Kitty Post November 2021: Kittens in Your Yard. What to Do and WHEN? By Kathy Rodeffer
Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Beltsville Community Cats (BCC) has been serving our community for over 2 years by performing trap, neuter, vaccinate, and return (TNVR) activities to reduce the number of free-roaming cats in Beltsville and picking up young kittens to be socialized by foster families before being adopted into forever homes. Socializing and adopting out kittens born to feral mothers not only reduces the population of community cats, but it also gives these kittens a chance to live long, healthy, indoor lives as part of a loving family.
While socialization may occur at any age, the younger kittens are when they are rescued, the quicker they change from being terrified to being purring lap cats. Optimally, kittens should stay with their mothers until they are 4 weeks old. However, mother cats sometimes abandon their kittens earlier than that. These babies must be bottle fed by a trained foster. Many mother cats start the weaning process when their kittens are around 5 weeks old; however, four-week old kittens should be able to eat solid food on their own. Waiting until kittens are older than 2 months slows the socialization process down significantly. At 3 to 4 months old, a kitten that has been outside without being handled is usually too old to learn to trust people.
As a BCC foster, I have seen the difference between the young and older kittens. Older kittens that don’t adapt to human contact often have to be neutered and returned to live with their community cat colony instead of being adopted into a forever home.
The best advice if you see kittens in your yard is to contact Beltsville Community Cats immediately so they can be monitored and caught as soon as they are old enough.
BCC is committed to controlling the community cat population in Beltsville while being kind and compassionate to these free-roaming cats.
Looking for a furry family member, please consider adopting one of our beautiful kittens found on Petfinder at: https://www.petfinder.com/member/us/md/beltsville/beltsville-community-cats-md506/. Apply to adopt from BCC at: https://www.shelterluv.com/matchme/adopt/BCC/Cat. Apply to foster BCC kittens at: http://www.shelterluv.com/matchme/foster/BCC/Cat.