person holding a newborn kitten

Finding Stray Kittens

Animal welfare organizations dub the increase of litters of kittens as kitten season. This time of year typically occurs during the spring and fall in Minnesota. The influx of kittens often overwhelms animal welfare organizations, especially in areas with pet overpopulation. In some instances, it may be best to leave stray kittens where they are, especially if they are under eight weeks old. Please review the following chart from Alley Cat Allies to help determine a kitten’s age.

How old is that kitten?

Kitten age Progression infographic

The first step is to conclude if the kittens are without a mom or unsupervised. Mama cats will leave their kittens to find food or scout out new locations. If the kittens are sleeping soundly and look healthy, the mom is likely to return. It is essential to check in with the kitten every hour or so to determine if the mom is coming back. The mom might even move her kittens between you checking in on them periodically. Trielle Gritton from Best Friends Animal Society-Utah recommends sprinkling flour around the kittens and looking for paw prints when you check back in later.

Best Friends Animal Society recommends that if the kittens are not abandoned but are in danger where they are, you can move them to a safer location in the immediate area, so the mama cat can still find them when she returns. If you can, please provide them with basic needs, including shelter, food, and water. You can help the mom and kittens the most by leaving them alone until they are old enough to be taken in. When the kittens are between 6-8 weeks old, they are ready to be taken in WITH their mom.

If the kittens appear sickly, underweight, or dehydrated, and if their mom doesn’t return, please contact your local animal welfare organization for assistance.