Second Chance: Are Those Kittens Orphans?

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center (SCHS) and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties since 1994. The shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 5:30. Community veterinary services are available by appointment.

View shelter pets and services online:

Go here for more on Dr. Shari DePauw of Second Chance. Second Chance veterinary clinic is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Call (970) 626-9713 or email

Donate here.

Go here for more options from Second Chance.


It’s that time of year again. We are not talking about mud season, spring blossom time, or plan-your-garden season. We are talking kitten season.

Spring is when animals reproduce. For cats, it is just the start as they can keep on reproducing until the weather turns cold again. In our area, kitten season starts in early spring and lasts until fall. We are already host to four litters of newborns and their moms and we expect more.

Mama cat.

Some of the most vulnerable babies who have lost their moms. Very young orphan kittens require around-the-clock care so their situation is very precarious. We are prepared for orphans. But we want to make sure that the kittens are truly abandoned or orphaned. A feral mom living outdoors is better suited to caring for her babies than people are.

What do you do if you find tiny kittens? First, try to determine their age. Kittens under two weeks old will still have their eyes closed or are just barely starting to open them. From about two to four weeks, eyes will be open, kittens are alert, and they will be moving around more. From four to six weeks, they are mobile and talkative and may be starting to eat solid food. All kittens under six weeks old are better with their mom. If you see a mother cat, leave the kittens where they are.

If you find little ones under six weeks, and don’t immediately see their mother- don’t take them away just yet. A kitten’s best chance of survival is with her. If you don’t see the mom, she may be off hunting, or may not come around if people are present. Watch for her to come back for a few hours. Leave a ring of flour around the kittens, then check for mom’s footprints in the flour. If you see her or see evidence that she’s caring for the kittens, leave them where they are. You can help by providing shelter, food, and water. You can also work with Second Chance or another spay/neuter group to have mom and kittens spayed/neutered and vaccinated when they’re ready. Kittens can be spayed and neutered as young as 8 weeks of age if they are healthy and weigh at least 2 pounds.

After waiting and monitoring, if you still don’t see the mother cat or evidence that she is checking on the babies, you should take action. Without mom to care for them, kittens will require round-the-clock care including bottle-feeding. If you cannot provide this care, contact Second Chance or another local shelter or rescue.

Kittens over six weeks old are active, playful, fuzzy little bundles, who no longer need their mother’s constant care. These babies should be handled differently. If the kittens are healthy, friendly and social, utilize social media and your personal network to try to place them in homes. You can also email to ask if we have the space and resources to help.


My name is Felicia. I came to Second Chance way back in August. I was a kitten born to a feral mother. Since then, I’ve grown into a beautiful young lady who has learned to trust people. Other cats just love me, especially my best friend Sky. We’d love to find a home together.

AND… To continue the Second Chance Highlights section, we want to share the following:

Pet Pantry Helps Our Community

(And is Possible Because of Our Community)

Having a pet isn’t all warm  and fuzzy snuggles and fun. When a family is struggling, sometimes they are faced with the prospect of surrendering a pet because they cannot afford food or supplies. That’s when our Pet Pantry can make a huge difference. It is one of the programs that support our belief that “Pets & People Live Better Together.”

Pet Pantry is possible because of our generous community. We receive regular donations from local retailers Chow Down, Walmart, Target, Petco, and Murdoch’s. When they have expired food, broken bags, or unsold supplies – they generously send everything our way.

We also receive donations from people like you. Sometimes people buy specifically for the Pet Pantry. Other times, we receive food or supplies after a beloved pet passes away. Finally, we can also take food that your pet doesn’t eat. Yes, we can take open bags, but only if the original bag is included. We always need donations of all kinds, but especially cat food (both wet and dry).

If you’d like to donate to our Pet Pantry, reach out to, call (970)626.2273, or stop by the shelter during business hours.

March Pet Pantry Stats

We served 14 families and 2 organizations (For Pets Sake & Hoof N’ Paw)

We fed about 21 dogs, 24 cats and 2 cat colonies.

February numbers

We served 15 families and 1 organization (Hoof n Paw).

That was approximately 18 bags of cat/dog food, 9 cans of wet food, 5 containers of cat litter, plus other items like shampoo, litter liners, etc.

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