Kitten season in SLO County. Photo by Animal Services, June 2018.
Kitten season in SLO County. Photo by Animal Services, June 2018.

How You Can Help Homeless Kittens

Author: Animal Services
Date: 6/14/2018 12:02:46 PM

This time of year doesn’t only mean warm weather and longer days — it also means kittens. What should you do if you find kittens outside?


If you come across an adorable bundle of fur, your first instinct might be to scoop it up and take it home — but this isn’t in the best interest of the kitten.

In most cases, the best support you can offer is to provide food and water but leave the animals alone.

Before you rescue kittens, wait to see if their mother returns. She could be hunting nearby. She might be returning at night, so it’s best to monitor several different times of the day and evening. 

Removing the kittens from their mother places them in a critical situation, one that requires around-the-clock care to keep them alive. Their best chance of survival is to stay with their mom until they are old enough to survive on their own, at approximately 6-8 weeks old. Young kittens require time-consuming care for several weeks and once taken away from their mother, they are much more susceptible to illnesses. If the animals are neonatal, they require even more specialized care, in which case momma cat knows best.

However, if the mother cat doesn’t return (again, remember to check several times of day and evening, because she may be returning at night), you can rent a live-animal trap from a shelter or rescue group to capture the kittens, or simply pick them up and place them in a cat carrier. At that time, you can bring them to Animal Services or call and request a pickup. It is also a good idea to try to set a trap for the mom so she can be spayed and won’t continue to have additional litters.

Contact us at Animal Services or a community cat rescue group (such as Feline Network of the Central Coast or North County Paws Cause) to learn how you can safely trap the entire family to have them spayed and neutered.

Another way you can help kittens: we are recruiting more foster families for the kittens in our care. If you have room in your home ... save a life and consider becoming a foster for a kitten. Visit our volunteer page and scroll down to the foster volunteer section to learn more and complete a foster application.

Ready to adopt a cat or kitten? Check out our adoptable animals

Questions? Contact us