kitten

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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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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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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KIRA Club Kids Perform Surgery on Stuffed Animals

This month our KIRA Club (Kids Interested in Rescuing Animals) had a very informative and hands-on meeting. 

The kids learned all about different exams and surgeries animals receive at our Planned PEThood Duluth clinic, including how to check an animal for a microchip, how to check important vitals, and how to perform surgery to remove foreign objects. After learning all the important steps, they were able to put their new knowledge to the test and perform these exams and surgeries on stuffed animals. The kids had an absolute blast! We even had three kids at the meeting who want to be veterinarians when they grow up. How cool!

Animal rescue, compassion, and kindness can and should be taught at a young age, which is why we developed KIRA Club (Kids Interested in Rescuing Animals). Thanks to a grant from Orphan Kitten Club and Kitten Lady in Kira Serisky’s memory, we were able to start this program to help educate and inspire kids who are interested in animal welfare. 

KIRA Club has monthly meetings to discuss certain topics on the importance of animal rescue. These meetings include crafts, projects, guest speakers, presentations, and opportunities to meet a few furry guests. Children age 5 to 17 are welcome to join. We truly love seeing this club continue to grow and we know this program is making a huge difference in the lives of these children. 

Email events@PEThoodGA.org to learn more about KIRA Club and upcoming meetings.

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Fantastic Volunteers Help 17 Community Cats Through TNR

Two fantastic Planned PEThood volunteers and dedicated fosters, Melissa and Shannon, spent their Memorial Day helping community cats and preventing overpopulation in the Buford area. Together they trapped 17 cats and kittens. That’s a lot of cats in one day!

An elderly woman who lives with her disabled daughter, neither of whom drives, had called and asked for assistance. They were concerned about the growing number of cats and kittens around their house.

Melissa and Shannon are seasoned feral cat trappers and were more than happy to help. They spent about 4 hours trapping cats. It was exhausting but rewarding! They trapped those 17 cats and then brought them into our Duluth clinic for their spay/neuter surgery and vaccines. The kitties then went home with several different volunteers to recover from their surgeries. All the surgeries were covered by a grant from Second Life Atlanta. Their thrift store in Avondale Estates provides charities around Georgia with critical income to help in situations like these.

Planned PEThood kept two friendly adults, who Melissa is fostering, and the five kittens, who another wonderful foster is fostering, in hopes of finding them forever homes. The babies were hand pulled from underneath a wood pile. Can you believe it? 

The remaining 10 cats were released back to where they were found after they recovered. The kind woman who called will continue to feed the colony without having to worry about the population growing out of control. Those 10 cats who were returned to their outdoor home were also ear tipped, which will allow people to tell from a distance whether or not they have been spayed/neutered. This will save the cats the stress of being trapped and anesthetized a second time. 

TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) is the ONLY effective way to manage outdoor cat populations. Left unaltered, these cats can reproduce, and before long there will be dozens of community cats living in your neighborhood. TNR helps prevent the birth of unwanted litters AND the unnecessary euthanization of cats in shelters. 

You can trap community cats near you! We offer humane trap loans to the public at no cost, so you can TNR community cats in your neighborhood, at your workplace, or anywhere you’ve seen them.

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Two Special Needs Kitties Find Their Forever Home Together

After overcoming life-threatening medical issues and spending over a year in foster care, we are excited to share that Haze and Roger have found their forever home -TOGETHER! 

These loveable boys have spent over a year with their dedicated foster moms waiting to find their forever homes. Haze and Roger are some of the friendliest cats, but due to their variety of medical issues, they have struggled to find an adoptive home. That all changed when Haze attended the Cat Extravaganza show with his foster mom in early May. 

Haze came to Planned PEThood in June of 2022 when the nice lady caring for Haze noticed he desperately needed help. After he was rescued from an outdoor life, it was determined that he might not survive. He was barely a year old but already incredibly sick. Haze tested positive for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), a common infectious disease that affects cats’ immune systems, had an upper respiratory infection, a possible heart issue, very bad teeth, and more. However, with good vet care and extra TLC from his foster mom, Patti, Haze proved he was a fighter and became a thriving, healthy cat. He may be FIV positive, have a few allergies, and have no teeth, but he is a lovable kitty with a great personality. 

Roger came to Planned PEThood in September of 2021 as a kitten with all kinds of medical issues. He struggled through calicivirus, a highly contagious respiratory infection, and chronic rhinitis, a common complication of upper respiratory infections that can cause permanent damage to the nasal passageways and result in frequent infections and ongoing issues. He almost didn’t make it as a kitten, but he was a trooper. Thanks to our medical staff and his foster mom, Karen, he is doing well. Although Roger has chronic upper respiratory issues, Roger is a very friendly kitty who loves cats, dogs, and people. 

Their new mom met Haze at the Cat Extravaganza event and fell in love. She lost her senior rescue kitty a few months earlier and was ready to adopt a new feline friend. After meeting Haze, she decided to adopt him, but she was interested in a buddy for Haze. Patti suggested Roger. These two are like brothers and have so much fun together, so it’s the perfect match. She is ready to spoil them.

It’s been a tough goodbye for Haze and Roger’s foster moms after caring for these boys for such a long time, but they are both thrilled that Haze and Roger found a forever home together. Karen and Patty will even be babysitting the boys while their new mom is on vacation.

Happy life Haze and Roger! We wish you both the best life at your new home!

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Kittens Tossed From a Car Find Forever Home with Their Rescuer

As you may remember, in early April, there was a devastating story involving two neonate kittens being thrown out of a moving SUV while passing through a busy intersection featured on Southern Living, 11 Alive, USA Today, WSB-TV and more. Kittens just tossed out like trash!

Fortunately, a woman witnessed the terrible act. She was suspicious and decided to stop and check it out. She couldn’t believe what she saw! Two neonate kittens, less than 5 days old! Thankfully, the Good Samaritan was able to rescue the abandoned kittens, care for them overnight, and bring them to our Duluth clinic for medical attention the next morning.

As soon as the kittens came in and we heard the story, we called the police to file a report. The Duluth Police Department immediately sent out a compassionate cat dad to help. The incident was investigated as animal cruelty, but after lots of efforts to find the person responsible, they were ultimately unsuccessful.

Although this story started off incredibly sad, it has a happy ending. After the kittens arrived at our Duluth clinic, they went home with Jeanne and Tiffany, a mother-daughter duo, who have fostered dozens of bottle babies. 

Thanks to Jeanne and Tiffany, these two kittens, later named Case and Mazda after the Rick Case Mazda employee who rescued them, have been thriving. They’ve become such healthy kittens, growing so much in the last two months. 

Now, at about 8 weeks old and after nearly two months in foster care, they have found their forever home! The kind woman who stopped in that busy intersection to save these poor kittens decided to adopt them. While it’s only been a few days since they moved into their forever home, Case and Mazda are already settling in nicely. The purr-fect ending to a sad story!

We’re so grateful the Good Samaritan stopped to help these kittens and we are beyond thrilled she is making them a part of her family. A truly beautiful adoption story! 

Happy Case and Mazda (now named Leia and Nova)! 

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Sometimes Love Means Letting Go

The idea of giving up a pet is unimaginable for most of us. However, there are individuals who find themselves in dire circumstances where this becomes their only option.

In early May, we received a heart-wrenching call from a woman who had been living in her car with her six cats, Tigger, Fluffer, Linus, Lucas, Major, and Cutie Pie. Despite her best efforts to care for them, she knew that their current living situation was unsustainable. She made the agonizing decision to surrender her cats with the hopes of us finding them new families, an act out of pure love.

Although it was an incredibly difficult decision, we are grateful that she placed her trust in us. Our hope is that by having her kitties under our care, she can find peace knowing they will be okay. 

Now, just a few weeks later, Tigger, Fluffer, and Linus have been adopted and moved into their forever homes. While leaving their mom must have been hard for them, they are going to be well cared for and loved – which is all their mom wanted for them. We know it won’t take long for the others to find their forever homes. We have called the woman to check on her situation as well and look forward to helping her in whatever ways we can.

Fluffer and his new mom

Tigger goes home

Linus and his new dad!

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Mother-Daughter Superstar Fosters Approach 100th Foster Animal

Meet Tiffany and Jeanne, the mother-daughter duo, who have fostered dozens of bottle babies! These two superstar fosters have fostered 89 animals in total. That’s incredible!

Of those 89 animals, they’ve had 2 mama cats, 8 older kittens, and 3 puppies, with the remaining 76 all being bottle babies. In addition to fostering these 89 animals, they constantly help out when other fosters are out of town. That’s a lot of fostering!

Tiffany and Jeanne learned about Planned PEThood of Georgia years ago, when Jeanne, the mom, was driving by and saw an opening sign outside our building. She stopped by to ask if we took volunteers. That’s when it all began.

One February during an extremely prolific kitten season, when Tiffany was volunteering at the front desk, someone dropped off a solo bottle baby at the front door and drove away. Elizabeth, our Executive Director, started calling all of our bottle baby fosters, desperately searching for someone to care for this bottle baby. While Elizabeth was making these calls, another staff member was showing Tiffany how to feed the bottle baby. Her mom walked in and asked, “What’s that?”. Tiffany explained the situation and her mom said, “She’ll take her.”. And so, they brought home their first bottle baby. That’s when their fostering all began. Another litter showed up the next day and their first bottle baby suddenly turned into three.

A few years later, Tiffany and Jeanne switched over to fostering bottle babies full-time. Bottle babies are a tremendous amount of work, but over the years, they have created the perfect system. Jeanne takes the day shifts and Tiffany covers the nights. This way no one loses sleep. They even have their own incubator at their home for the bottle babies.

Natsu, one of their foster fails

Not only have Tiffany and Jeanne helped dozens of animals find their forever home, but they have also adopted several animals of their own. That first kitten they ever fostered was their first foster fail and became a permanent part of their family. These two do more than fostering. Jeanne constantly helps out with our Wednesday shelter days as a part of our Go Fix Georgia program and Tiffany does bottle-feeding demonstrations at various events for Planned PEThood.We asked Tiffany a few questions about her experience fostering with Planned PEThood of Georgia. Below are her answers.

Why do you continue to foster with Planned PEThood? Planned PEThood keeps calling us with kittens!

What is your favorite part about fostering? The reward of seeing a little 80g bean grown into a lively kitten and go to a forever home.

What advice do you have for someone interested in fostering? Think of being a foster like being a Kindergarten teacher. You provide the education and nutrition until they graduate to their new homes. Yes, it is hard to let them go, but there’s a new class waiting for the same opportunity to grow! Every cat that ‘graduates’ means another you can save after that!

What do you get out of fostering with Planned PEThood? I get a lot of purpose out of fostering. I’m disabled so that limits a lot of options in employment. Working with animals gave me something meaningful to do with my time. I got inspired by some of our medical challenges with the little ones to go to Vet Tech school, so I could do better and save more kittens. Turns out that my disability is a barrier there too, but I might be able to be a Vet Assistant. Fostering has also inspired me to look into building my own neonatal nursery. I hope to continue to work through Planned PEThood if that ever comes to fruition. 

Volunteers and foster parents are vital to our success. The animals depend on our efforts to place them on solid ground. If you have even a tiny bit of time to spare, a unique talent or trade to offer, or a spare bathroom/basement to occupy, consider contacting Planned PEThood today. 

Apply to become a volunteer.

Apply to become a foster home.

If you have any questions about fostering, email foster@PEThoodGA.org

If you have any questions about volunteering, email volunteer@PEThoodGA.org

Fostering and volunteering are rewarding experiences. Your life will be filled with more hair, but your heart will be happy!

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Walton County Residents and Their Pets Get the Help They Need at Our First-Ever Walton County Outreach Event

Our first Walton County Outreach event was a complete success! On January 14th, 171 pets received much-needed assistance in Walton County. Planned PEThood’s outreach team, Go Fix Georgia, teamed up with Walton County Animal Control and Best Friends Animal Society to provide free vet care and supplies to pet owners in need. In total, we were able to help 123 dogs and 48 cats and provide:

  • 137 rabies vaccines
  • 150 distemper vaccines
  • 158 microchips
  • 120 spay/neuter vouchers

These events ensure the wellness of pets in the community and reduce overpopulation through free spay/neuter. The need for outreach events like this was obvious as people lined up early in the brutally cold morning. There were two urgent medical cases mixed into the crowd. Just days after the Walton County Outreach event, our vet team was able to perform two lifesaving surgeries. These kitties and their owners would not have gotten the help needed without the outreach event. Watch the video below to hear more about their incredible stories.

So many amazing organizations and volunteers came together to help make this event successful. THANK YOU ALL! Our Go Fix Georgia team could not have done it without our event sponsor, Best Friends Animal Society, or without the assistance of Walton County Animal Control. We hope to work with Walton County Animal Control to help more pets and people in Walton County in the future.

Event Sponsor: Best Friends Animal Society

Other Assistance Provided By:

Walton County Animal Control

Atlanta Humane Society

Petco Love

Bissell Pet Foundation

GA Department of Agriculture

Fi Nano

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