Thursday, July 25, 2024
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The Kitten Game-How to Help Feral Kittens

Newborn kittens.
Newborn kittens.

I’ve had another article published on Pet Radio Magazine, “The Kitten Game—How to Help Feral Kittens”. It’s part 2 of a four-part series of articles I’m writing about TNR and working with stray and feral cats for the magazine.

TNR seems pretty straightforward—identify cats in need, trap them for spay or neuter, return them to their caretaker. But kittens change the rules of the game.

…what happens when you find kittens? And you are likely to—kittens born outdoors are what replenishes stray and feral colonies just when you thought you had them under control.

The universal response to finding kittens is to presume they are abandoned and unable to care for themselves and to take them home, but not only is that rarely the right response, it’s not even the right presumption and can often be harmful to the kittens and backfire if you are attempting to manage a colony through TNR. These kittens may be found by someone else or by you as you are working on a TNR project, but whether you are advising someone else or doing the work yourself, the decisions remain the same. The kitten decision game involves the approximate age of the kittens and the presence, or lack, of a mother cat, and the knowledge that kittens younger than eight weeks belong with their mother, even if she is feral.

In the article I’ve outlined three different scenarios based on age and development, how to check for a mother cat if non is seen, and how to bring them all to safety while still keeping kittens and mother together as long as necessary.

Part one, “TNR With a Side of Adoption and Outreach”, discussed ways to make TNR successful in not only stabilizing an outdoor cat population but reducing it as proved in several studies and in practice, but removing all kittens and friendly cats and also enlisting the help and support of the cat caretakers already in place.

Please visit Pet Radio Magazine and read the article, and please share too. I love rescuing cats, but I also love sharing encouragement and techniques that others can realistically use to rescue cats in their turn and encourage people to spay and neuter their pets, the only way we will ever stop the overpopulation and killing.


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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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