What should I do if I find a stray kitten?

US & World
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NEW YORK (WOWK) – June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Ca Month, as well as kitten season, so the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®, or ASPCA®, is launching a new online tool to help the public know the next steps to take if they find stray kittens outside.

The interactive tool, found online at ASPCA.org/FoundKittens, is accessible on desktop and mobile devices. ASPCA® says it will help animal lovers across the country make the best decisions for the kittens’ well-being.

The organization says each year during kitten season, hundreds of thousands of homeless kittens are born across the country. Newborn and young kittens are among the most vulnerable animal populations, and the ASPCA® says they are often unintentionally orphaned by being removed from their environment. While some stray kittens may appear to be alone, the mother may be hiding nearby or out finding food.

“When you find kittens outside, it’s crucial to pause and assess how to help these vulnerable animals in a way that matches their unique situation to give them the best chance at survival and avoid overwhelming shelters when it’s not necessary,” said Tina Reddington Fried, Director, Los Angeles Volunteer & Kitten Programs. “It can be tempting to take the kittens home or immediately bring them to a shelter, but some kittens who are with their mother should often be left alone or monitored—as no one can care for a kitten like their own mother.”

The tool was created to help the public know when to step in, according to the ASPCA®, because not all kittens need the same type of assistance. The tool will allow people to determine what approach to take tailored to the individual situation based on information gathered by answering a simple series of questions including how the animals were found and other observations.

Kitten season, or feline breeding season, usually occurs during warmer months, generally between March and October, depending on the area of the country. ASPCA® says this is when many shelters experience the most cat and kitten intake. Fried says the shelters in L.A. County and L.A. city see 90%, approximately 37,000 kittens, of the kittens brought to those shelters come in during those months.

According to the ASPCA® at-risk kittens make up a large part of the roughly 3.2 million cats that enter shelters across the country each year. they often require round-the-clock care as well as protection from any infectious diseases fully-grown cats may bring in.

“The tremendous annual need of foster caregivers for newborn cats has coincided with an enormous and unprecedented response from the public seeking to support their local animal shelters during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” said Fried. “Applications to temporarily foster animals through ASPCA programs in New York City and Los Angeles increased by 159% during the first 12 months of the pandemic —and with this need met, we now have an opportunity to save even more animal lives by remaining alert and taking actions that focus on stray kittens found outdoors.”

If you want to learn more about the tool and recommended actions to take if you find kittens, visit the ASPCA website.

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