What To Do If You Find Kittens

What To Do If You Find Kittens

In a recent blog post, we discussed “kitten season,” the time of year when the kitten population seems to explode and can be extremely overwhelming for rescues and shelters alike. Because we are right in the middle of kitten season now, we wanted to expand on what you should do if you find kittens.

You may be tempted to gather them up and bring them into your home, but sometimes, this can cause more harm than good. If you find a kindle (did you know that’s the name for a group of kittens?), here are some tips to keep in mind.

A Kitten Is Safest With Their Mom

Your instinct will likely be to bring the kitten(s) indoors, but kittens are definitely safest with their mom. For health reasons, if you find a mom and her kittens, please leave them be but keep an eye on them. Create a safe, comfortable haven for the mother cat to take care of her babies, and this should include warm bedding, as kittens require a tremendous amount of warmth.

Be sure to put out clean water and change it frequently, and both wet and dry kitten food is best so the mama cat can keep up her caloric intake while feeding the babies.

What About Kittens Without Their Mom?

It’s pretty common to come across kittens and the mother is nowhere to be found. If this happens to you, leave the kittens where they are, but plan to observe them every two to three hours to see if the mother cat materializes. This advice pertains to kittens who appear to be in good health, and are free from any obvious illnesses or suffering. If you do see the mother cat, leave the kittens alone and contact a local rescue to let them know what you have found. They can assist with safely trapping the family and providing them with the care they need.

What If The Mom Is Absent After 2-3 Hours?

If you have found a newborn kitten (even if their eyes are closed and the umbilical cord is still attached), wait a couple of hours to see if the mom returns. She may be busy finding food or relocating her litter, and you may have stumbled upon the lone kitten in the interim. However, if the mom is still absent after two or three hours, take the kitten(s) to safety.  

Keeping a Kitten Warm Is Your #1 Priority

Your first priority should be to keep the kitten warm or to help them regain a normal body temperature before you do anything else. This can be achieved by placing the kitten inside your shirt or creating a soft, warm environment inside a crate or carrier for them in your home. Fleece blankets are particularly effective, as are warming blankets and hot water bottles, but make sure to cover any warming objects to avoid burns. You are looking for a temperature of about 90F. A nearby heater is also a good idea.

Try To Help The Kitten Go Potty

After the kitten has regained their temperature, they will likely be more active and moving around. This is a good indication that you should feed them. But, before you do, help the kitten go potty by helping to stimulate them. Rub a paper towel on their genital and anal area, as kittens require assistance and can’t go potty on their own. Usually, their moms will help them with their tongues, so you don’t have to be super gentle. But know that this takes patience and practice, so don’t give up! They also may not have been fed for some time, and they naturally don’t have to go.

Feeding Time

Once you’re ready to feed the kitten, be sure that you have Kitten Meal Replacement (KMR) formula at the ready. The only suitable alternative is goat’s milk. Cow’s milk is not tolerated well by kittens and could cause them to have diarrhea and dehydration. You will need a kitten bottle, and you should follow the instructions on how to warm up the formula prior to feeding. Make sure you check the temperature before you feed, exactly as you would with a baby. Newborn kittens will need to eat every two hours if their eyes are closed, and every four hours if their eyes have opened.

Determining the Needs of a Kitten

A good rule of thumb is that if a kitten can walk on their own, they do not need to be kept warm as we discussed above. However, they can still be given warm formula if they are showing signs of hunger. Put down a saucer of formula to see if they will lap it up on their own, but you may need to feed them with a bottle too. Depending on their age, they may also be interested in dry kibble or wet food too. Be sure that water and food are available at all times for any kittens you take in. Also, kittens who can walk on their own will need a litter box to use, and you should use a soft litter for their sensitive paws.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind that many kittens who are in need of help will look for it and come to you. But others may be frightened and scared, hissing and spitting as you’re attempting to help them. Use a blanket, a towel, or gloves to assist you in handling the kitten if they are being a bit wild. Holding them close to your heart where they can feel it beating will help to calm them down. Be on the lookout for any signs of diarrhea that persist for 24 hours after you have started feeding. If you find this, it would be best to contact a veterinarian or rescue who can help you.

If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org. We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:

Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant, and pet mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).


Puppy Mill Awareness

Puppy Mill Awareness

Today marks the beginning of Puppy Mill Action Week. There aren’t many things that are cuter in the world than a puppy. That breath! Those eyes! And of course, all of the unconditional love they bring. Deciding to get a puppy is a big decision, but perhaps even more important is where you get your puppy from.

“Adopt don’t shop” holds a special place in our hearts as an animal rescue. There are so many wonderful puppies and young dogs around the world who are searching for their forever homes. So, we always encourage prospective pet parents to research this option before contacting a breeder.

On the topic of breeders, there are those who do practice responsible breeding. However, puppy mills are still a serious problem in the US, and if you’re an inexperienced pet owner, they may be tough to spot. So today, we wanted to share some of the benefits of adopting a rescue dog in addition to shedding some light on the issue of puppy mills.

What Is a Puppy Mill?

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities where the focus is always quantity over quality. The conditions are inhumane, and canine health takes a back seat to profits by unscrupulous breeders. Most of the time, dogs are kept in cages for their entire lives. They are bred over and over again without any care for their health or time for recovery between litters. Most of the puppies that are sold in pet stores around the country are sourced from puppy mills.

Signs It’s a Puppy Mill

There are several red flags when it comes to spotting a puppy mill, but these really only apply if you are dealing directly. Here are a few:

  • Puppies that have been separated from their mothers prematurely and are being sold at less than six weeks of age.
  • Sellers with many different types of purebred or hybrid breed dogs.
  • Local breeders won’t allow you to see their facility or grounds where their animals are bred, raised, and kept.
  • Out-of-state breeders who are quick to accept payment (click-and-pay), and will ship a dog to an owner without meeting them first.
  • Lack of commitment to the puppy and contact with you as their owner. Responsible breeders will want to know where their puppies are going and who they will be living with.

Puppy Mill Laws

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of laws governing puppy mills. They are legal, which surprises many people because of their cruel nature. The good news is that some states like California are making changes to laws that directly impact puppy mills. As of January 1, 2019, California pet stores can no longer sell certain animals sourced from anywhere other than animal rescues and shelters. Known as California Assembly Bill 485, commercial pet stores may only sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from these sources. Additionally, they are obligated to keep records of where the animal was obtained from in addition to their spay and neuter documents, and all of this information is required to be posted near the animal’s cage. It’s not a complete fix for the puppy mill issue, but it’s certainly a start.

Benefits of Adopting

Of course, one of the best ways to counteract puppy mills is to adopt your next puppy from a reputable animal rescue or shelter. There are millions of dogs who are looking for a loving forever home! Here are some of the benefits of adopting:

  • Breed-Specific Rescues Exist: If you have your heart set on a specific breed of dog, look for breed-specific rescues who can help! There is typically a rescue for every breed as often people buy a puppy from a breeder and change their minds. Example: If you are looking for a pug, simply Google ‘pug rescue’.
  • Shelter Dogs Aim To Please: Many shelter pups are ecstatic to finally have human contact! They want so much to be loved and will give that love back unconditionally!
  • Social Opportunities: Not only will your new shelter pup need to have the opportunity to socialize, but this will also give you the chance to meet other pet parents in your neighborhood, at the dog park, etc. Plus, when you mention your pup is a rescue, chances are, you are going to get the opportunity to share your pup’s story with other rescue pup parents.
  • Up-To-Date on Basic Vet Care: Adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter will almost always mean that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations (if they are old enough, of course). The same is true for spaying and neutering, as most rescues and shelters require the pet to be altered before they will adopt it out. Also, an adopted pet is microchipped too!
  • Shelter Pets Are Often Housebroken: Ask any puppy parent and they will tell you that the biggest challenge is often potty training! The good news about shelter dogs is that they are almost always housebroken when you bring them home. If you adopt a dog that isn’t house-trained, there are several resources available to help. Older dogs usually get the hang of things faster.
  • Puppies Aren’t For Everyone: In addition to potty training a puppy, there are many other behaviors that require tons of time, training, and attention. Not everyone is up to the task, or the time and energy a puppy requires. But that’s okay! Shelters are filled with adult dogs too who would love to come home with you, so you can skip the puppy phase if it’s too much.

We hope you found this article helpful. We are always available to answer any questions you might have about adding a puppy to your family. If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org. We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:
Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight, and pet mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).

How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

Written by: Duncan Kingori, AuthenticDogs

Like humans, our pets also experience separation anxiety. In dogs, separation anxiety is characterized by agitation, upset, and even destructive behavior. These behaviors are exhibited by dogs when they are separated from their pet parents. You may misinterpret your dogs’ actions for disobedience and a lack of proper training, yet your dogs’ behavior may be an exhibition of separation anxiety.

Your dog is used to you being around and is dependent on you, and any change may cause them to experience anxiety. There are other behaviors exhibited by your dog that may be attributed to separation anxiety, and you need to help your dog reduce his or her separation anxiety or have no anxiety at all. This is to ensure that he or she may be at peace and happy- and well behaved. Here are some recommendations to help ease your precious pup’s separation anxiety:

1. Engage your dog in exercise before you depart

A dog that is tired tends to be calmer as opposed to one that is still energized. Therefore, one way to reduce separation anxiety in your dog is by engaging your dog in exercise for about half an hour before you depart. You may take part in outdoor or indoor activities and exercise with your dogs. For instance, throwing a Frisbee or tennis ball across the yard and letting your dog play ‘fetch’ is a great exercise. It also offers mental stimulation, which helps with calming. When you do this for about 30 minutes, your dog will be exhausted by the time you leave. Their attention will be towards food and sleep, and they will hardly notice that you are gone, or when you are leaving the house.

2. Teach your dog to get used to being alone when you are at home

Help your dog to get used to being by themselves, even when you are in the same house. Have your furry baby to remain in a certain room in the house (or crate if crate trained) while you go to another room in a different part of the house. If your dog’s separation anxiety is severe, you could do this in short intervals of about 20 seconds. In time, you can work this 20 seconds up to about 30 minutes. It will help reduce your pooch’s separation anxiety. They will learn to spend time away from you even when they are conscious of your presence in the house.

3. You need to change the signals of your departure

Like humans, your dogs are conditioned to associating certain signals with a specific behavior, thus your dog knows your routine before you leave home. Therefore, you need to break the routine so your dog will not associate certain signals with your departure. For example, put on your shoes 30 minutes to an hour before you leave and sit on the couch and watch the television, or maybe change the place where you store your purse and hang your keys.

This will break your dog’s association of specific actions with you leaving, and thus their separation anxiety will not be triggered. You can also give your dog treats to calm them and distract them as you go. Eventually, they will view your departure in a positive light, and see that it is not a scary thing to be all alone.

4. Minimize the level of emotions when saying your hellos and goodbyes

Completely abstain from getting very emotional when you are leaving your dog and exhibiting a lot of excitement when you get home. The extra attention and excitement increases your dog’s fear of being alone. Be calm when you are bidding your dog goodbye. When you arrive back home, in a quiet and collected manner, say hi to your dog, but don’t show too much affection or excitement until he or she has calmed down. By remaining calm when you return, you reduce the level of separation anxiety in your dog.

5. Get your dog his or her personal space

Rather than sharing your bed with your dog, get them their own bed or crate. In addition to separation anxiety, crate training is a great tool for resolving many other behavior issues such as pottying or marking in the house and destructive chewing. Plus dogs are den animals, so they like to have their safe haven. Train you dog to remain in his or her personal space by making it a positive experience with petting, playing, treats, toys or bones. This teaches your dog to be independent and to love their own space. When your dog enjoys their own company, they will be less anxious when you are away from them.

6. Leave some comfort articles and background music playing for your dog

Leave items that will comfort your dog, such as dirty clothes in the laundry bin that have your scent. This will help the dog to relax, as they will remember that at some point you will be returning home. You could also remove the stress factors from your dog’s body. Also, hide treats in the house so that the dog can enjoy hunting for these treats while you are away. Or, give your dog a Kong or deer antler to distract them while you leave. Remember to leave some soothing  music for your dog, so that when they are tired, it can help soothe them to sleep and relax. YouTube has great videos to help with separation anxiety.


 Helping your dog get over his or her separation anxiety requires dedication and a commitment to finding a safe and long lasting solution, so that your dog may be happy, calm, and a good dog!

It’s Kitten Season! Here’s What You Need to Know

It’s Kitten Season! Here’s What You Need to Know

Spring has sprung, and that means that “kitten season” is here! While kittens are some of the most adorable creatures on the planet, kitten season can be overwhelming for animal shelters and rescues who end up caring for the abundance of tiny baby kitties that are born homeless.

Generally speaking, kitten season runs from March through October. However, in warmer climates like right here in southern California, kitten season actually happens twice per year. That’s because weather plays a big part in regulating the heat cycle in felines.

The timeline goes something like this: an unaltered female cat goes into heat (usually in early spring to late fall), she becomes pregnant, and 60 days later, she gives birth to her litter. Typically, a mama cat will give birth to between four and eight kittens.

When you consider that female cats can have more than one litter each year, it’s easy to see why the cat population grows so quickly. Shelters and rescues fill-up with kittens at this time of year, so if you have been thinking about adding a kitten to your family, we encourage you to visit a local shelter or rescue first. Also, consider adopting kittens in pairs if your situation provides for it. Kittens love having playmates, and it honestly doesn’t add any more work to have two versus one.

Here are some quick kitten stats!  

  • Felines are considered kittens until they have reached one year in age.
  • Kittens instinctively know to use a litter box.
  • All kittens are born with blue eyes, and their permanent eye color appears around four weeks of age.
  • A kitten can be spayed or neutered when they reach two pounds in body weight, typically at eight weeks of age.
  • Unaltered female cats can become pregnant at just four months old, so it is crucial to spay (and neuter) your kittens!

Spaying and neutering cats is the best way to control the pet population, and to help prevent overwhelmed shelters and rescues during kitten season. In some places, local officials have established trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for community cats to help slow down this cycle. It has dramatically reduced the number of cats that are euthanized at community shelters.

If you’re looking for ways to get involved locally during kitten season, here are some things you can do!

  • Consider fostering a litter of kittens
  • Donate old towels, blankets, toys, food, litter, and more to a local animal shelter or rescue
  • Use social media to share posts about adoptable pets or fundraising efforts
  • Volunteer your time at a rescue or animal shelter
  • Ask your local shelter or rescue if they have an Amazon Wish List for supplies, and host a virtual “kitten shower” with your friends, coworkers and/or family members

While kittens are absolutely adorable, it’s very important to do your part in keeping kitten season under control for the rescues and animal shelters on the front lines. In an upcoming blog post, we will explore what you should do if you encounter newborn kittens with or without their mom.

If you’re interested in adopting, fostering or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org. We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:
Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant, and animal mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty). 

Working From Home With Pets

Working From Home With Pets

So many of us have found ourselves working from home over the course of the last year. And for pet parents, this has caused an abrupt and unexpected change in routine for our four-legged family members. Let’s face it: our pets love having us at home, but it’s not exactly possible to explain to your pet why you can’t hang out with them all day long.

But you can’t exactly hide the fact that you’re home. Pets have an incredibly strong sense of hearing and smell, so there’s no disguising when their favorite humans are on the premises. Working from home with pets in the house can cause them to be confused about your availability, but there are ways to mitigate this by keeping a routine and structure in place. Here are some tips to keep your work-from-home balance in order, while also keeping your pets happy and healthy.

Establish Designated Eat, Play & Potty Times

Just like humans, our pets thrive when they have an established daily schedule. This especially pertains to eating, playing and potty breaks. Take some time to map out a daily routine where your pet’s schedule and your work schedule can live in harmony. Create a schedule for meals, play breaks and potty opportunities that you can schedule around your work commitments. This will keep your pet healthy and happy, while also allowing you to focus during your working hours. If you have to make adjustments because of last-minute things, don’t stress. Try to keep as much routine in place as possible.  

Create a Separate Pet-Free Work Space

In some ways, this may be easier said than done, especially if you have pets who aren’t fans of closed doors. But creating a pet-free work space will allow you to remain distraction-free while you’re working, taking conference calls, etc… If your pet nudges you or cries for attention, start working with them on a command like “place” where they know to retreat to their designated spot when this training word is said. This could be their bed, a different room, and so on. Remember: training takes time and patience, and this won’t be an immediate solution. But keep working toward your goal and you will get there together!

Put Together a “Boredom Box”

Pets are a lot like humans, and they can get bored in a hurry. Consider putting together a “boredom box” that’s filled with chew bones, food puzzles, toys, and more. While this may work better for our canine companions, there are lots of toys and items to help stimulate cats too. Grab a leftover cardboard box and create a fun place for them to hide or play. This can buy you some time while you work through an important project, especially if you have a pet who resorts to destruction when they get bored or left alone. You might also consider rotating your pets available toys/activities in the “boredom box” from week to week to help stimulate their interest.

Keep Things Consistent

As you and your pet(s) learn about the necessary boundaries that working from home requires, consistency will be key. Focus on the progress that you’re making together, and understand that creating routine will cut down on unnecessary anxiety and stress for your pets. You may be tempted to leave your desk in the middle of the day to play or go on a walk, but try to stick with your established routine as much as you can. It will be best for both of you! 

How have you been successful in transitioning to working from home with your pets? We would love to hear your tips and ideas! Feel free to leave us a comment below.

And if you’re interested in adopting, fostering or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org.

We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:
Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant, and animal mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).