Kittens littering your yard? Don’t throw them out!
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. In fact, the best thing that we can do is leave the kitten alone.
Mom most likely left her kittens there knowing they were hidden in a safe place while she hunts for food. She should return soon, and it’s critical that the kittens remain in her care as she offers their best chance for survival. The kittens are not abandoned or in danger.
At this point, it is okay to handle the kittens and move them a short distance away if they are not in a safe place, but you don’t need to scoop them up and pull them inside your home or rush to the nearest shelter. Mom needs to be able to find her babies with ease. Instead of removing them, watch the kittens. If you don’t see mom for 8 hours and the kittens are still where you first saw them, there is a strong likelihood that mom is unable to return. This is when you should take action.
Follow the handy 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 catch and shelter mom with 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.