Finding Mom and Kittens Outdoors

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If you come across a mom and her kittens while spending time outdoors, you might first be mesmerized by all the cuteness. Then, you’ll probably wonder if there’s anything you can do to help them.

First and foremost, know that it is always best to keep kittens with their mother. If mom and her kittens are doing well, it’s completely fine to let them stay in their outdoor home together.

Remember: Never take the mother cat or kittens to an animal shelter. Many shelters still kill the majority of cats they impound, especially young and vulnerable kittens.

Help Them with Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

When mom and kittens are ready, you can carry out TNR for them all.

Mother cats can be spayed as part of TNR before her kittens are weaned. It’s important not to wait too long: female cats can become pregnant with another litter of kittens just six to eight weeks after she’s given birth—sometimes sooner.

Kittens can be spayed or neutered as soon as they weigh two pounds, or when they are two months old. Learn more about pediatric spay and neuter.

You may want to trap mom and kittens at the same time for TNR. Read our tips on how to do so.

Help Them through Foster and Adoption

Depending on your circumstances and resources, fostering and adoption are also an option for kittens you find outdoors. Once kittens are weaned, or no longer rely on mom’s milk, you may trap them and foster them indoors to socialize them to people.

After the kittens are socialized, you can adopt them yourself or find another adoptive home for them.

A few things to remember:

  • Fostering, socializing, and adopting out kittens requires a lot of time and resources. Be sure it’s the right choice for you and the kittens.
  • We do not recommend trying to socialize kittens who are older than eight weeks.
  • If mom is not socialized to people, spay her and return her outdoors through TNR.

More information:

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