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I found kittens! Help!

In most shelters, kittens make up the largest group of animals euthanized due to large numbers and lack of resources to care for them. But here at IndyHumane, we give every animal – no matter how small – a chance at a new life!

Most of these kittens are born outside and found by good Samaritans.
This is where you come in!

I found kittens! What do I do?!

first things first: wait!

Everyone’s first instinct is to grab the kittens and take them to a shelter. This applies to other baby animals as well such as bunnies and birds. However, that is NOT the best thing to do.

Especially with very young kittens, wait and watch for a while before removing from the area. The mom cat will likely return after being out to look for food or may be in the process of moving the kittens to a new, safe location.

Mom may have left them alone for various reasons and will be back to care for them. Taking a baby from its mother significantly decreases its chances of survival. Even the best bottle baby care is nothing compared to having a mother.

You can wait for the mom for about 12 hours. As long as the kittens are in a safe, warm place, do not move them.

When waiting, be sure to assess the situation. The only exceptions are:
– the kittens are in a dangerous area
– the weather is poor
– the kittens appear sick and starving
If any of those situations apply, they will need moved ASAP.

if mom returns...

  • If possible, it is best for mom to stay with the kittens until they are weaned. Provide them a safe area with a warm shelter and regular food for mom.
    • Be careful attempting to handle mom. If she is feral, do not intervene.
  • If mom is friendly, or an owned cat, keep inside in a safe area
    • Still be cautious, as moms can be protective of their babies even if they are usually friendly
  • Once the kittens become mobile and eat on their own they can be separated from mom
    • At this point it is ideal to work on finding foster for them, give them proper medical care, and get them ready for adoption
  • It is crucial at this point to trap mom, get her fixed, and return her to where she was found as a community cat
    • Female cats can get pregnant again very quickly (including while they are still nursing their babies). Get them spayed ASAP to avoid more babies!

if mom does not return...

  • Only move the kittens if you are sure mom will not be returning
    • you know she was injured, she has not returned in several hours and the kittens are crying, or someone you know has already removed the kittens from the area
  • Get them into a safe, warm, and clean environment inside
  • Be prepared to give them the care they need

plan to keep the kittens?

If you plan to keep the kitten(s) or have found homes for them, get them spayed and neutered!  The IndyHumane Animal Welfare Center will provide low cost spaying and neutering for kittens as well as community cats. Click here for details!

need to surrender the kittens?

For kittens only, call 317-872-5650 ext. 111 right away – the earlier the better! Or, email

Kittens can be spayed/neutered and ready for adoption at 8 weeks of age. Until then it is best for them to stay in a home.

if you can commit to short-term care...

If you are able to care for them temporarily, you can sign up for our Foster-to-Surrender Program. You will schedule a Pre-Intake Appointment where the kittens will be medically evaluated, vaccinated, and dewormed. You will also be provided with a Kitten Kit containing any supplies you need to care for them. Once they are ready to be fixed, an intake appointment will be made to surrender the kittens. Click here to submit your information for the Foster-to-Surrender Program.

unable to provide care?

If you are unable to care for them temporarily, an intake appointment will be made ASAP. Since we want to keep kittens out of the shelter environment, timing for an appointment will depend on foster home availability, and you may need to wait up to 3-4 days (possibly a week, depending on space).

Again, for kittens only, call 317-872-5650 ext. 111 right away – the earlier the better! Or, email