I Found Kittens Outside, What Do I Do? | Orphaned Kittens

I Found Kittens Outside, What Do I Do? | Orphaned 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?

Yes

No

Contact Local Shelter/Rescue

If the kittens appear ill or injured, they should be brought to your local shelter or rescue or a veterinary clinic 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 have good coordination while walking, running and playing.

Yes

No

Are the kittens social and friendly with humans?

Yes

No

Find Loving Homes

Bring these kittens into a foster home (hopefully that is you!) to continue helping them feel comfortable with humans 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 caring for and adopting out kittens at Kitten Lady’s website. 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.

*Please ensure these kittens don’t have an owner already by checking for an ID tag and asking the shelter/rescue or a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip. You can post signs in the neighborhood where they were found with a photo and details about the kittens. We encourage you to check your local laws to see if a found animal report needs to be filed or if notice needs to be given to either animal control or your local shelter.

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 long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats. Contact your local shelter or rescue as soon as possible to see if they have a community cat program and 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?

Yes

No

Provide Food, Shelter and Monitor

It is likely mom is taking good care of her kittens. Provide mom and her kittens with food, a dry and clean shelter, and continue to monitor their well-being. Once the kittens are able to eat wet food on their own, around 4-5 weeks old, you can bring them into your home to provide foster care and prepare them for adoption*. Visit this site for information on how to care for the kittens.

Prepare a Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM) plan for mom (and her kittens if they are not friendly with humans and older than 8 weeks of age) that will help keep them out of an animal shelter and set them up for long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats.

If you cannot provide foster care for these kittens or if you need additional support providing a TNRM plan for mom and her kittens, contact your local shelter or rescue to see if they can help.

*Please ensure these kittens don’t have an owner already by checking for an ID tag and asking the shelter/rescue or a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip. You can post signs in the neighborhood where they were found with a photo and details about the kittens. We encourage you to check your local laws to see if a found animal report needs to be filed or if notice needs to be given to either animal control or your local shelter

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!)

Yes

No

Unable to monitor

Provide Food, Shelter and Monitor

It is likely mom is taking good care of her kittens. Provide mom and her kittens with food, a dry and clean shelter, and continue to monitor their well-being. Once the kittens are able to eat wet food on their own, around 4-5 weeks old, you can bring them into your home to provide foster care and prepare them for adoption*. Visit this site for information on how to care for the kittens.

Prepare a Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM) plan for mom (and her kittens if they are not friendly with humans and older than 8 weeks of age) that will help keep them out of an animal shelter and set them up for long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats.

If you cannot provide foster care for these kittens or if you need additional support providing a TNRM plan for mom and her kittens, contact your local shelter or rescue to see if they can help.

*Please ensure these kittens don’t have an owner already by checking for an ID tag and asking the shelter/rescue or a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip. You can post signs in the neighborhood where they were found with a photo and details about the kittens. We encourage you to check your local laws to see if a found animal report needs to be filed or if notice needs to be given to either animal control or your local shelter

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 Kitten Lady’s website 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 and collaborate with your local shelter/rescue or veterinarian for their medical care. 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.

*Please ensure these kittens don’t have an owner already by checking for an ID tag and asking the shelter/rescue or a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip. You can post signs in the neighborhood where they were found with a photo and details about the kittens. We encourage you to check your local laws to see if a found animal report needs to be filed or if notice needs to be given to either animal control or your local shelter.

You can assess the kitten’s current condition and decide if immediate action needs to be taken by you. Are the kittens clean, plump and quiet?

Yes

No

Provide Food, Shelter and Monitor

It is likely mom is taking good care of her kittens. Provide mom and her kittens with food, a dry and clean shelter, and continue to monitor their well-being. Once the kittens are able to eat wet food on their own, around 4-5 weeks old, you can bring them into your home to provide foster care and prepare them for adoption*. Visit this site for information on how to care for the kittens.

Prepare a Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor (TNRM) plan for mom (and her kittens if they are not friendly with humans and older than 8 weeks of age) that will help keep them out of an animal shelter and set them up for long, healthy lives outdoors as community cats.

If you cannot provide foster care for these kittens or if you need additional support providing a TNRM plan for mom and her kittens, contact your local shelter or rescue to see if they can help.

*Please ensure these kittens don’t have an owner already by checking for an ID tag and asking the shelter/rescue or a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip. You can post signs in the neighborhood where they were found with a photo and details about the kittens. We encourage you to check your local laws to see if a found animal report needs to be filed or if notice needs to be given to either animal control or your local shelter

Orphaned Kitten Care

If the kittens are dirty, skinny and crying excessively, they might be orphaned and will need a foster home and a caregiver to care for them—hopefully that is you! Visit Kitten Lady’s website 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 and collaborate with your local shelter/rescue or veterinarian for their medical care. 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.

*Please ensure these kittens don’t have an owner already by checking for an ID tag and asking the shelter/rescue or a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip. You can post signs in the neighborhood where they were found with a photo and details about the kittens. We encourage you to check your local laws to see if a found animal report needs to be filed or if notice needs to be given to either animal control or your local shelter.

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