Don’t kit-nap the kittens!
Let them stay and wait for mom!
After discovering a litter of kittens outside, our good-hearted instincts tell us to rush to the aid of these fragile felines. Thankfully, human intervention is rarely required! The best thing that we can do is leave the kitten alone.
Mother cats leave their kittens hidden in a safe place so that she can hunt for food. Mom will return soon to her kittens. It’s critical that the kittens remain where they are because her care offers their best chance for survival. The kittens are not abandoned or in danger.
Kittens should only be moved if they are not in a safe place (in the way of potential cars, other animals, etc.). Please, do not bring them inside your home or rush them to the nearest shelter. Mother Cat will be returning with food and needs to be able to find her babies with ease.
Instead of removing them, watch the kittens. Only when you see that mom has not returned for 8+ hours and the kittens are still where you first saw them, should you take action. Mother Cat might not be able to return.
Follow the flowchart below for an easy guide to when and how you can best help these kittens. Click here to help determine the kitten’s ages.
If you are willing to shelter mom and her kittens in your home until they are weaned, it will provide a much safer environment than being outside. Once they are old enough to eat on their own, they can be separated from their mother. Mom can then be taken to the HSC Spay/Neuter Clinic for TNR and returned to her outdoor home. The same can be done with the kittens while you continue to socialize, care, and look for new homes for the kittens.