URGENT: Kittens Found Outdoors Need to Stay with Mom!

Taking kittens too soon hurts their chance of survival.

By the middle of May, 606 kittens had flooded Charleston Animal Society. “People have the best of intentions but taking a kitten from mom before it’s old enough actually places it in greater danger,” said Charleston Animal Society Director of Veterinary Care Margie Morris, DVM. “We need people to know that ‘If you see, leave ‘em be.’”

What do I do if I see kittens outside?

For the first six weeks of a kitten’s life, they rely entirely on protection and nutrients from their mother, and even if mom is not directly in your sight, she is probably close by.

  • It may take several hours for mom to come back to the kittens if she is out hunting or watching close by. Try to observe on an off for at least eight hours.
  • If kittens appear to be sick or hurt, call your local shelter.They can give you guidance on what is best for the kittens, whether that means bringing them in or giving them time and space.
  • If you see mom,remember that the best thing for the kittens is to let their mother care for them. A mother’s milk is what makes a kitten healthy. You can assist in providing food, water, and shelter, but try not to disturb them too much.
  • If mom doesn’t come back after eight hours,and you think the kittens are in danger, then you can either raise them yourself or call your local animal shelter and bring them in during open hours. For tips on raising kittens, visit org/baby-kittens.

When do I bring kittens to a shelter?

When kittens reach six-weeks-old or more, they can be brought to a shelter for health checks, vaccinations and deworming. You’ll know they are this age if they run out to greet you or if they are the size of an adult female’s shoe (minus the tail).

“Please don’t ‘catnap’ kittens,” said Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore, CAWA, CFRE. “A kitten’s best chance at survival is to stay with mom.”

Kitten Intake at Charleston Animal Society:

2021: 606 (so far)

2020: 1,305

2019: 1,854

2018: 1,925