A mother’s love and care are irreplaceable. That is why Alley Cat Allies is committed to protecting all mother cats and their kittens through tireless advocacy, lifesaving programs, humane education, and community empowerment on their behalf.

This Mother’s Day, join us in our mission! There is something everyone can do to protect and improve the life of a mother cat. Here are just a few ideas to get started.

All of us at Alley Cat Allies wish all the moms out there, of every species, a very happy Mother’s Day!

1. Spay and Neuter ASAP 

Ideally, a female cat would be spayed before her first heat and pregnancy, but it’s never too late. Kittens may be adorable, but mating and pregnancy are very stressful for cats. Not only does spay and neuter—including lifesaving Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)—end the breeding cycle, it also improves a mother cat’s health—including reducing risk of cancer.

Once a mother cat’s kittens are at least 2 pounds, which is usually at 2 months old, spay mom alongside the kittens!

Learn more at alleycat.org/SpayNeuter. For more information on TNR for mother cats with kittens, click here. If you have trapped or want to trap a nursing mother cat, here is how to do it.

2. Always Keep Kittens with Their Mother Cat 

Mother knows best! No matter how many years of experience a person has with bottle-feeding and raising kittens, we will NEVER be able to match a mother cat’s instinctive care.

Whether she lives indoors or outdoors, let kittens stay with mom at all times until they are 2 months old and at least 2 pounds. Then, as stated above, the whole family can be spayed or neutered!

Learn more at alleycat.org/LeaveThemBe.

3. Provide Essentials to Mother Community Cats 

For mother cats who live outdoors, you can provide the perfect space to give birth to, nurture, and raise her kittens in her outdoor home! Start a schedule of regular food and water to keep her healthy and strong through motherhood. It is best to feed a good amount of high-quality kitten food (wet or dry) to a nursing mother cat until all her kittens are fully weaned.

Additionally, build or buy her an outdoor shelter so she can keep herself and her kittens safe and sound. Make sure the bedding within is soft, clean, and dry!

Get the details at alleycat.org/BestPractices and find shelter options at alleycat.org/ShelterGallery.

4. Track the Progress of Her Kittens 

If a mother cat is comfortable with you handling her kittens, give her a helping hand by monitoring the kittens’ progress! Weigh kittens every day—especially neonatal kittens, who are under 4 weeks old and the most reliant on mom—to ensure their growth is on track.

The average healthy kitten should gain a minimum of 10 grams per day! Watch for any signs of illness in mother cat and kittens and contact your veterinarian right away if you notice anything of concern.

Remember: A mother cat will NOT reject her kittens because a person touched them! That is a myth.

Learn more about the kitten growth process at alleycat.org/KittenProgression. Find more information about kitten care, and signs of sickness in kittens, right here.

5. Create the Perfect Space for a Mother Cat Indoors 

If you are caring for a mother cat indoors, you can tailor her space to perfectly suit her needs! Make sure she has a nesting box available in a temperature-controlled, quiet, closed off area and line it with newspaper and then clean, dry, and soft bedding, like a single blanket.

You can get creative with nesting boxes—from a handmade wooden box to cardboard boxes to a dog or cat crate—as long as the edges are low enough for mom to come and go with ease and high enough that neonatal kittens can’t roll or crawl out.

If you’re using a larger nesting box, we recommend lying a smaller cardboard box on its side or with a large hole cut into it within the box. Mother cats feel at ease in smaller, more enclosed spaces.

Thank you for all you do for cats and kittens, this Mother’s Day and every day!