Mom will likely be back soon. Leave her babies alone!
When a person comes across a litter of kittens, their good-hearted instincts often tell them to rush to the kittens' aid. Surprisingly, human intervention is usually not needed! If you come across a young litter, the best thing you can do is leave them alone. Their mom will likely be back soon, and it's critical that the kittens remain in her care — their best chance for survival is at her side. Of course, if you find kittens that are ill or mom doesn't return within eight hours, you can then step in and help.
Thinking about dropping kittens off at a shelter?
During kitten season every spring and summer, shelters nationwide are overrun with kittens without adequate resources to care for them. And with many spay/neuter and TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs halted due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandate, we will see more kittens born this year. If you have orphan kittens under your care, please foster them in your home until they're 8 weeks old. At that point, you can adopt them out to friends and family, or contact your local shelter if you need assistance to rehome them.
Need Help Determining a Kitten's Age?
It can be tough to tell the exact age of a young cat without a veterinarian's help. Check out this handy guide courtesy of our friends at Alley Cat Allies.
What Do I Need to Foster a Litter of Orphaned Kittens?
So you've decided to foster! Thank you! If you are caring for kittens, you'll need a few supplies to keep them happy and healthy.
For Kittens <4 Weeks Old:
For Kittens 4+ Weeks Old
Any More Questions?
ARF's Resource Center is ready to answer any questions you have! Our experienced team can walk you through the process of fostering orphan kittens, and provide guidance for any of your other pet-related questions as well. However, if it's an emergency, always contact a veterinary hospital directly.