FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control is launching a new life-saving campaign urging citizens to stop “kitnapping” unweaned kittens.
Kitnapping is when kittens are prematurely separated from their mothers (usually before 8 weeks of age) which drastically decreases their chance of survival. This often happens when citizens find a litter of kittens and immediately bring them to the shelter. We understand it’s in an effort to help, but more often than not it’s causing more harm when they are separated from their mother.
In 2021, nearly 2,100 kittens were brought to the shelter. Of those more than 420 died. Those deaths were largely due to kittens failing to thrive, a result of not getting the important immunity that their mother offers. So far this year, 80 kittens that will need to be exclusively bottle-fed have come to the shelter and into the foster program – 29 of which have come into the shelter this month.
FWACC is encouraging anyone who finds a litter of kittens to first see if the kittens are healthy and well-fed. If that’s the case, their best chance at survival is to leave them where they are and let them stay with their mother until they are weaned – then they should be brought to the shelter to be considered for adoptions or the community cat program. Mother cats may leave their kittens during the day and tend to them at night. It’s very rare for a mother cat to abandon her kittens. If the kittens are in immediate danger, injured or appear underweight they should be brought into the shelter immediately. If bringing the kittens into the shelter is your only option, it is best to use a humane live trap to try and get the mother too so they can stay together.
“As the largest open access shelter in Northeast Indiana, FWACC takes in more than 9,000 animals each year. It’s our mission to try and find the best possible outcome for every animal that comes through our doors. In 2021, more than 1,550 animals went through the foster program. It’s our hopes that we can work together as a community to help save more lives of the most vulnerable population of animals in our community – unweaned kittens,” Foster Coordinator Emilee Smith said.
The shelter is in immediate need of donations and fosters to help save the lives of bottle-fed kittens coming in each day. The foster program relies on donations and grants to provide live-saving care to animals in need.
To learn more about how to tell if a kitten is healthy, how to tell their age, donate and to sign-up to foster visit our website HERE.