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Kittens in the Attic - How To Get Them Out



08.03.2004 - A female feral cat, like any other wild critter, wants a safe place to have her young. So pretty much every time (but not 100% of the time), when I have a call for cats in the attic, there's also some kittens somewhere. It's important to find the kittens, and to check the female cat, if you've caught her without kittens, for swollen cat-teets, which indicate nursing. Believe it or not, kittens drink milk. Who would have thought?

So in this case, I searched and searched for a litter of kittens, and sure enough, I found them, huddled in a ball in the insulation. They looked cute! But not cuter than baby raccoons, which are the cutest of all, cuter even than a button. And baby raccoons are also more snug than baby kittens, more snug than a bug in a rug. I removed the cute and snuggly kittens, and brought the lot to the SPCA. 

Remember, almost any time you are dealing with a critter in an attic, it's a female with babies.  So if you have cats in your attic, please be aware that you've also got kittens up there.  I've seen far too many cases in my life in which an ignorant homeowner tries their own solution - such as trapping the female cat or sealing the hole when she's outside - only to leave helpless young in the attic to starve and die.  Do you want to see these kittens, or any other baby animal, starve?  No?  Super!  Make sure you remove the young as well as the adults.

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What should you do if you find a Litter of Kittens?
Finding abandoned kittens is heart wrenching. They may be in a box on the side of the road or outside a local store with a lot of traffic. A family that cannot afford to feed the kittens, cannot find homes for them, or do not have a shelter that can take them in often abandon the babies.

Make the Kittens Safe
Whether you find the kittens on the side of the road or because you hear tiny meows coming from underneath your porch, you should take care of them. They did not ask to be abandoned so it is important you take on the responsibility.

If you can, bring them inside. Keep them away from any household pets until you are sure they are healthy. Make sure they are warm and well fed.

Ask for Assistance
Call your local animal shelter to ask them for advice on how to handle the situation. Ask them questions like:
• Do you have advice on caring for kittens?
• Do you have a bulletin board I can put flyers on?
• How can I get them fixed and vaccinated at a low cost?
• Do you know of any other organizations that can help?

Also have them put the kittens on a list or notice saying they were found. They may not truly be abandoned, just lost, especially if you find them living around your home.

Feeding Time
The kittens may not be fully weaned off their mother’s milk yet. If that is the case, you will need to get cat formula to sustain them. Pet stores and shelters have different options and often have full kits designed to help the kittens along during this important stage of their lives.

If they respond to eating small amounts of canned food, that will sustain them. Make sure the food is ground and formulated for kittens so they get the nutrition they need.

Adoption by you or others
If you can care for the kittens and want to keep them, that is a great option. You will need to make sure other pets in the family are receptive to the new additions. Introduce them slowly and monitor the situation for their own safety.

If the litter is large you will likely need to find safe and loving homes. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors if they are interested first. If they are not, call your local animal shelter to make sure they have room for them.

Finding kittens and making sure they are well taken care of by you or through adoptions is a wonderful feeling. Take the responsibility and you will not be sorry.

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