Updated: Jan 12, 2021
Hundreds of kittens are born every day during kitten season. Our shelters in North Texas are full of kittens and young cats during this time. It can be a challenge for local shelters to find fosters and have enough supplies and resources to fulfill the influx in the population. You can be a hero and save a life by fostering. Here are some tips on how to help and ensure kittens' survival.
If You Find Kittens Outside: Wait and Watch.
Mama cats should care for their kittens until they are 8 weeks old. If you find stray kittens, wait to see if Mama is around. Their mom is their best chance of survival. A trick to check if Mom has been around: sprinkle flour around the kittens to see if any adult tracks have been left.
Have you seen Mama in the last 12 hours?
Yes: Mama is around! Yay! Mama cat can now care for her kittens until they are ready to be adopted at 8 weeks old.
No: If Mama cat has been gone for more than 12 hours, then the kittens are likely orphaned.
Fostering kittens is an incredibly rewarding commitment that requires dedication and time.
Kittens weigh about 2 to 4 ounces at birth. They are blind, deaf and totally dependent on the mother cat for survival. Without their mama, fosters who bottle feed kittens are their only chance of survival.
Some kitten developmental milestones:
At 7 to 10 days old, their eyes start to open. Kittens’ eyes are fully open by 20 days. Their eyes stay blue until they are 6 to 7 weeks old.
They begin crawling at 16 to 20 days.
They will begin to play with each other at 3 to 4 weeks.
By 3 to 4 weeks, solid food can be introduced, their first juvenile teeth are cut, and litter box training begins.
At 6 weeks, kittens are well-coordinated, running and climbing and full of mischief.
Kittens are ready for their first vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery at 8 weeks old.
At 8 weeks old, kittens may be ready to adopt into loving forever homes!
Become a Foster Hero
HSNT Foster Heroes provide temporary care for pets that are not ready to enter our adoption program for a variety of reasons. HSNT typically needs foster homes for underage puppies or kittens, moms with litters of babies, and pets that are injured, sick, or scared. The length of time required for each foster varies; it could be a few days or as much as a few months, but the average foster lasts 2 to 6 weeks. Kittens not yet ready for adoption need to be fostered until they are 8 weeks old.
Aside from adoption, fostering is the single biggest impact you can have on an pet's life. You will give your foster pet the gift of time to grow and get healthy. You will also give HSNT valuable information to help tell your foster pet's story so it will get adopted – what it likes or dislikes, favorite toys or activities, etc. Plus, you get to soak up the laughter, snuggles and kisses of a new pet without making a permanent commitment.
What does fostering entail?
When you foster a pet for HSNT, you provide them with a safe home setting, love and socialization. HSNT will provide you with the medical care, food and supplies needed to ensure that your foster pet thrives in your home!
Pets and People, Saving Each Other™
HSNT’s mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.