If You Find Kittens

It is very important to assess the age of kittens BEFORE handling them. If you pick up a kitten that still has it's eyes closed, chances are the mother will reject the kitten. Babies this young have a very slim chance of surviving with bottle feeding. On the other hand, waiting until a kitten is 6 months old to attempt socialization is also asking for disaster. Here is a guide to age and appropriate action.

Under 2 weeks-Eyes closed, very uncoordinated- kittens should NOT be handled or taken from their mother. If mom isn't around, she is probably out hunting and will not return if people are near.

10 days old

2-4 weeks-Eyes open, beginning to romp and play but still uncoordinated, not eating solid food- kittens still need to be with their mothers but might be safe to trap mom and babies now.

3 weeks old

4-6 weeks-Will eat wet food/drink water from dish but very messy, still a bit uncoordinated- This is the age most moms will bring kittens out of hiding to let them play. She may leave fresh kills for them to eat. This is the perfect time to start socializing with food and play. But kittens still need mom's milk to thrive.

5 weeks old

6-8 weeks-Beginning to eat dry food, very playful, starting to climb and jump- Kittens are ready to be weaned. This is a safe time to separate from mom, especially if mom is feral. Moms should be given 2 weeks for their milk to dry up and should then be trapped and spayed.

7 weeks old

8-12 weeks-If left with feral mom, kittens are already starting to show trust issues-hissing, spitting, growling. This is a tricky age to begin socializing. Patience is needed. Unfortunately not all kittens at this age will "tame" up. Use wet food and treats to gain trust.

12 weeks old

Over 3 months-with no prior people contact , socialization is very difficult. But it is critical that these kittens get trapped and spayed/neutered immediately. Females can get pregnant as early as 5 months of age. Early spay/neuter can help stop the cycle of over-population.

6 months old
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