Kitten Resources

Found kittens outside and not sure what to do? Read on to learn the best ways to care for these kittens.




KITTEN SEASON INFORMATION & RESOURCES

What is Kitten Season?

According to the Humane Society of the United States, kitten season is the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters and rescue groups across the nation with homeless litters. Kitten season is really three seasons in one, starting in spring, peaking in late spring or early summer, and ending in fall.

Why does kitten season occur?

Because too many kittens are born when cats that are not spayed or neutered mate.  The easiest way to help reduce the overwhelming numbers of unwanted cats is to spay and neuter your own cat and encourage others to do the same.

Did you know a cat can become pregnant at just five months of age?

Unaltered cats are driven by their hormones and tend to sneak outdoors primarily in search of a mate. Mating just once can start a domino effect that can result in dozens, even hundreds or thousands of unwanted animals. To learn more about Ark-Valley Humane Society’s FREE owned cats and feral cats spay and neuter programs, click here.

Found kittens but not sure where the mom is?

Unless in immediate danger, leave kittens where they are.  There is a good chance mom is nearby.  Read this article from Animal Alliance NYC to find out how you can best help found kittens.  If you find kittens outside and are possibly interested in raising the kittens in your home until they can be adopted, please read this article from Alley Cat Allies that explains important things you must take into consideration prior to taking in a litter of kittens from the outdoors.

Found the mom and she is feral?

Read about our TNR program and how to humanely trap the mom here.

Thinking of bringing kittens to Ark-Valley Humane Society?

The best place for kittens under eight weeks of age or under two pounds is with their mother, if at all possible. To help you determine the kitten’s age, read this article from Alley Cat Allies.

AVHS can support you in raising a litter of kittens in the following ways:

  • Foster in Your Home: If you decide you would like to partner with AVHS by fostering a litter of kittens, you will be provided with a Kitten Care Kit. You can check out a similar kit here, from Alley Cat Allies.
  • Scheduled Shelter Intake: Our foster coordinator matches your kittens to an established AVHS foster home.
  • Older Kittens: Kittens over eight weeks old and weighing at least two pounds are eligible to be adopted through the shelter.
  • Kitten Adoptions: All kittens adopted through Ark-Valley Humane Society are vaccinated, microchipped, FeLV/FIV combo tested, and spayed or neutered prior to going home.

Found kittens or thinking about surrendering kittens to AVHS? Please start by filling out this simple kitten questionnaire and a staff member will be in contact with you shortly. 

Found a stray cat and not sure what to do? We’ve put together a list of questions and responses to help guide you in your plan for this cat.

Where did you see/find this cat?  How long has it been hanging around?

 Where is the cat now? 

 Description of the cat?  

 Are there others? How many are there?

 Is the cat friendly or shy? Does he come right up to you? Does he rub up against you or allow you to pet him? 

Is the cat wearing a collar/tags?

Does the cat appear to be healthy? Is his coat (fur) in good shape? Are his eyes clear? Is he sneezing, coughing, or limping? Are there any apparent wounds? Is she declawed?  Does she appear to be pregnant? Caring for kittens? 

Have you been feeding the cat?

If the cat is friendly and can be touched:

-The cat may belong to a neighbor who allows it outside and it is just visiting.  If it comes into the shelter the cat has only a 5% chance of every getting reunited with its owner.  Therefore, friendly cats should only be brought to the shelter for the following reasons:

– Cat appears injured or sickly and/or fur is badly matted

– Cat appears to be pregnant

-Cat is very thin

-The cat is declawed

-Weather is severe and neighbors have been contacted and no one in the area is the owner

-The cat is in immediate danger

– It is known that the cat was abandoned (such as situations where a cat was left behind when a neighbor moved out)

If you decide to leave the cat where it is for the time being:

-Contact all of your neighbors about the cat.  Does it belong to anyone?

-File a found report on Ark-Valley’s website.  If someone is missing the cat and they call the shelter, visit the website, or come into the shelter looking for the cat, this listing can be referenced.

-Hang flyers with a picture of the found cat in your neighborhood with contact info for someone to call you to claim the cat.

-If safe to handle, consider bringing the cat in a carrier to your local vet clinic or AVHS to check for a microchip.  Our shelter microchips all cats prior to adoption and it’s not uncommon for cats to be microchipped. 

-Don’t feed the cat right away.  This cat may get accustomed to coming back for food from you, even though it has a home that feeds it.

-If you eventually decide to feed the cat because you have followed the above recommendations and no owner has come forward, you are now responsible for the welfare of this cat.  Bring the cat to a vet and get it up to date of vaccines and be sure it’s spayed or neutered.  If the cat needs spay or neuter, our shelter provides free spay/neuter options for cats. 

-If you have not been feeding the cat and over time, the health, wellness, safety, and/or thinness of the cat changes and you are concerned, contact us about bringing the cat to the shelter and/or bring the cat to a veterinarian immediately.

-If the cat is a nuisance but appears otherwise healthy and well-fed, consider trying the following cat deterrents before deciding to bring the cat to the shelter as a stray http://www.alleycat.org/Deterrents

If the cat is not friendly and cannot be touched:

-The cat may be just shy and belongs to a neighbor. If the person leaves the cat where it is for the time being, here are some ideas for making sure it’s not owned.

-Contact all of your neighbors about the cat.  Does it belong to anyone?

– Fill out a found report on the AVHS website.  If someone is missing the cat and they call the shelter , visit the website, or come into the shelter looking for the cat, this listing can be referenced.

-Hang flyers with a picture of the found cat in your neighborhood with contact info for someone to call you to claim the cat.

-Don’t feed the cat right away.  This cat may get accustomed to coming back for food from you, even though it has a caretaker that feeds it.

-If you eventually decide to feed the cat because you have followed the above advice and no owner has come forward, you are now responsible for the welfare of this cat.  Bring the cat to a vet and get it up to date of vaccines and be sure it’s spayed or neutered.  For cats that cannot be handled (ferals) our free TNR program provides these services.  TNR instructions are available here. 

-If the cat is a nuisance, consider trying the following cat deterrents http://www.alleycat.org/Deterrents

 – The cat may be feral and/or accustomed to living outdoors with shelter and a food source nearby.

-Fractious/feral cats will not be in taken at the AVHS shelter due to handling risks to staff and undue stress to the cat caused by kenneling.  Feral cats, instead, will be diverted to the TNR program, where they will be brought in humane traps directly to participating vet clinics. They will be spay/neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned to their habitats.  If return is not safe or desirable, AVHS will assist with the relocation of the cat to a barn home, according to the following guidelines.  If a barn home is not available at that time, the cat will be returned to its habitat until it can be re-trapped and relocated to a willing barn home.

 The only exceptions to this policy are:

 –Feral kittens (typically those under 8 weeks of age, sometimes older if somewhat handle-able) that can be socialized and adopted out as pets 

– If there is a chance that the cat is owned, such as a cat trapped by a neighbor wanting to get rid of it. If the cat is possibly owned, then AVHS is required to keep shelter it for 5 days so that the owners have a chance to claim it before it is spayed/neutered and put up for adoption.

Resources from Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies: http://www.alleycat.org/

Information on feral cats/kittens: http://www.alleycat.org/page.aspx?pid=984

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