Let Mom and Kittens Thrive Outside

Kittens need their mothers. That’s why Alley Cat Allies has launched our new campaign: Leave Them BeTM.

It’s critical that you know what to do to when you find kittens outdoors. Alley Cat Allies’ advice every year, especially now during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is to save kitten’s lives by leaving them with their mother in their outdoor home.

Since March 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. has lead animal shelters and humane organizations to drastically reduce their staff and volunteers. This era of unprecedented difficulty is coinciding with kitten season, the time of year when these organizations receive hundreds of calls from people asking for help with kittens outdoors.

It is more important than ever to arm every organization and advocate with the means to educate their communities that kittens are best with their mother.

Sharing that lifesaving knowledge is the goal of our Leave Them Be campaign. Please join us.

Learn more at alleycat.org/Coronavirus.

When someone finds a tiny kitten meowing under their porch or even a whole litter of kittens huddled under a bush outdoors, they may want to help immediately but not know what to do.

Compassion is a good impulse, but our actions must always be guided by what is in a cat’s best interest. That means allowing kittens and moms who are already thriving outdoors to stay right where they are.

The truth is, in nearly all cases, kittens outdoors don’t need to be “rescued.” In fact, removing kittens from their mothers and bringing them indoors can be detrimental to their wellbeing. If you see kittens alone, their mother is likely close by—and her instincts make her their best possible caregiver.

The best thing you can do is LEAVE THEM BE.

Please share the information on this page with your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone in your community who finds kittens outdoors. By spreading awareness to Leave Them Be, we can save kittens’ lives.

For a quick way to educate others, share this graphic on social media:

Leave Them Be Because Mother Knows Best

There’s a reason that phrase is a key nugget of wisdom—especially in the world of animals.

No matter how many years of experience we gain bottle-feeding and raising kittens, we will NEVER be able to match a mother cat’s instinctual form of care. Plus, it takes monumental efforts on our part to provide the round-the-clock care that unweaned and neonatal kittens (kittens under 4 weeks old) need to survive.

A mother cat who lives outdoors knows just how to protect her kittens and doesn’t need our intervention. Give her a few basic essentials (shelter and food and water) and then let her do her job. Leave Them Be until the kittens are no longer nursing (meaning they are weaned), when they are around 8 weeks old.

If you find kittens outdoors without their mother, do not assume they don’t have one. Watch for a few hours from a hidden spot to see if mom returns. She is likely out looking for food, is in the process of moving her kittens, or is just taking a little break.

How Can I Help?

You can help kittens by providing their mother with essentials like:

Learn more about finding mother and kittens outdoors, including how to help them with Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), at alleycat.org/MomAndKittens.

Get our Leave Them Be flyer to share in your community.
Get our Leave Them Be doorhanger to share in your community.