Steps to take when finding a kitten secluded in your yard
I found a kitten under a bush in my yard. Should I bring her to my local animal shelter or just leave her alone and not intervene?
Answer: What might look like animal abandonment could actually be a nursing mother (or "queen") moving her family to a new home.
If the area is safe from other resident pets or predators, create a protected environment for the queen by leaving a cardboard box or crate lined with a towel in the yard.
Also leave food for the mother cat.
If she's being cared for, she won't need to move her family, and she will probably be safer in your yard.
If the food goes uneaten, it could be a sign that the queen has left her baby.
While the best possible mother for any kitten is its birth mother, there are times when human intervention, to varying degrees, is necessary to save a kitten's life. The queen might be sick with a viral or bacterial infection that upsets her instincts to nurse.
Or, though rare, a mother might abandon or reject her litter.
Q: If the kitten's mother doesn't return, what can I do to help?
A: Those who bring newborns to the Hawaiian Humane Society are given the option to care for them until they reach adoption age, which is about 8 weeks or 2 pounds.
The society provides information on how to care for the kitten's special needs and a starter kit with formula.
After about 8 weeks, if the felines are in good health, they are ready to be brought back for adoption.
Nursing a newborn is intensive and includes bottle-feeding every couple of hours, managing body temperature and a willingness to accept the unfortunately high mortality rate that comes with very vulnerable animals that are without their mother's care.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.