Kittens are the inevitable result of not spaying a female cat. In the Laurel area we typically see litters first appearing around April or May with about 5 kittens. If the kittens are born early in the season, removed from the litter or die the cat will likely produce another litter before the end of the year. A female cat can become pregnant at 4 months of age and produce kittens at 6 months. Gestation is 2 months.
The sad truth of the matter is that there are not a lot of ideal solutions for feral kittens. Most public shelters will simply kill kittens younger than 8 weeks of age and kittens older than 8 weeks of age are generally too old to be socialized. Slots in no kill shelters willing to bottle feed and socialize young kittens are few and generally full during kitten season.
Laurel Cats has recently partnered with Last Chance Animal Rescue and the Laurel PetSmart and can rehome fully socialized kittens through the Laurel PetSmart. We are building a strong foster program but we still have only limited fostering resources. If our foster program is full, you may need to socialize the kittens yourself. We can provide instructions, advice, and equipment to assist. If the kittens are fully socialized, and you have spayed the mamma cat, we will work with you to rehome the kittens.
To be socialized, kittens generally need to be less than eight weeks old, brought indoors, and worked with intensively. If your kittens are older than eight weeks, we recommend TNR. Kittens can be fixed when they reach two pounds which is generally around eight weeks.
Note: One of the worst things that you can do with kittens is separate them from their mother and then not spay her. Doing so will cause mother cat to into heat prematurely producing even more kittens. Horror stories abound of shelters being swamped by dozens of kittens over just a few years from a single mother cat who was not spayed but regularly had her kittens removed. Please, however you proceed, spay the mother cat.