Adopt and Rescue

So You Found Kittens Outside…Now What?

Updated 3/21/2024

Spring marks the beginning of Kitten Season, where unsterilized, outdoor female cats continually go through a heat cycle, giving birth to dozens of kittens. During kitten season, it’s not unusual to discover a nest of unattended kittens. Do you know what to do if you find kittens? When you come across kittens outdoors, it can be very tempting to scoop them up and bring them indoors. You want to help, right? It’s important to know that removing kittens from their current environment may not always be the right answer. 

So, what should you do if you find kittens outside? 

Leave them be, but keep an eye on them! Even if you see kittens alone, their mother is most likely nearby – she could be getting food, hiding from you, or in the process of moving her babies from one location to another (especially if you’ve found one kitten alone). She could be gone for several hours. A mother cat is the kittens’ best possible caregiver, so please LEAVE THEM BE! Momma cats are resourceful. There is a reason they survive cold temperatures and continue to breed. They find warm spaces to keep their babies, and they know when their babies are in danger. Taking kittens who are not weaned away from their mother puts the kittens at greater risk.

While it can be hard, sometimes walking away is the best thing to do. As long as the kittens are safe for the moment and you can come back to check on them within a few hours, LEAVE THEM BE. Wait a few hours to a full day to see if the mother cat returns. Be sure to watch from a hidden spot or from inside where you won’t be noticed. If the kittens are cuddled together and sleeping quietly, look pink, warm, and clean, and have full bellies, their momma has most likely been back, you just didn’t see her. 

If there is a mamma cat, it’s best to leave the kittens with their mom until they’re weaned. You can help momma cat by providing regular food and water, an outdoor shelter to create a safe space, and peace and quiet to avoid causing stress. Just be sure to pick up the food at night so it doesn’t attract predators. Here are some tips on how to care for momma cats and kittens.

When the kittens are older and weaned, you can help them find homes and get them and momma spayed, but intervention at such a young age can be detrimental. 5-6 weeks is the optimal age to take kittens from a feral momma cat for socialization and adoption placement. Can’t tell how old the kittens are? Check out this kitten progression article. Cats can get pregnant as young as four months of age, so it’s ideal to get the momma cat and her kittens spayed or neutered as soon as possible.

If the kittens are 8 weeks old or older, they don’t rely on their momma, so don’t hesitate to take them to a veterinary clinic or shelter. They can be spayed or neutered. If the momma cat is still with them, you can spay her at the same time through a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, like Planned PEThood’s.

If you’ve waited and monitored for several hours and see no sign of the mother cat, now’s the time to step in and help the kittens. It’s best to act quickly because young kittens are fragile. If you or someone you know is able to provide foster care, a local rescue, like Planned PEThood, can give you tips, tricks, and even supplies to help care for the kittens. There are plenty of online resources to help you. Keep in mind that kittens can be a significant commitment for you, especially if they are unweaned. Local rescues might have lifesaving programs and foster programs that can provide care for kittens. Most shelters do not have the resources to provide the care unweaned kittens need to survive, so it’s best to reach out to local rescues or contact the shelter before arriving to check. We have some listed here. 

Remember, if you find kittens alone outside, fight your instinct to pick them up and care for them, at first. If they are safe, leave them alone and keep an eye on them from a distance, watching for their momma. If the momma is not back in a few hours to a day, then it is time to step in and have a plan to care for them. You can drastically help kittens by being educated, knowing when to take action, and getting involved when help is needed.

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Drumstick, a Tripod Kitty, Finds His Forever Home

After a rough start to life, Drumstick found his forever home!

Drumstick, a resilient and spunky kitten, faced a truly traumatic start in life. While we may never fully understand the hardships he endured, what we do know is heart-wrenching. Drumstick arrived at Gwinnett County Animal Shelter malnourished and had ringworm. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Drumstick also had a degloved back leg (a traumatic injury where the top layers of skin and tissue are torn away from the limb) and was missing a foot. We knew we could help Drumstick so we welcomed him into Planned PEThood’s foster program.

After some serious medical intervention from our wonderful vet team and some much-needed TLC from his incredible foster mom, Drumstick started his road to recovery. He ended up needing his leg amputated and undergoing several weeks of treatment for ringworm. After a few weeks, he made a full recovery and was ready to go to his forever home. 

His new family, who are past adopters of Planned PEThood, opened their hearts to this special guy. We couldn’t be more excited for this sweet kitty. Even with three legs, nothing slows him down! 

Happy life Drumstick! ❤️

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Meet Maddie

Maddie’s journey began in Madison, Florida, where she was discovered in the aftermath of Hurricane Adalia. She was wandering the area dragging a chain and was so weak that she had to be carried to safety. 

The local shelter had been destroyed, resources were few, and Maddie’s positive heartworm test led to discussions of humane euthanasia due to the lack of immediate aid. 

However, fate took a turn when a woman named Paula heard about Maddie’s situation and stepped up to be her foster. She took it upon herself to be Maddie’s advocate and find her help. 

Despite steep treatment quotes from various clinics, Paula kept calling and looking until she found Planned PEThood. She was in tears to learn how affordable Maddie’s treatment would be with us and that we would be able to save her life!

Fast forward to the last week, Maddie has completed her last round of heartworm treatment at our clinic. Under the loving care of her foster mom, Maddie is on the path to a full recovery and will be ready to find her forever family very soon. This sweet girl with gentle energy radiates gratitude for her second chance at life and our team is behind her cheering her on!

To learn more about adopting Maddie, please contact Paula.ro@att.net.

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Grizz Finds His Forever Home

Grizz, this beautiful, fluffy pup, found his forever home!

Grizz was originally dumped out in West Georgia. He later wandered onto a farm and decided not to leave. The people who lived on the farm fed and cared for him for about 6 months but ultimately decided Grizz deserved so much more than they could offer. He had been living in a pen outside in the summer heat and they wanted to find him a home where he could enjoy the indoors. That’s when Planned PEThood was able to help.

Grizz arrived at Planned PEThood and then quickly settled into his foster home. This smart, eager-to-please pup was absolutely desperate for affection and wanted to find his forever home over anything else.

After a few months of searching, the day finally came! Grizz’s new dad traveled all the way from Wyoming just to meet him! He and his wife had been on the search for a fluffy companion for them and their corgi who could enjoy the mountain life. They unfortunately lost their 14-year-old Shepherd last year and Grizz will help fill that void. 

This fluffy pup will definitely prefer Wyoming weather over our Georgia summers! Grizz is already exploring the area, hiking with his new parents and doggie brother. His future consists of more hikes, mountain camping, doggy playdates, and lots of snuggles.

Happy life Grizz!

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Sometimes Surgeries Aren’t Always What They Seem

Last week, we had an incredible shelter day!

Our Go Fix Georgia Program helped 60 shelter cats and dogs with spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines, and even a couple of special surgeries. 

We wanted to highlight a very sweet, special pup we saw, Strawberry! Strawberry arrived at Planned PEThood early Thursday morning from one of our partner shelters. She was on our schedule for a straightforward spay surgery. However, upon sedation, we found a huge stick, embedded in the roof of her mouth. Ouch! Can you imagine how much pain she must have been in prior to surgery?

Our veterinary team quickly managed to remove the large stick and move forward with Strawberry’s spay surgery. We have no doubt she felt so much relief upon waking up! Now, Strawberry has headed back to Hall County Animal Shelter pain-free, ready to find her forever home! This lovable pup is available for adoption through Hall County.

This is just one of many unique cases that our vet team encounters on shelter days. This team not only provides expert medical care but also a loving touch for the dogs and cats that come to our facility. Spay/neuter, medical care, and life-saving surgeries for shelter animals are at the heart of our Go Fix Georgia Program.

Just a friendly reminder, NEVER let your dog chew on bones (chicken, steak, etc.) or sticks as they can splinter, become lodged like this, or be swallowed and puncture through the digestive tract. Let’s keep our fur babies safe!

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After Searching and Searching, Biggie Finally Found His Forever Home

After over a year in our foster program and waiting and waiting, Biggie Smalls finally found his perfect forever home!

Poor Biggie was originally dumped at a high-kill shelter. It didn’t take long for him to be adopted, but he was abandoned soon after that. A fellow rescuer reached out to Planned PEThood for help after finding Biggie alone, living on a porch, left to fend for himself. He had been ditched by his owners. Can you imagine how scared he must have been? Luckily, Biggie was a good boy and jumped right into his rescuer’s car, not making a peep the entire two-hour car ride. 

During the neglect he endured, Biggie’s skin was a mess from head to toe. He was infested with fleas and developed a terrible skin infection. This poor baby only wanted to be loved. With a little TLC and the help of his foster mom, Jess, our Adoption Manager, we were able to get his skin back to normal. 

Biggie waited so patiently for a home of his own. He even thought he found his forever home in time for Christmas last year, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. His foster mom stayed by his side this entire time, helping Biggie stay positive. We knew Biggie would eventually find the perfect home because he is the sweetest, goofiest, easiest pup who simply wants a nice couch to chill on. After over a year of searching, he finally found it!

This sweet family had been on the search for the right pup and eventually came across Biggie’s profile. They knew they had to meet Biggie and just like they thought, it was love at first sight! Biggie will have three human siblings and the biggest, comfiest couch he’s been dreaming of. 

We couldn’t be more excited for Biggie and his new family! Wishing you the happiest life Biggie!

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Injured Dog Loses Eye, But Gains Loving Home

Katie and Bella Donna

A few months ago, this sweetheart 4-month-old pup, Bella Donna, arrived from Habersham County Animal Shelter through our Go Fix Georgia program. Sadly, she had been surrendered to the shelter with the most horrendous eye injury. Trust us, you really don’t want to see the image. However, Habersham knew our Go Fix Georgia program at Planned PEThood would be able to help!

Bella Donna headed to Planned PEThood on our Thursday shelter day to get her eye removed and her spay surgery, ready to start a healthier, happier life! With as much pain as she had to be in, she was begging for cuddles and belly rubs from staff both before and after surgery. 

One of our amazing vet techs, Katie, couldn’t stand the thought of her recovering alone in a kennel, so she took her home for the evening for one-on-one care. Just for a few days, of course. The plan was to return her to Habersham the next morning so Bella Donna could find her forever home. But love wins and sweet Bella Donna won the lottery!

Congrats to Katie and her new puppy! We love watching happily ever after happen to our Planned PEThood family and shelter pets!

Go Fix Georgia is a program dedicated to improving spay/neuter access to rural animal shelters and their communities throughout Georgia. Starting with Newton County Animal Control in 2019, this program ensures that more animals leave these shelters sterilized, and vaccinated. There is one rule we require when working with a shelter- every animal that enters the Go Fix Georgia program is guaranteed safety! That means these animals will either be adopted or placed with a rescue group. In the four years since beginning our program, we have expanded to five county shelters and helped to provide spay and neuter surgeries for over 5,000 lucky dogs and cats in Georgia.

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Calling All Cat Lovers! How To Celebrate Happy Cat Month

Calling all cat lovers! Happy Cat Month is celebrated every September. It’s a whole month dedicated to our feline friends and their well-being. CATalyst Council created this annual event to educate and inform cat owners on what they can do to ensure their pet is happy and healthy. 

Here are a few suggestions for pet parents to keep their feline fur babies happily purring:

Spend time with your cat

Cats LOVE attention and spending time with their owners. Snuggling, petting, and playing can be a fantastic way to spend time with your cat. Training your cat is another great way to spend time with your cat and help strengthen the bond between you and your fur baby. Cats are smart and food-oriented. Training them to do fun tricks or simple commands is a great physical and mental stimulation for felines. 

Keep your cat entertained

There are so many ways to do this! One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy and keep them entertained is with a new toy. Remember, not all toys have to be store-bought. Cats absolutely love a good, empty box. An empty box can entertain cats for hours. Cat scratching is not only mentally stimulating, but it is also good for their health. There are various cat scratchers you can find to set up around your home. Some cats enjoy watching TV. While it may seem silly, there are numerous videos on YouTube created to keep cats entertained. 

Keep your cat healthy

Schedule regular visits to the veterinarian to make sure your cat is healthy and free of any diseases or other health problems. Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat. Yearly wellness visits can help catch medical issues early and ensure your cat is up-to-date on vaccinations. 

Give your cat a buddy

Most felines love the company of another kitty. Cats are social animals and enjoy having a playmate. Pet parents can visit a local animal shelter or rescue organization to find a feline friend for their fur baby. Having another cat can improve their quality of life.

Microchip your cat

Microchipping provides permanent identification in case your cat becomes lost. When scanned at a local shelter or vet, a microchip can show all your contact information to help your cat be reunited with you. It’s better to be prepared in case your cat is separated from you. Even if your cat is an indoor cat and never leaves the house, it’s a good idea to have a microchip in case the unexpected happens. 

These are just a few things to do to help your cat be happy and healthy. Happy Cat Month to your furry feline friends from all of us at Planned PEThood! 

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Meet Scooter, The Enviro-Cool Office Cat

This sweet, spunky girl, Scooter, was adopted from Planned PEThood back in 2014. Her story starts off terribly sad, but now she is living her best life as the official Envrio-Cool office cat. She’s kind of a big deal at Enviro-Cool. She wears many hats as President and CEO of Enviro-Cool. 

Although Scooter now lives her best life, she unfortunately came from a rough beginning. Someone found her after being hit and dragged by a car. Luckily, she had no broken bones but Scooter ended up needing skin grafts. She had a very long road to recovery involving lots of bandage changes. With lots of TLC from her foster family and medical help, she made a wonderful recovery. 

Scooter’s adoption photo from 2014

After hearing her story and seeing her heartbreaking photos, Mike and Carl, from Enviro-Cool, decided to adopt from Planned PEThood. Scooter has lived full-time as an office cat for 9 years with her 17-year-old friend, Kiwi, at Enviro-Cool. They say she is so friendly to everyone who comes into the office. Carl and Mike try to convince everyone to save a life and share an office with a shelter cat. They say having an office cat is such an icebreaker and a conversation piece with clients and customers. Scooter will lay on the table during meetings and everyone loves it. Carl and Mike believe office cats are great for morale and we have to agree! They say “If you want to succeed in business, you need an office cat”.

We’re thrilled to hear that Scooter is living such a wonderful life in such a caring office! If your business is interested in adopting an office cat, check out our cats currently available for adoption.

See this story on TikTok and follow us there as well!

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Injured Kitty Loses Eye, but Gains Hope

Meet Coco! 

We recently received a frantic call about a kitten with a bulging eye. The Good Samaritan calling found Coco after he wandered onto their porch. They immediately noticed his eye and wanted to get him the help he desperately needed.

Despite the busy surgery schedule, we were able to squeeze Coco into our day. Our very skilled veterinarian, Dr. A, performed an eye enucleation surgery, where the eye was removed. 

Coco still has some time to go before making a full recovery, but he is progressing well and on the path to healing. The kind family who saved him took him home after his surgery to help him during his recovery. 

Two weeks after his surgery, Coco is doing fantastic. The family has decided to keep him and make him a part of their family! Coco will have several sibling kitties in his new home and we are working with the family to get a few of their kitties spayed/neutered. The family also cares for several feral kitties. What a purr-fect family for Coco!

What a brave little kitten. We are rooting for you Coco! We are so grateful the Good Samaritan brought little Coco into our clinic for help. 

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