What To Do If You Find Kittens
By: Sarah Javier | April 17, 2019
Spring has arrived 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. You can 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. If you can socialize the kittens at little each day, that helps them find adoptive homes.
4. If at any point the kittens appear sick, contact the APA or your local animal welfare organization for guidance.
5. Once the kittens are eating on their own (6-7 weeks of age) it is time to 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. If mom is feral then TNR (trap, neuter, return) is her best option. Be sure to TNR any cats in the area to prevent future litters.
7. If mom is feral, you can trap and keep her and her kittens together in a cage. You can also try to find rescue who will keep until weaned then adopt out kittens and then mom can be fixed and returned (but it is hard to find people who will foster feral moms). Our friends at St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach (STLFCO) recommend pulling kittens from feral moms at 6 weeks, although sometimes 4 weeks is better, it depends on mom’s temperament and the kitten’s development. If kittens reach 8 weeks and are afraid of people, then fix and return them along with adults.
8. If you are providing food and shelter, keep food away from the shelter (if left outside) so that predators aren’t unnecessarily attracted to kits. If you choose to 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.