HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Have you come across some kittens and you’re not sure what to do? Relax. Most of the time, the best thing you can do is nothing at all. Staff with Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg have some tips to ensure the kittens’ survival.

The first thing to remember, if you come across kittens, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been abandoned by their mother. The mother could be looking for food or trying to find a better home for her kittens. If you find only one or two kittens, the mother might be in the process of moving them to the new home. Shelter staff said a kitten’s best chance of survival is with their mother.

The next step you can take is to observe the kittens. The mother is probably hunting for food if the kittens are clean and sleeping in a pile. If the mother hasn’t returned in four hours, she probably won’t be coming back. Staff recommend intervention at this point.

Do not handle the kittens in any way if there’s a chance the mother is still around. This includes trying to keep them warm or feeding them. Handling the kittens may cause the mother to abandon the kittens. However, if the mother is friendly, you can try to move her and the kittens into your garage or home.

The best way to help the mother is by providing food and water. keep dishes away from the nest. Keeping dishes too close could disturb them or draw a predator too close. Keep dogs and children away.

Staff said the mother will need to be spayed, eventually. Once her kittens are weaned (typically, no earlier than five to six weeks), the mother and her kittens can be safely separated for the procedure. The kittens can be socialized at this point.

For further questions or to have a cat spayed, call Southern Pines Animal Shelter at (601)-544-6632.