During the Covid-19 crisis, we will be limiting our public intake in practice of safe social distancing. For San Antonio residents, if you find kittens that appear sick or injured, please contact 3-1-1.
Late spring to early fall is known as “kitten season” at local animal shelters. It's a time when animal organizations receive many questions about seemingly abandoned litters. We know here in San Antonio it’s pretty warm all year round, so there is always a chance of finding a group of kittens.
Your instinct may be to pick them up and take them to a shelter right away, but that is not always the best option. We've put together a simple step-by-step guide on what to do (and how to help) if you come across a litter of kittens.
NOTE: If the kittens or mom seem sick or injured, skip to Step 4.
Step 1: At a safe distance, without getting too close to disrupt the litter, try to determine the age of the kittens.
- 1-2 weeks: Eyes will be closed or just starting to open. Kittens this young cannot regulate their own body temperature. May have umbilical cord attached.
- 2-4 weeks: Eyes are open and a blue color. More alert and becoming mobile, though very wobbly on their feet. Teeth are starting to come in.
- 4-6 weeks: All teeth should now be showing and growing in. Confidently walking and eating. Discovered their voices and very talkative!
- 7-8 weeks: Coordinated and playful. Eye color changing to adult eye color. Can be anywhere from 1-2lbs.
Step 2: If kittens are under 8 weeks, wait to see if mom is around.
If kittens have their mom to help them, their chances of survival will be much higher. Avoid touching or moving the kittens. You can watch from a safe distance or check back every hour up to 6 hours. If mom returns, leave them alone! Her milk, warmth, and knowledge are going to help these kittens survive and thrive later on as grown cats.
If mom does not return after 6 hours, the kittens will need your help.
Step 3: If kittens are less than 8 weeks and mom has not visited them after 6 hours, you will need to take action.
You will need to care for the kittens or foster them through your local shelter program. Fostering is very useful, as you gain a community of knowledgeable people that have done this before. Many shelters (like ours) also offer fostering for absolutely no cost. Additionally, if there is someone you know that is willing to take care of them until they are of adoptable age (8 weeks, or 2 lbs.), then they can also help.
Step 4: If kittens or mom appear to be injured or sick, call your local non-emergency line immediately.
If you live in the City of San Antonio, you can call 3-1-1 to dispatch an Animal Care Officer. Be as descriptive as you can with your report. You may be asked to keep an eye on the kittens or mom, or even provide temporary shelter or care while an officer makes it out.
Our Kitten Fosters are essential in helping us provide the best care for orphaned kittens. If you are interested in signing up for our foster program and learning more about how to become a kitten foster, we invite you to sign up! You can get started by filling out our application: saacs.info/foster