What Do I do if I Find a Litter of Kittens?
Find out what steps to take if you find kittens!
While spay and neuter is the first step to help curb the overwhelming numbers of kittens brought to shelters, there are other steps you can take if you stumble upon a litter of kittens.
Your first instinct might be to scoop up the tiny babies and bring them indoors or take them to a shelter, but that may not be what’s best for the kittens. It’s important to remember that the best place for kittens is with their mother. Don’t try to separate them from their mother unless there is a medical emergency.
If the mother does not return to the kittens, being able to identify their age accurately will help you determine what level of care they need. The descriptions below will help determine their age:
0-7 Days Old
Eyes closed, umbilical cord may still be attached. These kittens will need bottle feeding every 2-3 hours, warmth (rice pack or Snuggle Safe heating disk) and stimulation for bowel elimination. The mother may be hiding nearby, make sure they are truly abandoned before removing.
1-2 Weeks Old
Eyes opening, more movement in nest. These kittens will need bottle feeding every 3-4 hours, source of warmth and stimulation for elimination.
3 Weeks Old
“Bear cub” ears, baby blue eyes and starting to walk/play. These kittens will need bottle/syringe feeding every 4-5 hours and may start eliminating on their own.
4 Weeks Old
Moving, playing, miniature adults that should weigh around 1lb. These kittens can start being introduced to wet food/baby food and will need space for a small litterbox, toys and water.
5-8 Weeks Old
Kittens are mini adults! Eating on their own, playing, snuggling, purring and being cute in general. At this stage, they will need socialization, wet/dry food available, water, litterbox and toys. Deworming, vaccinations and spay/neuter should be scheduled at 8 weeks.
If you find you have a desire, love, or knack for caring for baby kittens, consider signing up as a foster parent for the Sacramento SPCA! Visit sspca.org/foster to sign up!