Did you know that each year the Watertown Humane Society takes in over 200 abandoned kittens? Because of incredible network of foster homes, most of these kittens will be cared for in a loving home until they are old enough to be adopted. Caring for kittens is a large portion of what we do; this page will explain our kitten program at our shelter.


Is this an actual thing?

Yes, it is! Kitten season in our area typically is between April-October as cats go into heat during the warmer months. Our shelter can bring in anywhere between 1-3 litters of kittens a day during this time!

More information on kitten season


We’ll start with the basics: if you find kittens, what do you do?

If you happen upon a litter of tiny kittens outdoors, it’s natural to want to scoop them up and try to care for them yourself or take them to a shelter. But both of those options may actually place them in more danger. To give newborn kittens the best chance of survival, follow these steps:

  1. Leave the kittens alone and try to figure out if their mom is still around. Observe them from a distance every couple of hours for 12 to 18 hours. If the kittens seem content and are not fussing, there’s a good chance their mom is coming back.
  2. If the kittens are in danger due to their location, move them to a safer spot nearby so the mom can easily find them when she returns.
  3. If the kittens are dirty, meowing or appear sick, underweight or dehydrated, contact your local shelter or a trap-neuter-return (TNR) or community cat program. They can help you determine if the kittens are at risk and if you should intervene.
  4. If you spot the mom, leave the kittens alone. When the kittens have been eating on their own for about four weeks or are big enough for surgery (typically around 12 weeks old), humanely trap the whole family and have them spayed or neutered. A local TNR program may be able to help you with the trapping process. After the cats are fixed, release them at the location where you found them. TNR is the most humane method of preventing cats and kittens from entering the shelter system.

More information on bottle feeding kittens

Thank you to Best Friends Animal Society for this content.


Kittens that should NOT come into the shelter – HEALTHY KITTENS

If the kittens look clean, healthy and well-fed, they are being cared for by their mother and can be left alone until around 12 weeks old. After that time, kittens can be TNR (Trap Neuter Release). More information on a TNR program in our area can be found here.

Kittens that SHOULD come into the shelter – UNHEALTHY KITTENS

If the kittens appear dirty, underweight, and/or have crusty, goopy eyes and/or mouths, these kittens are not being cared for and our shelter should be contacted so we can provide the necessary medical treatments.