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Animal Care Services
Kitten Care
What do I do when I’ve found a litter of kittens?

It is a question that gets asked hundreds of times throughout kitten season. Since kittens require overnight care, most shelters are unable to care for kittens who may be unsocial or too young to be put up for adoption.

Below are five easy steps to help you navigate kitten season while also making a difference in the lives of our feline friends.


At first, keep your distance to determine if the kittens have a mother who may just be out gathering food for them. Put blades of grass or twigs on tiny kittens as a way to see if Mom came back without hovering. You don’t want to scare her away! The mother cat will always offer them a better chance of survival. If you don’t see the mom within eight hours, they are most likely orphans.


Leave the family together, while providing food, water and shelter until the kittens can eat on their own. If there is no mom and kittens are too young to be spayed or neutered, you or someone you know who has the time and resources can help care for them in place. Check out this Kitten Care Guide for more information and instructions on Care in Place. Click here for a list of supplies you’ll need to care for a kitten. Additional information on feeding guidelines can be found here.

Video - Raising Orphan Kittens

Affordable spay/neuter services are available throughout the Upstate. Once of age – approximately 8 weeks old – and provided the kittens are tame and social, be sure to get them spayed or neutered. It is also imperative that the mother cat be fixed or you may find yourself in the same predicament just months later. Females can go into heat and get pregnant while nursing.


Nationally, 74 percent of people take in cats from their neighbors or surrounding areas. If you have found that you have the time and resources to help kittens as they grow, be on the search for friends, family, coworkers or neighbors who are looking to adopt a loving feline. Get more tips on homing a pet.


If the mother cat and/or kittens are not tame or able to be handled, drop each cat or kitten off at our clinic in a humane trap during our Community Cat drop-off hours (Monday-Thursday 8am-11am) so they can be spayed or neutered for free and returned to their natural environment where they can live out the rest of their lives. Click here for more information about how to use our free community cat spay/neuter program.

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