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  • PACC urges community to leave kittens in their place

    May 10, 2018 | Read More News
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    kittensWith summer breeding season underway, Pima Animal Care Center alerts the public that they may begin to see litters of newborn kittens throughout the community and asks them to please leave these litters in their place. Although the kittens may appear alone and unattended, PACC says it’s normal animal behavior. 

    “Mothers rarely abandon their young, but will frequently leave them for extended periods to care for themselves,” said PACC’s Cat Program Coordinator Stephanie Stryker. “In some cases, the mother will only come and go to nurse.” 

    Before assuming a litter has been abandoned, Stryker encourages community members to sprinkle a ring of baking soda around the area and leave for a few hours. Fresh paw prints will indicate mom came back to care for them, even if you didn’t see her. 

    Additional considerations include:
    • If there is a single kitten or two, there’s a possibility that the mother is in the process of relocating them. She can only move them one at a time in her mouth. 
    • If the kittens’ bellies are rounded and feel warm and full, then it’s likely their mother has recently fed them.
    • If the kittens appear sick (i.e. eye and/or respiratory infections, diarrhea) they may need to be removed from their mother’s care for treatment. 
    • If kittens are injured or in a dangerous place, like a roadway or intersection, please take them to PACC's shelter, 4000 N. Silverbell Road.   
    In past breeding seasons, well-intentioned community members have dropped off dozens of healthy litters at PACC’s shelter because they’re not familiar with this animal behavior and think it’s the right thing to do. However, most shelters, including PACC, do not have the resources to care for infant pets in-house. 

    “Newborn and infant kittens require specialized, around-the-clock care that’s not sustainable in a shelter setting,” Stryker said. “A kitten’s best chance at survival is with its mother.” 

    As an alternative to surrendering the kittens to the shelter, community members may request supplies from PACC and care for the litter themselves. 

    To care for those orphaned kittens who do end up at PACC, however, shelter staff will rely on volunteer foster parents who can bottle feed them and provide them specialized care. Currently, PACC needs more foster parents to assist with newborn and other types of foster placements. For more information on becoming a foster parent, visit PACC’s website or contact a foster coordinator at pacc.foster@pima.gov

    Also, know that PACC offers assistance to get free-roaming cats in your yard or neighborhood spayed and neutered. Please contact PACC’s Community Cats Program at 520-724-5269 or email PACC's cat program coordinator to learn more.