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649151273

Two cute kittens sit on a porch railing in a backyard.

Photo by: Maria Jeffs / EyeEm

Maria Jeffs / EyeEm

You've Found a Kitten. Now What?

If you stumble upon a kitten or even a whole litter, is it up to us to save them? Best Friends Animal Society offers some advice on what to do if you come across abandoned kittens.

September 30, 2020

They’re adorable, furry little kittens in need of help, or are they? If you find a litter of tiny kittens outdoors, make sure to follow these steps from Best Friends to care for them properly and avoid any unintentional disruption.

Is Mom Around?

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1126890330

Little kittens are played at the mom's on granite stairs in the mosque

Photo by: Oleksii Hlembotskyi

Oleksii Hlembotskyi

The younger the kittens, the more important it is to identify if their mother is around before any intervention happens, as kittens require around-the-clock care. Leave the kittens alone and try to figure out if their mother is nearby. Observe them from a distance every couple of hours for 12 to 18 hours. If the kittens seem content and are not fussing, there’s a good chance their mom is coming back.

Safety First

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1205974648

Photo taken in Songkhla, Thailand

Photo by: Wichai Thongtape / EyeEm

Wichai Thongtape / EyeEm

If the kittens are in danger due to their location, move them to a safer spot nearby so their mother can easily find them when she returns.

If the kittens are dirty, meowing or appear sick, underweight or dehydrated, contact a local rescue organization, a trap-neuter-return (TNR), or community cat program. They can help you determine if the kittens are at risk and if you should intervene.

Community Resources

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914579534

Photo by: Judita Juknele / EyeEm

Judita Juknele / EyeEm

If you spot the mother, leave the kittens alone. When the kittens have been eating on their own for about four weeks or are big enough for surgery (typically when they’re between two and three months old), humanely trap the whole family and have them spayed or neutered. A local TNR program may be able to help you with the trapping process. After the cats are fixed, release them at the location where you found them. TNR is the most humane method of preventing cats and kittens from entering the shelter system.

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1207778762

Photo taken in Aversa, Italy

Photo by: Gianfranco Santoro / EyeEm

Gianfranco Santoro / EyeEm

To learn more about how to take care of kittens, particularly abandoned ones, check out these tips for bottle-feeding.

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