If You Find Kittens On Their Own

Categories: Cats

Did you stumble across a litter of kittens born outside? Check out these essential tips on how to maximize their chances for survival, and how to tell if they’ve been abandoned.

  • Kittens should ideally stay with their mothers until they are eating solid food, which tends to happen at 4-6 weeks old. If you find a mother cat with her kittens, it’s best to keep the kittens with her.
  • If you find one kitten wandering alone…it’s almost certainly abandoned – by a human. Keep the kitten warm as best you can, and contact the shelter or a rescue organization (links here) if you aren’t able to take the little one in yourself.
  • If you find a litter of kitties without their mother…try to determine if their mother is nearby, or whether they’ve been abandoned. Clean kittens who are sleeping soundly are probably not abandoned. But if they are dirty, extremely thin, and crying, they may need help. Try observing the area from a distance for a few hours to see if the mother turns up.  A crying kitten does not always mean abandoned.
  • You can scatter flour around the nest to see if any mother cat footprints show up after a few hours. If it’s cold outside, you can put the kittens in a little box with a hot water bottle at the site just in case…your scent won’t cause the mother cat to reject them.

Click HERE for our primer on young kitten care, and lots of tips for raising healthy, happy feline families.

Our Napa Humane hotline is available to help! We can answer many questions about cat behavior, and direct you to the specific local resources you need: 707.255.8118 x 202.

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