In January, our ASPCA Animal Hospital veterinary technicians provided tips for helping your four-legged companions avoid common pet health problems. Now that kitten season is in full swing, we’ve asked our vet techs to share their expert advice on what to do if you or someone you know encounters abandoned kittens while out and about this summer.
Rena: If you find young kittens in a relatively safe area, such as in the grass or on a sidewalk, it’s best to leave them alone. Mom is probably moving her babies or out looking for food. If the kittens are still there after two or three hours, it’s probably time to intervene—but be sure not to scare mom off by hovering during that two-to-three hour window! You’ll want to take the kittens to a vet as soon as possible. If you find the kittens at a time when local vets are closed, please be prepared to feed the kittens every two hours.
Erica: Yes, kittens need feeding every two hours, day and night. Don’t attempt to use a baby bottle made for humans, and don’t feed the kittens human formula or milk. Instead, go to the pet store and get pet nursers and kitten milk replacer (KMR). The nipple of the nurser won’t have a hole, so you’ll need to carefully cut an “X” into the tip. Then turn the bottle over to test whether formula flows. You can warm the bottle of KMR by submerging it in warm water, but do not microwave the bottle.
Temetrias: When you feed a kitten, position the kitten with his feet down, in a standing position, with his head tilted upward. Gently place the nipple in the kitten’s mouth. It may take a few tries for the kitten to latch on and begin to suckle. Sometimes giving the kitten just a drop by squeezing the bottle slightly will help the kitten to begin feeding, and they will usually let you know when they have had enough. After feeding, dip a soft washcloth or a piece of gauze in warm water and gently massage the kitten’s anal and urinary regions. This stimulates excretion, which kittens can't do on their own until their second or third week.
Geniene: Always keep the kittens warm and never feed a cold kitten. A kitten with a low body temperature will have a difficult time digesting formula. If the kittens are dirty, don’t attempt to bathe them. They can easily choke and drown, and don’t regulate their body temperature well at such a young age. Gently wipe the kittens with a damp towel instead.
Manny: Be sure to keep the kittens away from cats or other pets at home. Remember, kittens are not normally weaned until they are four to six weeks old. If you are considering keeping a kitten, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian about his ongoing care needs.
For more information on keeping kittens and pets happy and healthy this summer, visit our Pet Care section.
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Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July? It’s a weekend for block parties, barbeques, belly-flops in the pool and parades—all best when enjoyed with friends and family, and even better when you have the day off to celebrate with your pets! Have fun, but remember that certain traditional Independence Day activities might not be so fun, or so healthy, for the four-legged members of your household: yes, we’re talking about fireworks.
Fireworks are loud, and the crowds that go to see them can be scary, too. Animal shelters nationwide are flooded with runaway pets on the Fourth; studies show that nearly one in five lost pets went missing because they were fleeing the sound of fireworks or other loud noises. Losing a pet is not only heartbreaking, it’s also very dangerous for the animal, especially if he or she ends up roaming busy streets.
The best way to keep your pets safe is to make sure they don’t go missing in the first place: Please resist the urge to take your pets to go see fireworks. Instead, keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. Double check leashes and collars and make sure your pet’s ID tag is up to date. Be mindful when opening outside doors. And if the unthinkable does happen, the ASPCA’s new app is here to help: Utilizing the latest field research, this free tool provides users with an individual search plan based on their pet’s behavior and individual circumstances so they can search quickly and effectively to recover their lost pet.
As the nation’s second-largest animal welfare grantmaker, the ASPCA is constantly on the lookout for innovative, inspiring, and admirable programs that can benefit from our support. When we first heard about our latest grantee, Operation Blankets of Love, we knew we had found one such program.
Based in Los Angeles, Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL) is a grassroots organization that connects human services to animal welfare in a very unique way. Recognizing that many homeless people have the same love, dedication, and commitment to their pets’ well-being as more fortunate people do, OBOL’s current project—Homeless People’s Pets Community Outreach Project—will provided critical services to homeless people and their pets who are living in shelters or on the streets of L.A.
“Our program’s primary goal is to provide basic supplies and services to keep pets of the homeless happy and healthy, so that they can stay with their loving human companions rather than being relinquished to crowded city and county animals shelters with high euthanasia rates,” says Eileen Smulson, Founder & President of OBOL.
Tessa Madden, Development Coordinator at PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) has worked with Operation Blankets of Love for over three years. “They actively donate care, comfort and pet items that the residents need for their pets,” she says. “This includes necessary pet items they need to keep their dog or cat healthy and happy—food, treats, pet beds, blankets, towels, leashes, collars, toys, grooming supplies, and more.” In addition to these comfort/care items, OBOL also raises funds to provide spay and neuter surgeries for animals in need.
An ASPCA grant of $5,000 will help OBOL deliver needed items and resources to pet families living at eight shelters and social service centers or on the street, and in collaboration with organizations serving the homeless. While OBOL is able to procure much of their supplies through generous in-kind donations from corporations, foundations, and the public, the ASPCA grant will help defray delivery, transportation, and other operational costs to get the pet food and comfort/care items to where they’re needed most.
We are super excited to announce the launch of our latest mobile app for pet parents. The free app offers customized step-by-step instructions to find missing pets, expert advice on protecting pets before and during natural disasters, and a place to safely store and update pets’ medical records. It’s a handy tool to help pet parents make smart choices when those decisions matter most.
Summer travel season is in full swing, and we think trips are always more fun when you bring your furry friends along. If you’re planning to take a vacation this summer with your pets in tow, we’ve got you covered.
Practice makes perfect: It’s a good idea to practice having your pet ride along for a series of short car trips leading up to your big trip.
Ride safely: Keep your pets safe and secure in the car by having them ride in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop.
Road trip snacks: Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet's travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure.
Unless your furry friend is small enough to ride under your seat on a plane, the ASPCA advises avoiding air travel with pets. However, if you must bring your pet along on your flight, it’s best to plan ahead. We recommend you book a direct flight if possible. Here are a few other suggestions:
Careful with crates: Prior to your trip, purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably.
IDs, please: Be sure to mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” as well as your contact information and a photo of your pet. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and that your pet has been microchipped for identification purposes.
In-flight food: Attach a pouch of your pet’s food to the outside of her crate, and freeze water in a dish for your pet to drink as it melts throughout the flight.