”
  • Bettas are jumpers by nature. Make sure your tank has a cover that allows air flow. We are presently using a stocking.
  • Bettas can learn tricks! They recognize faces, will follow your finger, will jump for food, and will even swim through hoops. Spend time with your betta to see his personality really come out.
  • You cannot house more than one betta together. They will kill each other. You can, however, use secure dividers to keep multiple bettas together, but remember that that will stress them out eventually because they will constantly be flaring.
  • Bettas “flare” to show dominance, but it’s also good for them! It gives them exercise. Use a small hand mirror for a few minutes a day to get your betta to flare.
  • Bettas do NOT make good wedding centerpieces. Please don’t treat them like decorations.
  • Male bettas care for the eggs and the young. That’s why they build bubble nests!
  • Bettas can live several years with the right care.

Bettas are really awesome, smart little fish.  Here are a few more photos of Francis:

Francis in his little home. He has a two gallon all to himself with a little house, tree, and hammock.

Francis in his little home. He has a two gallon all to himself with a little house, tree, and hammock.

Francis napping in his little hammock.

Francis napping in his little hammock.

We are on the lookout for something a little more spacious for Francis, but for now he’s happy! We carry him from room to room to change his view so he doesn’t get bored. Please join us in welcoming him to our home!

Did you like this post? Let us know if you’d like more information on bettas! MomFOD’s really into them.

For more information, you can check out: Betta Care 101   Betta Fish Forum   or Betta Talk

Love,

Crepes.

PS. Please remember to vote for the Inheritance. Rocky doesn’t want his 80’s portraits to have been in vain.