Here kitty kitty kitty...
May 17, 2017 12:27 PM   Subscribe

One of our feral neighborhood mama cats was hit by a car. She has a litter of kittens, they are about a month old. We have seen them out and about in the neighborhood, but don't know where she has hidden them. How can we find them?

Feral mama cat and her kitties have been seen in our neighborhood. Tragically, mama was hit by a car last night. We know that her kitties are about a month old. We don't know where their home base is, and we're worried that the kitties are hungry. There is also bad weather on the way.

Any advice for finding the kittens? Do we put open cans of tuna around the neighborhood? There are several abandoned houses nearby - if we think the kittens might be in one of them, should we call the realtor or is that a ridiculous thing to do?


(Since mama cat is gone, we would take the kitties to the humane society. Mama cat was understandably protective of the kittens and would not let us near them, so they're probably skittish. But they're young and would most likely learn to love people and become very happy, safe, indoor cats someday.)
posted by Elly Vortex to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You'll have to use a trap. Here are some tips. Or you could call in a feral cat rescue organization if there's one around. Your local humane society would know about that.
posted by beagle at 12:33 PM on May 17

Call the humane society you're planning to bring the kittens to. It's kitten season. This will not be their first kitten-finding rodeo. If they aren't equipped to help they should at least know someone who is.
posted by cgg at 1:21 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]

If they are truly around 4 weeks old, they are sort of toddling around and fully dependent on mom's milk for nutrition. When they get hungry enough, they will start mewling in desperation. You may be able to hear them at that point. They will be very hungry by then, you should prepare to get them nutrition/hydration right away.

At four weeks they will not be able to go far, they should all be in or near their nest even when they get desperate. IIRC from all the litters our cats had when I was a kid, they can be surprisingly loud even at 4 weeks, so you may have a decent chance to find them.

Good luck!
posted by no1hatchling at 1:54 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]

I'd definitely bring in experienced helpers. Contact a cat rescue group(s) also.

If they've been see out at a very young age, that location is probably pretty close to their nest, so you might not have too difficult a search.


Also, in case you need to bottle feed the kittens -- there is a wrong way and a right way. The wrong way can go pretty wrong, so either get expert assistance or at least watch a YouTube video on how to do it. (hint - do not ever squeeze the bottle; if a kitten aspirates milk it could get pneumonia.)

Good luck. Thanks for doing this!
posted by amtho at 2:07 PM on May 17

If not you, is there anyone in your neighborhood who feeds them, who might have observed mama cat's habits? Don't know how useful a trap would be as they haven't been weaned at four weeks. You could also try calling a local TNR (Trap Neuter Return) group that may be able to give you some ideas of how and where to look, as well.
posted by Crystal Fox at 2:08 PM on May 17

Since you'll probably have more look hearing them first, maybe when the neighborhood is quiet, take a friendly dog for a walk around? My dogs would totally focus on the sounds of a kittens mewling.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:13 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]

Call the realtor(s). It's not a ridiculous thing to do. Even if the realtors hate kitties for some reason, they'll want to prevent death and/or predation and/or other animals nesting in the homes.
posted by amtho at 2:49 PM on May 17

LISTEN. They will start carrying on as soon as they get hungry - usually just a couple of hours. And it's surprising how loud they can get.

Please do an update later. I'm going to be worrying about these babies. :(
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:59 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]

Agree with all who say they'll meow audibly- just station some people around listening quietly. Be ready to feed them immediately, and note that if they are that small, you might also have to help them eliminate. That means that shortly after feeding each kitten, you'll want to gently wipe their butt area with a wet paper towel or cottonball pad (imagine the mama cat licking) for a minute or so, a couple times a day, until pee/poop comes out. Here's a video.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:22 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

Any luck...?
posted by Jubey at 9:51 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

A thermal imaging camera like the FLIR One would attach to your iPhone or Android and allow you to find hot little kittens hiding in bushes. It's about $200 and you could return it when you're done.

(You also might find neighbors with grow ops and other people's cats.)
posted by MonsieurBon at 1:57 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

One of my neighbors suspects that they were in the garage of an empty for-sale house, so she called the owners. The owners threatened her and said to stay off their property. ??? So the neighbor called the humane society and they are on the case.

I seriously don't understand the owner of the garage's reaction. Why on earth would they want hungry kittens suffering in their garage? maybe if they get a call from the Humane Society (and not just a random neighbor) they'll be more receptive.
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:35 PM on May 18

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