Coping with Kitten Season

We are about to embark on the start of kitten season. Thousands of homeless kittens will be born outside throughout Central Florida over the next few months, and we need your help to care for them. If unprepared, Pet Alliance shelters will be easily overwhelmed with kittens brought by the dozens to our doors each day. Kittens and puppies are the most at-risk animals in shelters. It can take an army of volunteers to care for underage animals because they require around the clock care. How can you help?

Don’t Kit-nap Kittens

If you see a kitten or a litter of kittens by themselves with no mom in sight, the first thing you need to do is wait. Moms will almost always return for their kittens within a few hours. They may be moving kittens to a new den one-by-one or out hunting for food. It is okay for kittens to be alone as long as they are in a safe place and hidden away. Make sure that they are dry, not too cold or warm, and wait at least 24 hours for mom to return. 

Pro Tip: If the kittens are clean and silent, then leave them be as long as possible. If they are dirty or crying, it’s a good indicator that they need help after you’ve given time for mom to come back.

Become a Foster Parent

When people bring kittens to Pet Alliance, we will ask them to personally foster the kitten in their home until they are 8 week old and 2 pounds.

If they don’t feel comfortable, have the time, or if the kittens are only a few hours old or need special medical attention, we will then reach out to our existing list of volunteer foster parents. If you would like to be a part of our fostering family, please fill out our foster parent application on our website.

Donate Supplies

We never want to turn away a kitten in need simply because we do not have the resources to help them. You can find a Pet Alliance Wish Lists at both Amazon and Chewy.

We include many high priority items such as Kitten Milk Replacer, bottles/nipples, baby wipes, heating pads and kitten pate style wet food. If shopping on Amazon, choose Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando through Amazon Smile (their donation program), and 0.5% of your purchase will be donated to our shelters.

Adopt a Cat

When you adopt a cat or kitten from Pet Alliance, you’re not only giving your new pet a second chance — you are also making space for other pets in need by simply helping one pet find a home. 

Check out our website for more information fostering, donating supplies, and adopting at PetallainceOrlando.org

Latest Blog Posts

Fostering Q&A with Susan!

Yesterday our foster care coordinator, Susan, answered a few questions about our FOSTER CARE program on our Instagram page. Do not worry if you missed out, we selected a few questions to share here: How do I apply to foster? If you are interested in becoming a foster volunteer for Pet Alliance, simply go to our website and

Read More »

Coping with Kitten Season

We are about to embark on the start of kitten season. Thousands of homeless kittens will be born outside throughout Central Florida over the next few months, and we need your help to care for them. If unprepared, Pet Alliance shelters will be easily overwhelmed with kittens brought by the dozens to our doors each

Read More »

Young Entrepreneurs Are The Next Generation of Philanthropists

In the midst of months of social distancing and isolation due to COVID-19, three sisters in east Orlando decided to venture into the business of giving back. Enter the young entrepreneurs running S3 Creationz. It started with their mother’s suggestion to get creative with the free time the sisters now had at home. They decided to

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How To Take Care of an Underaged Kitten

The 2020 Kitten Season is upon us here in Central Florida, meaning thousands of kittens will end up in shelters across the state (as well as nation wide) as unaltered cats being having litters of kittens. Just last year, over 1,300 kittens were brought to Pet Alliance alone.

This “season” lasts for most of the summer, but Southern states like Florida, where it’s hot year round, have a steady flow of kittens throughout the year. Summer just so happens to be when we see kittens rushed to the shelter daily, which can put a strain on resources as kittens are some of the most vulnerable animals at the shelter. 

Did you find a kitten? Did you look for mom first?

Litters of kittens require around the clock care as many are turned into the shelter without a mom. Without mom, kittens are less likely to survive as they depend on her for all aspects of their well-being. When humans intervene by picking up a kitten and they didn’t wait to see if mom was around, they haven’t taken every step to help protect that life. It turns out that seemingly “orphaned” kittens are usually within watching distance of mom, but she’s likely spooked by people poking at her kittens. So she won’t approach. 

You can learn more about what that looks like in our Do’s & Don’ts of Finding a Newborn Kitten blog post, but our main ask is you: 1. leave them be. 2. Wait for mom.

Foster Parents Help Save Lives

Even when every effort is made to find mom, some kittens truly have been orphaned, so we understand why many folks lean on shelters for guidance.

But the truth is that most shelters don’t have the time or staffing to reasonably take on the dozens of kittens that come into the shelter daily throughout kitten season. Taking care of kittens means individualized care that should be done in a home environment, as they could be exposed to a number of illness their tiny immune systems aren’t ready to fight like upper respiratory infections (URI) while at the shelter. 

Taking care of kittens involves:

  • Bottle feedings 2-6 hours a part depending on their age.
  • Keeping them warm 24/7 with heating pads and rice socks as they can’t regulate their temperature until they’re 4 weeks old.
  • Stimulating them to go to the bathroom as they can’t on their own.
  • Maintaining detailed notes about their weight gains, and pee/poops (how much, what color, etc.)
  • Taking them to veterinary appointments for shots, needed medications, or if you think something needs to be addressed by a medical professional. 
  • Keeping your supplies stocked which includes bottles with various nipples (aka every kitten is different and likes to eat THEIR way), milk replacer, baby wipes (trust us you need them), tissues, heating pads/rice socks, training litter boxes, litter made for kittens, toys, cans and can of solid food for when they are weaning, and more!

Sometimes even after all of the efforts made above, we still just can’t replace what mom provides to a young life. So many day-old or several week old kittens don’t make. So please, do you best to locate mom

We rely heavily on fosters to take care of these kittens into their homes and raise for them instead. Most fosters actually end up being the same people who have found the kittens originally depending on their age as day-old newborns (or neonatal kittens) often need an experienced hands as they are already at a disadvantage. 

But once a kitten or litter placed in foster care and a routine is established then it’s usually smooth sailing! 

Wait Till 8

Kittens are typically in foster care until they are at least 8 weeks old and 2lbs so they can receive their spay/neuter surgeries to help end the cycle of kitten over population. During these 8 weeks, foster parents will need to measure weight gain and body development in order to see if the kitten is meeting all their weekly milestones. 

Some kittens have issues with constipation, eye infections, URIs, random bouts of fussy eating, and more! So it’s not always easy, but at Pet Alliance our foster care Coordinators are able to assist with years of advice and are in contact with our shelter veterinarian to set up appointments. 

Fostering through Pet Alliance

If you have a kitten you would like to foster through Pet Alliance call (407) 351-7722. Must be local to Central Florida, willing to care for the kitten(s) in their home till they are 8 weeks old and 2lbs. All adoptions will take place through Pet Alliance, but will also include their medical and spay/neuter surgeries.  

What to have in your Kitten Kit

Just a few examples from our wishlist that we use for kittens and puppies in our care. Make sure kittens are placed in a well ventilated area with high sides so they can’t escape. Clear storage bins with no lid can do the trick!

Breeders’ Edge – Puppy/KittenMilk Replacer – During the summer months, thousands of kittens and puppies will turn to our foster parents for care. Milk replacer is invaluable in helping these kittens/puppies make it adoption age — 8 weeks and 2 pounds.

Kitten Pate Wet Cat Food (Healthy Gourmet) – Kitten’s who are weaning will receive Pate style wet food. One litter (depending on their age) can eat up to two cans a day! 

Natural Care Unscented Baby Wipes – Unscented, natural baby wipes are helpful for fosters to clean up any puppies or kittens as they need to be stimulated to defecate. 

The Miracle Nip – During the summer months, thousands of kittens and puppies will turn to our foster parents for care. Miracle Nipples are the best for bottle babies are kittens tend to like the smaller size AND these nipples can be added to many different types of bottles. You typically only need one nipple per litter. 

Litter Boxes (any brand | small, medium, and large sizes) – Did you know that our feline residents get a fresh litter box every day? 

KMR Formula – you will need a formula bottle that fits the specific nipple you’re using with your kitten/litter. You will need to sanitize the bottle between feedings to ensure no nasty bacteria is grown in the bottle hat could lead to GI issues. 

Heat Disk, Heating Pad, or Rice Socks – Young kittens can’t regulate their body temperature till they are around 4 weeks old. So fosters will need to add a heat source to their nest that should include blankets or towels. 

Latest Blog Posts

Coping with Kitten Season

We are about to embark on the start of kitten season. Thousands of homeless kittens will be born outside throughout Central Florida over the next few months, and we need your help to care for them. If unprepared, Pet Alliance shelters will be easily overwhelmed with kittens brought by the dozens to our doors each

Read More »

How To Take Care of an Underaged Kitten

The 2020 Kitten Season is upon us here in Central Florida, meaning thousands of kittens will end up in shelters across the state (as well as nation wide) as unaltered cats being having litters of kittens. Just last year, over 1,300 kittens were brought to Pet Alliance alone. This “season” lasts for most of the

Read More »

The Do’s and Don’ts of Finding a Newborn Kitten

So, you’ve found a homeless kitten. It’s not as uncommon as you may think. For some folks out there, in the summer months it’s pretty normal to see mothers and their kittens nursing in hidden spots in your yard, in bushes, sheds, or some moms have even walked right into a strangers home to give birth. 

Read More »

The Do’s and Don’ts of Finding a Newborn Kitten

So, you’ve found a homeless kitten. It’s not as uncommon as you may think. For some folks out there, in the summer months it’s pretty normal to see mothers and their kittens nursing in hidden spots in your yard, in bushes, sheds, or some moms have even walked right into a strangers home to give birth. 

On the surface, kitten season sounds like endless fun. However, a mixture of human interference and homeless pet over population makes this time of year tough on cats and the shelters who care for them. With so many cats roaming around neighborhoods as the summer months roll in, it’s inevitable that we get a steady progression of pregnant moms having litter, after litter of kittens. Female cats are able to have kittens as early as four to six month old (while they’re still kittens themselves!).

Mix that with their ability to go into heat just six-eight weeks after giving birth — it’s no wonder they’re are so many kittens this time of year. 

How can we prevent kitten season?

Get pets spayed (female) or neutered (male), and/or support a Trap Neuter Release programs (TNR)

What to do when you find kittens

The scenarios in which you can find a kitten are never one size fits all. We have heard of kittens being found with a whole litter with no mom in sight, or it could be just that you found a single kitten on their own.

The rule of thumb is: Leave them be. We all want to help protect these babies, but the truth is that kittens stand a better chance at survival when they are with their mom. Here are some questions to ask before interfering:

  • Is mom around? Chances are mom will move her kittens from den to den if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Or mom leaves to grab a quick meal. This is likely the time when a Good Samaritan would have stepped in seeing an “abandoned” kitten. What you should do:
    • Find a spot near by (35 feet at least or mom won’t come back) to sit quietly and wait. That way the kitten isn’t completely unsupervised, but you aren’t interrupting.
    • Make sure the kitten is safe from any animals loose in the yard, they aren’t near heavy foot traffic, and the weather isn’t too cold, or rainy.
How mom will move her kittens from den to den.
  • How long have the kittens been alone? It can take several hours for mom to return to her kittens, but as long as they’re warm and healthy they shouldn’t have a problem waiting for her to come back. So wait as long as you are able.

  • Is the kitten clean and silent, or dirty and meowing? The longer a kitten is without mom, the more signs there are that you can intervene. Healthy kittens who were taken care of by mom recently will look plump, clean, and will be relatively silent (these are the kittens to leave as long as possible). Kittens who are dirty and meowing have likely been left alone for a longer period of time. 

 
  • Are they able to eat on their own? Kittens at 8 weeks should be weened from nursing. Some moms will leave their kittens at this age. You can test to see if a kitten is old enough to eat solid food by getting a pate style wet food and see if the kitten eats. If they don’t eat right away but look healthy, please continue to wait for mom. If it’s been over an hour, the kittens look dirty, and they’re eating the wet food, it might be time to intervene. 

How to take Care of a Homeless Kitten

It’s only when you have waited several hours and are certain mom isn’t coming back that you can remove the kittens. But that’s not to be taken lightly. 

If you aren’t prepared to foster the kittens yourself, there are limited options for taking care of the kittens. At Pet Alliance, we provide our foster parents with Kitten Kits to help take care of them until they are eight weeks of age in their homes. When they get to over eight weeks and are two pounds, we will spay the kittens and put them up for adoption at the shelter. If you have questions about kitten season, or have found a kitten you are willing to foster, please call (407) 352. 7722. 

 

Latest Blog Posts

Fostering Q&A with Susan!

Yesterday our foster care coordinator, Susan, answered a few questions about our FOSTER CARE program on our Instagram page. Do not worry if you missed out, we selected a few questions to share here: How do I apply to foster? If you are interested in becoming a foster volunteer for Pet Alliance, simply go to our website and

Read More »

Coping with Kitten Season

We are about to embark on the start of kitten season. Thousands of homeless kittens will be born outside throughout Central Florida over the next few months, and we need your help to care for them. If unprepared, Pet Alliance shelters will be easily overwhelmed with kittens brought by the dozens to our doors each

Read More »

Young Entrepreneurs Are The Next Generation of Philanthropists

In the midst of months of social distancing and isolation due to COVID-19, three sisters in east Orlando decided to venture into the business of giving back. Enter the young entrepreneurs running S3 Creationz. It started with their mother’s suggestion to get creative with the free time the sisters now had at home. They decided to

Read More »

Kitten Season: “We Need Foster Parents to Save Lives”

Meet Monroe. He was born just 10 days ago and as the story usually goes during kitten season — he was found by a good Samaritan, no mom in sight and most of his litter-mates had passed away.

We are about to embark on the start of kitten season when thousands of kittens will be born in the Central Florida area. Because it is warm pretty much year round here in Florida, we can be overwhelmed with kittens being brought into the shelter. Foster parents open their homes until kittens/puppies are eight weeks old, at least two pounds, and have received spay/neuter surgeries before they’re eligible for adoption — and it’s no easy feat!

These kittens are the most at-risk animals in a shelter, and it takes an army of volunteers to care for underage kittens as they require around the clock care. This involves hourly feedings, stimulation to relieve themselves, and the reheating of heating disks or heating pads as they are unable to regulate their body temperature on their own until they’re about four weeks old.

While incredibly tough work, especially considering how much can be set against these kittens in their first few weeks of life, it’s so rewarding to see little guys like Monroe thrive.

Learn more about becoming a Foster Parent by attending an open house and help us save lives this kitten season.

10-day-old Monroe held and cared for by Foster Coordinator, Susan Russell.