If you find abandoned or feral kittens you need to act quickly as the faster you catch them the better chance they have to find good homes. This is not always a one person act and your neighbors should be asked to get involved. If the kittens are not caught it will become a neighborhood problem soon.
First, call the Humane Society and ask to borrow one of their traps if the kittens are older and you can’t catch them by hand. If they are very young then you will need the trap to catch the mother. If she isn’t too feral then it’s best she stay with her kittens. You will also need to communicate with the Humane Society your intention as sometimes they will send an expert volunteer out to the location to catch them for you. Many of our local shelters do not have the staff available but don’t get discouraged.
When you pick up the traps most Humane Societies charge a refundable deposit and will ask for some type of identification. They will show you how to operate the trap and give recommendations on what kind of food to use for bait.
The evening is the best time to trap as cats are nocturnal animals. When you make the commitment you will have to stay by the trap until the cat or kittens are caught. It would be too cruel to leave them in the trap for hours on end.
Before you place and set the trap have several items ready for your guests. You will need to have a blanket or towel handy to throw over the cage once you have them captured. This helps calm the animal as they have a tendency to bounce off the inside walls and scream when they can see what is going on outside.
If your plan is taking them to your house, garage or shed then have a secured place ready for them. A cardboard box will not hold cats or kittens so the ideal secure place is a large dog kennel, cat cage large enough for an extended stay or another pen of some kind. It needs to be big enough for their food, water, litter box, bedding and space to walk. Preferably, they should have an area where they can hide and this can be an upside down cardboard box with bedding inside.
Keep them safe from other animals, quiet for a day or two and secure so they can’t escape while you have them. Talk softly and, if possible, turn a radio on low. The sooner they get use to people talking and human noises the better.
If you rescue kittens under six weeks old and no mom then you have a tough few days or weeks ahead. They will need to be bottle-fed every three to four hours. Their bottoms will need to be wiped right after feeding to stimulate a bowel movement, substituting the mother’s tongue. You can buy kitten formula and bottles at your local pet or feed store. Never use milk for kittens as this causes diarrhea and death to kittens. You can use goats milk until you get kitten formula but only for a short time.
Finally, start asking friends, family, co-workers and neighbors if they want to adopt a kitten because the only other option is a shelter. But, if you do have to take them to a shelter make sure it is a no kill shelter and they have good adoption practices. Also ask your shelter about foster homes and, if you are up to it ,become a foster parent. Usually the shelter will help with food, litter and vet care when you foster an animal.
Finally, please advise everyone you know what happens to cats when they are not neutered. Abandoned or not, the shelters are full of unwanted animals who deserve a loving home.