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. Kittens that are brought into these programs and bottle fed have a lower survival rate that those fed by their mother.
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 have very limited fostering resources though so if wish for help rehoming kittens you find, you will likely need to socialize the kittens yourself. If the kittens are from Laurel, you have fully socialized them, 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 and worked with intensively. If your kittens are older than eight weeks or you do not have time to socialize them, 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. Not only will you incur the problems listed above but she will go 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, whatever you decide, spay the mother cat.
The list below is of local no-kill shelters and fostering programs. Please keep in mind that nearly all of these programs are run by volunteers and have limited capacity. During kitten season, from late spring through summer, it may be difficult or impossible to find a spot open through local groups.
Please keep in mind that ALL county run shelters in our area euthanize excess cats. Avoid taking cats and kittens to county run shelters.