Many people either 'rescue' or remove unweaned kittens from their mothers without realising what the consequences are, and these kittens are often dumped on welfare organisations doorsteps.

The consequences can be dire for the kittens and the mother cat as well as the general cat populations in the area.  The mother cat gets severely distressed because her kittens are removed and early removal can cause Mastitis in the mother cat because the kittens are no longer suckling on her.  Her teats will become engorged and if she gets Mastitis - it could kill her!  This is an extremely painful infection for the mother cat.

Removing the kittens will also cause the mother cat to come into season sooner because she has not finished the usual 8 week lactation period. 

Even with the most skilled and dedicated human foster mother, bottle fed kittens only have a 50% survival rate, they are not getting the much needed colostrum in the mothers milk which increases the risk of infection.  Bottle fed kittens are often stunted in their growth and do not reach the full potential as they would have being fed on their mothers milk.

The 'rescuers' rarely think of the time, effort and emotional involvement that go into bottle feeding and often sleep the night through - not even considering what the foster mother has to go through waking up every two to three hours for feeding, the finances that go into veterinary care, formula and other necessities or the emotional distress that the foster mother endures if the kitten loses its  battle to survive.

If you find unweaned kittens, rather leave them.  Put food near or at the nest to confirm that the mother is alive and well - if the kittens are cold, put a blanket or towel around them.  ONLY removed the kittens if the food has not been touched overnight or if the mother is confirmed dead. (see I have just found a newborn or tiny kitten)

      If the mother is alive and well, contact one of your local charities that assists with feral cat trapping if she is to wild to catch and have her sterilised and placed back in the area. (see feral cat benefits).

       It is important to handle the kittens when the mom is not around so that they will grow up to be tame, when they are eating solids, remove them one by one to go to their new homes or to the local shelter who will assist with rehoming them.





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