What to Do When You Find Kittens and the Shelter is Closed

By Kasey Spain

Kasey Spain | April 22nd, 2020

When you find kittens, your first reaction shouldn't be to move them or take them to the shelter! In fact if you found a kitten or kittens, pause, and follow these easy steps.

Click here for information on what to do when you find a dog.

Click here for information on what to do when you find a cat.

What to Do When You Find Kittens

1. Identify if the kittens are in a place with a known threat (dogs, traffic, etc.).

Don’t touch the kittens, take a look around to identify if they are in a place with a known threat such as traffic.

2. If you know there is a threat, move the kittens to a nearby, safer area so the mom can still find them but they are safe from the threat. (On the other side of a fence, under a nearby structure, etc.)

Only move the kittens if necessary and keep them nearby so mom can find them!

3. Do the kittens look healthy?

Healthy kittens have clean fur and big bellies. Sickly kittens will be thin, dirty and possibly have crusty eyes or nasal discharge. If the kittens look healthy and there is no known threat where they are, leave them there. I know it’s hard because we are so used to intervening, but think of them during this time like you would a nest of baby birds. Mom is probably coming right back even if they’re alone for a moment.

Healthy Kittens
Healthy Kittens

Sick Kittens
Sick Kittens

4. If they look healthy and you leave them where they are, check for mom every few hours.

Once you see the mom coming back, you can rest assured that the kittens are okay to stay. Cat moms are not likely to abandon their babies.

5. If the kittens look sick or injured, or mom does not come back within 24 hours, then call your city hotline or animal shelter.

The city or animal shelter will likely ask you if you are willing to foster and care for the kittens, or will help you determine what to do if not.

6. Once the kittens are grown and on their own, treat them as community cats above.

We know it’s hard, but if the kittens are healthy, let them be; or foster them if you can.

For easy reference, download this infographic!
Animal Shelters: Feel free to steal this and add your own logo.



NACA recognizes that all communities are unique and what may be safe and feasible for one community may not be for another.


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