Help Save Orphaned Kittens

Around this time, we brace ourselves for our most trying time of year- Kitten Season. Last year, we received 1,069 orphaned kittens that required foster care because they were too young to be adopted or live at the shelter, and in many cases, required around the clock care. This accounts for nearly half of our yearly feline intake, condensed into several hectic months! You can imagine that this undertaking presents many challenges and is an emotional and stressful time for staff who work so hard to save these little lives. We need your help to make this kitten season a success! Here's what you can do to save kitten lives:

Spay or Neuter Every Cat

In addition to ensuring that your own cat is spayed or neutered, take initiative by trapping free-roaming cats in the community so that they can be fixed and returned to the community. There are many low-cost and free options througout the county. You can usually identify community cats that have already been spayed or neutered by looking for a tipped ear (this is common practice by spay/neuter veterinarians so that already altered cats can be easily identified). If you hear cat yowling noises in your neighborhood at night, you have cats that are breeding in your neighborhood. Humane cat traps can be bought or rented at certain pet stores, hardware stores, animal shelters and spay/neuter clinics. Traps are now also available for rental at our shelter. We require a $60 deposit which is returned when the trap is brought back.

Leave Kittens With Mom

If you discover a litter of kittens, you may have the instinct to scoop them up and bring them straight to the shelter for care, but a kitten's best chance of survival is staying with mom. It is not unusual for a mother cat to leave her litter for hours at a time. If you find a single kitten wandering by itself, that kitten is likely misplaced and is best served coming to the shelter. Quiet, clean, sleeping litters are likely being cared for by mom and should not be disturbed. Keep the eye on the litter from a distance for about 3 hours. If mom doesn't appear and the kittens are cold or appear ill or thin, they can be brought to the shelter. We will help by providing you with supplies, veterinary care and information to raise the kittens until they are 6 weeks old and can be brought into the shelter for adoption. The shelter is almost never the best place for kittens to live- shelters struggle to provide care and secure fosters for each litter. Additionally, even vaccinated young kittens in a shelter have no guaranteed protection against infectious disease and are at especially high risk during kitten season. Healthy kittens being cared for by mom can be rounded up and brought to the shelter at about 6 weeks old (about 1.5 pounds). At this time, they will be running around, playing and eating wet kitten food. Remember: If you find a kitten, leave it sittin'!


The County of Santa Clara Animal Shelter works hard to find every orphaned kitten foster placement. We ask that if you find a litter, you see your good deed through by fostering the kittens until they are 6 weeks old. We are happy to check your litter in, give necessary vaccinations, provide supplies and ultimately accept the kittens into our adoption program, but we need your help in providing lifesaving care. If you haven't found a litter but would like to join us in saving lives, consider joining our foster team.Without caring people willing to open their homes and hearts to help these babies, there is no way we could save them!



If you are unable to foster, consider donating supplies so that we can support foster families in providing lifesaving care to orphaned kittens. Check out our Amazon Wishlist for foster supplies such as bottles, formula, carriers, warming discs and kitchen scales.​



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