Pet Doc: What to do when you see tiny kittens

Pet Of The Week

If you find a cute kitten, your first idea might be to keep it. But, according to experts, that might not be the best idea. Nikki Burdine and our expert, Dr. Staci Cannon at Metro Animal Care & Control, explore the topic in this week’s Pet Doc report. 

Nikki: It’s that time of year…MACC is getting an influx of phone calls, people finding baby kittens. DSC at MACC has one such kitten, this is little Charlotte, tell us about her? 

Dr. Cannon:  This is little Charlotte, she was found by a good Samaritan this weekend and brought to the shelter. She’s about five weeks old, and she’s over a pound.  She’s a pretty sturdy kitten; she is able to eat on her own.  She’s not large enough for adoption yet. So she will need a foster home to take care of her.  We have a big foster program here at the shelter where we send kittens out into the community where they stay with families who raise them until they are big enough for adoption, and we provide all of the medical care and supplies needed.  

The most important thing we want to tell people make sure everybody knows: if you find baby kittens outside that are smaller than Charlotte, especially the kittens that don’t have their eyes open yet, those kittens can’t eat on their own and they really need to be with their mom — that is their best chance for them to survive. So the best thing to do if you find kittens outside is to stay away — kind of step back you need to be at 30-40 feet away, watch to see if the mom comes back, she’s probably out nearby looking for food.  

She’s watching them taking care of them.  As long as those kittens are warm and dry they will be fine. If they are, if it’s really cold outside, which we’re getting out of winter.  

If it’s cold, it’s raining or if the kittens are in danger, there are dogs roaming around or predators or if they are in a high traffic area then they will need to be brought inside. The problems is then, they will need to be bottle fed and bottle raised if they are too small to eat on their own.  So the best case is to leave them with their mom until they are about a pound and they can eat on their own. Then they can be separated from mom and raised to be pets in homes.  

Nikki:  So just keep an eye on them, if you have questions call MACC, they can probably come and keep an eye or help advise you what to do next.  The next step too is to look out for that mom so we can get her fixed.  Right  Right, so we can stop a lot of litters, even though little Charlotte is so cute.  She’ll be up for adoption soon?  DSC: She will in about 3 weeks after she has grown big and strong.  Alright keep an eye out for all of these little kittens, because it is that time of year, you are going to start seeing them. Stop by and adopt little Charlotte.

If you have questions for Dr. Cannon, we invite you to email us at or contact Nikki directly at

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