Updated: May 8
One of the questions we’re often asked is what to do if you find a cat or kitten outside.
Here’s our best answer:
If you find a kitten outside, the best thing to do might be nothing! Kittens under 8 weeks old always do better with their moms, so it’s important to give Mom a chance to raise her babies whenever possible.
Step 1- OBSERVE At first, you should always try to leave the kitten where it is and watch to see if the mother cat comes back. It’s okay if she takes a while! It’s not usual for mama kitty to spend several hours away from her babies while she hunts for food.
If you’re concerned the place where the kitten is might not be safe, you can move it to a more sheltered area nearby where the mother cat will still be able to find it when/if she returns.
Step 2 - WAIT If the mother cat doesn't come back after a few hours and you do decide to bring the kitten home, what you should do next depends on the age of your new rescue. Kittens under 6 weeks old will need to be bottle fed every few hours with special kitten milk—not regular cow’s milk. You can buy kitten milk and a bottle at pet stores like Petco and Petsmart. Kittens older than 6 weeks can have wet food mixed with kitten milk and drink water on their own.
Kittens under 6 weeks will usually have rounded ears, wobbly movements, and will need help going to the bathroom, while kittens who are older can move around on their own and even use a litter box. Here’s a helpful article to help you determine a cat’s age: https://www.alleycat.org/resources/kitten-progression/
Step 3- ASK Around
Miami Beach has a large street cat population and many people who keep cats as companions let them go outside. So a friendly adult cat you meet outside may be a community cat or a lost pet.
If you see anyone with a SoBe Cats feeder badge in your neighborhood, ask them if the cat you’re concerned about is a member of one of their monitored colonies. All feeders know exactly which cats live in their area and are a great resource.
If you believe a cat may be someone’s pet, the best thing to do is bring it to a vet. They can scan for a microchip and may be able to find the cat’s owner. You can also try looking at NextDoor, Miami Beach community Facebook groups, and lost pet posters to see if one of your neighbors is missing their feline companion.
Step four- FOSTER
If you can foster the cat or kitten you’ve rescued, that’s excellent news and you’re doing a very good deed! For more information about fostering kittens, Kitten Lady has excellent resources on her website and YouTube channel.
Here’s more from the ASPCA:
But if you can’t foster, there are several local rescues that you can contact here in the South Florida area that MAY be able to help. Maybe.
This is our grim reality: Miami Beach has an enormous street cat population, a never-ending kitten season, and shelters are overburdened and have very limited resources.These shelters get hundreds of requests for help. There are more cats and kittens than there are resources to help them.
Here is a short list of reputable rescues:
Saving Sage, the official rescue partner of The Cat Cafe South Beach (https://savingsagerescue.org)
Kitty Campus/Sobecats.org (https://www.facebook.com/kittycampusmiamibeach)
Good Karma Pet Rescue (https://www.goodkarmapetrescue.org)
Humane Society of Miami (https://www.humanesocietymiami.org)
HELP THE RESCUE HELP YOU!
These organizations are deluged with calls for help every day. Here’s how to improve your chances of being heard:
Go to the surrender page. Include 2-3 really great pictures
Describe the kitten with as much detail as possible: does it appear healthy? guestimate age, color,
Write their story. Where found (exact address), how found, why you care, why you need help, how you can help. more is more.
Pledge a donation to help them continue to rescue kittens. Rescues are powered almost exclusively by donations from caring people like you and are mostly staffed by volunteers.
Call to follow up. Refer to the surrender form you completed.
Please DO NOT bring cats or kittens to The Cat Cafe South Beach. That would put the resident felines here in harm’s way.
Remember, The Cat Cafe South Beach is not a rescue. While we’re happy to answer any questions, for the health and wellbeing of the cats here, we can only accept fully vetted cats through our rescue organization partner.