I Found Kittens, What Do I Do?

Kittens

Did you know kittens are one of the most vulnerable populations in animal shelters and that many end up there because of well-meaning animal lovers?

The ASPCA wants to assist you in identifying the best approach for helping kittens in your community. Removing kittens from their current environment may not always be the right answer as the mom cat could be nearby getting food (or hiding from you)—and no one can care for a kitten like their mom can! To help choose the right path for kittens you found, please answer the following questions.

Do the kittens appear ill or injured?

Contact Local Shelter/Rescue

If the kittens appear ill or injured, they should be brought to your local shelter or rescue as soon as possible. Please call first to ensure they are open and can accept the kittens.

Are the kittens over two months of age?

TIP: At two months, kittens will eat on their own, weigh around two pounds and will be able to walk, run and play.

Are the kittens social and friendly with humans?

Find Loving Homes

Bring these kittens into a foster home to continue socializing them and provide them the medical care they need (including a spay/neuter surgery) while you search for adoptive homes for them. Find more help with adopting out kittens here.

Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM)

Once kittens are over two months old, it can be difficult to socialize them to humans. Providing them with a Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor strategy will make it less likely that they end up in shelters. It will also set them up for a long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats. Search online for local community cat programs and contact them ASAP to see how they can help. Keep in mind, feline breeding can begin before kittens are six months old. Acting quickly is key.

Additional community cat information:
A Closer Look at Community Cats and TNRM
5 Tips to Make Community Cats Better Neighbors

Do you see their mother around?

Provide Food, Shelter and Monitor

Mother cats will provide the best care for their kittens. Provide mom and her kittens with food, a dry and clean shelter, and continue to monitor their well-being. Prepare a Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM) plan for mom and her kittens that will help keep them out of an animal shelter and set them up for long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats. If mom and/or her kittens are friendly, you can find loving homes for them. Find more help with adopting out kittens here.

Has mom returned to her kittens within a few hours?

Note: Mom may be out getting food or waiting for you to leave, so we recommend you leave the kittens where they are and periodically check to see if mom returns in a few hours. If you have concerns about the kittens’ safety, move them to a safe location nearby where mom can still find them. (Don’t be surprised if mom has started moving her kittens somewhere else by the time you return!)

Provide Food, Shelter and Monitor

Mother cats will provide the best care for their kittens. Provide mom and her kittens with food, a dry and clean shelter, and continue to monitor their well-being. Prepare a Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM) plan for mom and her kittens that will help keep them out of an animal shelter and set them up for long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats. If mom and/or her kittens are friendly, you can find loving homes for them. Find more help with adopting out kittens here.

Orphaned Kitten Care

These kittens seem to be orphaned and will need a foster home and a caregiver to care for them—hopefully that is you! Visit this site for information on how to care for the kittens until they are old enough for adoption. Start on the "Age section" to see what level of care the kittens need. If you cannot provide foster care for these kittens or need additional support, please contact your local shelter or rescue to see if they can help.

You can assess the kitten’s current condition and decide if immediate action needs to be taken by you. How do the kittens appear?

Provide Food, Shelter and Monitor

Mother cats will provide the best care for their kittens. Provide mom and her kittens with food, a dry and clean shelter, and continue to monitor their well-being. Prepare a Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM) plan for mom and her kittens that will help keep them out of the shelter and set them up for long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats. If mom and/or her kittens are friendly, you can find loving homes for them. Find more help with adopting out kittens here.

Orphaned Kitten Care

These kittens seem to be orphaned and will need a foster home and a caregiver to care for them—hopefully that is you! Visit www.kittenlady.org/kitten-care for information on how to care for the kittens until they are old enough for adoption. Start on the "Age section" to see what level of care the kittens need. If you cannot provide foster care for these kittens or need additional support, please contact your local shelter or rescue to see if they can help.