I Found a Kitten…Now What?

Summer is here—and so is kitten season.

While kitten season may sound like the cutest time of the year, the truth is that it’s really a hard couple of months where countless homeless kittens are born into less-than-ideal conditions. 

During the spring, summer, and even beginning of fall, your local community cats are probably having kittens. With so many being born, there’s a good chance you may find one—or more!

Get prepared to help these kittens with this step-by-step checklist:

brown and white kitten in a tree with text I Found A Kitten…Now What?

Checklist of Things to Do When You Find a Kitten

Contact Your Local Rescue

Your local animal rescue is likely run by people who are passionate about and experts in kitten care. Give them a call before you approach or try to touch the kitten and explain where you found the kitten, how they look, and any other information. 

The rescue team will either talk you through what to do next or even send a volunteer out to your location to provide hands-on help. It’s important that you listen and follow all of their directions, as they’ll know what’s best for your unique situation. 

Get the Cat Medically Examined

The rescue team you work with will help you assess the shape the kitten is in. Many young cats living outdoors will have eye infections, fleas, or other dangerous conditions. The good news is that most of these illnesses can be easily cured with the proper care. 

No matter what, always follow the advice of the rescue team and their veterinarian

Talk to the Neighbors

Community cats are a part of the—you guessed it—community. This means that someone around them may know a thing or two about their history. 

Ask the people living and working in the area where you found the kitten how long the cat has been around, if there are any other cats who frequent the space, and if all of them have been neutered or spayed. You may be surprised as to how much you can learn. 

The information you collect can be especially helpful as you take your next step to…

Trap the Mom Cat

Where there’s a kitten, there’s a mama cat! 

You may think you’re doing the kitten a favor by plucking them from the streets and bringing them to a shelter, but the truth is, most kittens do better under the loving care of their mom. If possible, locate the mom cat and humanely trap her. Hint: That rescue group you called earlier will help you with step-by-step instructions and help!

Foster the Kitten

Once you have the mom cat and any other kittens that were in the litter, they’re going to need a place to stay until they’re either:

  1. Able to be adopted
  2. Ready to be released back into the community

Here’s the truth: There aren’t enough foster homes. 

Here’s another truth: It’s incredibly easy to be a cat’s foster parent. By working with the animal rescue team and offering to open up your home to these animals, you help set them up for a happier, healthier life. You don’t have to commit to decades of care. A few short weeks is usually all it takes!

Set the Cat Up for TNR or Adoption

Once the cat—or cats—are old enough and well enough, you can work with that same local rescue group to place them in a furever family or release them back into their home outside. 

When you release cats back into the wild, it’s known as TNR: Trap, Neuter, Return. It’s a humane solution for keeping the cat population from over growing, while reducing the amount of suffering community animals face. 

You guessed it—the rescue group will help advise you on which is best for this particular group of cats, based on their history, health, and socialization. 

Next Steps for Cat Rescuers

It’s been said that once you save one cat, you’ll start seeing them everywhere. And that’s true! Your eyes will be open to the community cats around you in a way they never had been before. Only this time, you’ll be a total pro when it comes to how to do what’s best for them. 

Keep on doing the good work of looking out for these animals, and considering volunteering with your local rescue. Together, you can make the world a much better place for all cats

I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian or animal welfare professional. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet, rescue group, or welfare professional, especially if your cat is experiencing behavioral or physical challenges. Please follow all guidance given to you by animal welfare professionals and contact them as soon as you find a cat. Do not approach any animal without in-person supervision from a professional.

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