So you’ve found some kittens.

Now what?

The weather is warming up and that means kittens, kittens, kittens. Here at BAHS, our phone lines are hit with daily calls from caring community members who want to help the vulnerable animals they’ve found in their neighborhoods.

Is removing a kitten from it’s environment a good idea? It may feel counter-intuitive, but it’s not always the most beneficial move for the cats. If you’ve stumbled across kittens, follow these steps before you take action:

Are the kittens visibly sick? Bring them to a vet or clinic as soon as possible. If they seem healthy, take the following steps:

Determine the age of the kittens. Follow the guide we’ve provided to estimate the age of the kittens. We’ve also found this more detailed guide from The Kitten Lady helpful.

If cats are four weeks and under, do not touch or move them. Kittens this young are still nursing. Their chance of survival dramatically decreases when they’re unable to eat from mom.

Watch to see if the mother cat returns. Cats can be away from kittens for up to six hours.

If mom is away for six or more hours, determine a course of action. This is when kittens should be moved.

Life is challenging enough without kittens to care for, so our first instinct is often to hand animals over to shelters or rescues. Many think this is best for the kitten but is it? Even the most well-staffed and dedicated shelter professionals are often tasked with caring for dozens of animals along with other duties. Kittens need 24/7 care and will often do better in a home where they can be given individual attention.

So now that you’ve decided to move the kittens, where should they go?

Keep them yourself. It may seem daunting, but anyone can learn to care for kittens. Kittens can often be confined to a single room or even a safe, temperature controlled garage. If you need advice, supplies, or resources, you can contact BAHS or you can ask to care for kittens as a part of our foster program. If you choose not to foster, you can safely adopt out kittens eight weeks or older through adoptapet.com.

Ask a friend, loved one, or neighbor to keep the kittens. If you cannot care for the kittens, reach out to others to find assistance. You can call around or utilize social media, group texts, or email to find helpers in your trusted circle.

Once you’ve exhausted the above options, you can then contact your local shelter.

While we may not always be able to take your found kittens, we are here to support and help you. Finding kittens can be stressful. Take a breath and reach out. Your compassion is the first step to keeping our local cats safe and well.