What To Do If You Find Kittens

Spring has arrived early in St. Louis, which brings flowers, beautiful weather, and kittens….lots and lots of kittens. The APA takes in close to 1,000 kittens every year. If you happen to find a litter of kittens outside, what can you do?

  1. Watch the kittens from a distance to see if their mom is coming back. If you see mom, or they are content, she’s caring for them.
  2. If their current location is unsafe, move them to a nearby safe spot where mom can find them when she returns.
  3. Provide food, water, and shelter to help them. If mom is friendly, and you have a spot indoors (separate from your pets), you can move the family inside and provide temporary care. Socializing the kittens a little each day helps them find adoptive homes.
  4. Contact the APA or your local animal welfare organization if the kittens appear sick.
  5. Once the kittens are eating independently (6-7 weeks of age), get them spayed/neutered and into adoptive homes. Take mom, too, if she’s friendly. Contact the APA or your local animal welfare organization for assistance.
  6. TNR (trap, neuter, return) is the best option if mom is feral. Be sure to TNR any cats in the area to prevent future litters.
  7. Consider finding a rescue organization to care for feral moms and kittens until they are weaned, then adopt out kittens and fix and return the mom. 
  8. Keep food away from the shelter (if left outside) so that predators aren’t unnecessarily attracted to kits. If you bring a community cat and her babies inside, confine them to a single room or crate (for ease of socialization) and away from your household pets.

Remember, early socialization is key to helping kittens find adoptive homes. Handling them gently and frequently can make them more comfortable around humans. If you need financial assistance, some organizations and programs can help. Getting your community involved can also make a big impact, whether organizing a TNR program or spreading awareness about responsible pet ownership.

Finding adoptive homes for kittens is easier when you use social media, local adoption events, and work with animal shelters and rescue organizations. Be sure to also familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding stray or feral cats, and comply with them when caring for outdoor kittens.