Found Kittens? Here’s What To Do

February 25, 2021

With kitten season nearly upon us, it is important to brush up on what to do if you find a litter!

When you hear those tiny meows, see small bodies wriggling in the bushes, or discover a litter hiding under your porch. What do you do?

  • Don’t assume they’ve been abandoned by mom! If you find a litter of kittens without their mother, watch from a distant location to see if she returns. This can sometimes take hours, or your presence might scare mom away. Sometimes it’s best to leave and come back to check in on the litter. Healthy newborns can survive for hours without being fed if they are warm and safe. Consider whether the newborns are in danger due to weather, wild animals, or heavy foot or vehicle traffic. If they aren’t threatened, leave them alone.
  • Only intervene if they are in danger. If it is clear the mother is not returning to the litter or they seem to be in danger, wrap the kittens in blankets and bring them to Kitsap Humane Society for care. Our vet service team will make sure they are healthy and prepare them to go to an experienced foster home.
  • If the mother does return and she and her kittens are stray, the best time to intervene is after the kittens are weaned at 6 to 8 weeks of age. In the meantime, you can offer them food and shelter. Hypothermia is very dangerous for these newborns, so making sure they’re warm is important! Once they are 6 to 8 weeks old, if they are friendly, gather them up in a cat carrier and bring them to the shelter.
  • If the mother and her kittens are antisocial or feral, they can be trapped, spayed/neutered for free, and released back to their colony as part of our Community Cats program.
  • Remember, spaying/neutering your pets helps reduce the number of stray animals, like homeless kitten litters, and gives shelter pets a higher chance of finding a home!

KHS thanks you for helping to care for the stray cats in our community!