Spring is the onset of kitten season and due to Arizona’s climate, our kitten season lasts several months. It is not uncommon to see cats, especially kittens, flooding our local shelters from April to October. Summer is the most challenging time for Valley shelters and we need our community’s hands-on support to help save these little lives while also ensuring that they don’t continue to reproduce.
What if you find stray kittens?
If you find stray kittens, please leave them be. When we find a litter of kittens, our good-hearted instincts tell us to rush to the aid of these fragile felines. Thankfully, human intervention is typically not required.
In fact, the best thing you can do is leave the kittens alone. Mom will likely return shortly, and it’s critical that the kittens remain in her care as she offers the best chance for survival.
What if you know these kittens are abandoned?
If you are extremely certain that the kittens are orphaned (mom has not been back for at least 8 hours), you can then step in and help by caring for the kittens until they’re old enough to find homes, as this time of year Valley shelters are overcrowded and limited on space and resources.
The Arizona Humane Society also offers Care In Place kits. Those who find kittens can call AHS’ Pet Resource Center at 602.997.7585 ext. 3800 and they will provide a free Care In Place kitten care kit, or you can create your own kit here. Due to limited supplies, free kits are limited to one kit per client per season.
So Many Cats is another great resource for tips on how to care for and feed young kittens, and has a great guide if you need help figuring out how old the kittens are.
If the kittens are safe with their mom, what do I do next?
Let mom care for her kittens until they're 8 weeks old. Then make sure you get both mom and the kittens spayed and help the kittens find homes! Be on the search for friends, family, or neighbors who are looking to adopt a loving, fixed feline.
Always remember, if adult cats are present, or you have any outdoor cats that need to be spayed/neutered, be sure to contact the Spay/Neuter Hotline at 602.265.7729 (SPAY) or by filling out the Animal Defense League of Arizona's online form to ensure that the animals can get fixed and no longer reproduce unwanted litters.