If you have found kittens in your yard or nearby that do not appear to "belong" to anyone, here are some tips.
Help! I found kittens.
- 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. Around 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, leave her with the kittens until they are approximately 5 weeks old. At that point, the kittens can be trapped and fostered until they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and adopted. Or, they may be taken to a shelter based on availablity. ALWAYS Be sure to TNR the Mom so she never has another litter. There are free resources for traps and spay/neuter. We have all the info necessary on our site.
- If the kittens are in the City of Sacramento, you can contact 311 and ask to speak to Kitten Connection at Front Street shelter. This is a team of volunteers that responds to requests from the community to help stray kittens. Depending on availability, they may be able to assist with trapping and removing the kittens and ensuring the Mom is TNR'd and returned.
- If the kittens are not in the city, contact both the Sacramento SPCA and the Bradshaw/County shelter to see if they have any current programs available. Sometimes they provide supplies for fostering, all vetting and help with adoptions.
- 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 until you can find a rescue or shelter that will take them. Note that kittens are extremely fragile at this age.
More info and photos to help determine their age
Follow this kitten guide from the Sacramento SPCA for specific steps you can take to give the kittens the best chance for survival; how to determine their age; and when to get involved, including fostering them yourself.
Spaying & Neutering
There are many resources for low-cost spay-neuter. Cats and kittens can be altered once they reach two pounds.
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.