If you’ve found tiny kittens without an apparent mother
Note: Tiny kittens taken to the animal shelters are generally euthanized because they are too young to be adopted, and shelters do not have the staff to provide the intense care that a very young kitten needs to survive. These resources are intended to provide guidance to those who wish to give these kittens a chance to survive and be adopted.
- Leave the kittens in place for 6-12 hours and see if the mother cat returns. Female cats tend to move their kittens at least every week for safety. It often takes them all day to move all of the kittens to the new location, so the kittens you've found may just be waiting for their mother to return. Check with your neighbors and post flyers in your neighborhood in an attempt to find the owner.
- If the mother cat returns and she is friendly,take her and the kittens inside and allow the mother to care for the kittens until they are between 5-8 weeks of age. At 5 weeks of age, the mother cat can be spayed and the kittens will be able to eat solid food. The kittens can be altered at 8 weeks of age. See below for Spaying & Neutering resources.
- If the mother cat returns but is feral, please report the feral colony.
- If the mother cat does not return with 6 - 12 hours, bring the kittens inside. Provide a heat source such as a heating pad on low setting. Immediately give drops of water slowly by mouth from an eye dropper or syringe to hydrate the kittens and refer to the Alley Cats Allies website for information on caring for kittens.
If you’ve found a cat
- If the cat is a female, check if it is nursing kittens by feeling for enlarged nipples on the cat’s belly. If you find that the cat is nursing kittens, return the cat to your yard and attempt to follow her to her kittens. (see “Kitten” information, above).
- Check for a collar with tags.
- Scan the cat for a microchip. Take the cat to a veterinarian or animal shelter and ask them to do this. There is NO CHARGE for this service.
- Check with your neighbors and post flyers in your neighborhood.
- Post the cat on the Lost and Found section of Craig’s List (craigslist.com), a free, on-line resource. NEVER offer a cat for FREE on any websites. Always screen potential adopters! There are many unscrupulous people looking for "free" animals to be used in numerous inhumane ways. Be sure to read Craigslist's guidelines about returning an animal to the stated owner. Use care, and attempt to confirm ownership through vet or other records to avoid the animal falling into the wrong hands.
- If the cat is not nursing and you are unable to find the owner, you can get the cat fixed (see Spaying & Neutering, below, for resources) and adopt it to friends or family, or take the cat to your local animal shelter.
Spaying & Neutering
There are many resources for low-cost spay-neuter. Cats and kittens can be altered once they reach two pounds or 8 weeks of age. They can be taken to the animal shelter or altered and adopted to friends.
Please do not give away any animal to others without getting them spayed or neutered first. Even if you're able to locate the owner of an animal or if, during your search, you find someone who would like to take the animal, please strongly encourage them to have the animal fixed first.