So you found a litter of kittens – What’s next?

Across the nation, Spring’s end and Summer’s beginning marks the time of year when the many feral kittens are born annually. In central Florida, feral and community cats are a significant segment of the un-homed animal population. Chances are, you’ve seen cats in your own community. Since we are now at the height of “Kitten Season,” being armed with the know-how to appropriately address these little ones is of great importance to the Greater Orlando area.

We at Pet Alliance see a large increase in the number of kittens with bewildered – yet caring – humans wondering what to do with them.  Here are our top six tips to help them survive the season.

  1. Respect the mother. When you see newborn kittens, resist the urge to pick them up and rescue them. Kittens less than four weeks old should not be separated from their mothers and taken to a shelter. Any kittens best chance for survival is with their mother. Like human babies, newborn kittens need a mother’s care and the antibodies from her milk to create a stronger immune system.
  2. Observe. We suggest watching them from a distance.  Look around for the mother. Remember, she will need to leave her litter for brief periods of time to find food for herself. If the kittens are clean and sleeping, mom is simply away finding food.
  3. Don’t interfere. Later when you check back and the mother has returned, take a nice long breath.  This is great.  As cute and fragile as they may appear, never interfere with the kittens as long as the mother is around. Please overcome your desire to touch them, create shelter for them or directly feed them. This could cause the mother to get stressed and abandon her litter.
  4. Feed and hydrate. To do so, place containers at a distance from the mom and kittens to avoid disturbing them.  More importantly, food left out may also attract other animals and you don’t want them to discover the kittens.  This should be understood but always keep dogs and children away from the area.
  5. Interact. When the time comes and kittens are eating on their own, this is when you can interact with the litter. If the mom is friendly and handled easily, bring her and the kittens indoors or to a shelter until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered and then adopted into new homes. Pet Alliance offers a virtual kitten nursery that affords kittens the opportunity to develop until they are old enough for adoption. Need more help? Let’s say mom is less willing to work with you as the well-meaning lover of cats.  Call us and we can discuss options to trap the cat once she has finished caring for her kittens.
  6. Now it’s time for an intervention. Finally, the kittens are eating on their own.  It is safe to separate them from the mother.  It is important to spay the mother and spay/ neuter her kittens to prevent further overpopulation.

Keep an eye out for kittens as you go about your daily activities. We encourage giving care in the wisest way possible. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s the perfect moment to honor mothers of all types: human, felines and, of course, Mother Nature.

Hurricane Pet Tips & Pet Friendly Shelters

Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Operation Hours during Hurricane Irma

  • Pet Alliance will be CLOSED on Monday and Tuesday.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1st to November 30th. Be prepared with these tips from the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.

Download our Hurricane Preparedness Sheet (PDF)
Download our Hurricane Preparedness Sheet (PDF)

Are you and your pet prepared?

  1. Never leave your pet behind.
  2. The safest place for your pet is with you! If you must evacuate, take your pet along.
  3. Place two ID tags on your pet’s collar. Include a temporary tag with the phone number of a friend or relative who lives outside your immediate area.
  4. Microchip your pet and make sure the chip registration is updated. Be sure to locate and update your microchip registry.
  5. Prepare a travel kit for your pet. Include bowls, food, bottled water, towels, needed prescriptions, bathing supplies, flea/tick control, and leashes.
  6. Make sure your pets are current on vaccinations.
  7. Create a record file for each pet. Include your pet’s vaccination records.
  8. Always travel with photographs of your pet.
  9. Have travel carriers handy for evacuation. Make your pet’s carrier a fun and safe place by placing treats, toys and meals in it on a routine basis.
  10. Most public evacuation shelters do not accept pets. Know ahead of time pet friendly accommodations. Visit ‘Bring Fido‘ to locate pet friendly accommodations, and view our map below for area shelters that do allow them.
  11. Take your dogs on a long walk before the storm.
  12. Keep your pets routine as normal as possible (feeding time and potty time
  13. Bonus tip: you can buy a small area of fake grass and a baby pool and put in the garage for them to use the bathroom during the storm.

For the latest storm information, visit the National Hurricane Center.

Keep checking back for more tips, first-hand accounts, and more, designed to help pet owners be prepared for hurricane season.

You can help a pet in need by supporting the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, donate today!

Pet Friendly Shelters

Below is a map of Pet Friendly shelters in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Brevard counties:

If you do take your pet to a shelter, remember:

  • Shelters are first-come, first-served, so get there early.
  • You must have the pet in a carrier or cage.
  • You must provide proof of current vaccinations.
  • Bring Food, water and serving containers.

The shelter locations in the map above where current as of 9/5/2017 and may change. Please view your county website for full shelter information:

Osceola County
Seminole County
Orange County
Lake County
Brevard County
Volusia County

Myths and Facts about Spaying and Neutering

Myth: Female dogs and cats should have at least one litter before having them spayed.
Truth: There is no medical evidence to justify allowing a dog or cat to have a litter before spaying. In fact, spaying female dogs and cats eliminates the possibility of developing uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the threat of mammary cancer.

Myth: Animals become less active and overweight as a result of spaying or neutering.
Truth: As any animal matures, it is necessary for human guardians to adjust dietary intake to compensate for more sedentary lifestyles. Animals become overweight only when they are fed too much and not exercised properly.

cat with coneMyth: Behavior is adversely affected by sterilization.
Truth: The only changes in dog and cat behavior after spaying or neutering are positive changes.  Male cats tend to reduce territorial spraying, depending on their age at neutering. Neutered dogs and cats fight less, resulting in fewer bite and scratch wounds and lessening the spread of contagious diseases.  Male dogs and cats tend to stay home more after neutering because they no longer wander in search of a mate.

Myth: Spaying and neutering is painful to my dog or cat.
Truth: Surgical sterilization is performed under general anesthesia by a doctor of veterinary medicine. The procedure itself is not felt by the patient.  There may be mild discomfort after the surgery, but most animals return to normal activity within 24 to 72 hours.  The minimal discomfort experienced by dogs and cats that are spayed or neutered can be lessened with post-operative pain medications and is well worth the endless suffering that is prevented by eliminating homeless puppies and kittens.

Myth: Children should be allowed to witness the miracle of birth.
Truth: Most dogs and cats have their litters at night in quiet, dark places far out of anyone’s sight.  Besides, every litter of puppies and kittens born contributes to the thousands of unwanted dogs and cats who die every day across America in our nation’s pounds and animal shelters.