Leave Them Be Community Cat Program

Have you found a cat or kitten?

Spring and summer starts our community kitten season.  Between March and October, hundreds of new kittens are born in Pasco County.  In most cases, those kittens are not truly abandoned.  Pasco County does not have a leash law for cats, meaning they can roam free.  This also means Pasco County Animal Control does not pick up stray cats in the community, nor do we accept stray cats at the shelter.  When you find a kitten, you usually don't have to intervene.  Just 'Leave Them Be' for mom to return and continue caring for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't the kittens stay at the shelter?

Kittens under 8 weeks of age or under 2 pounds are too young to be in a shelter environment.  They are not old enough to be vaccinated for diseases that older cats can more easily fight off.  Stress while in the shelter is another factor that can have a negative impact on these babies. 

Interested in becoming a foster for a litter in need?  Check out our Foster Program page for more information.
I've found a kitten. What should I do?
First, wait and see if mom returns.  It is in our nature to want to help these fragile felines; however, in many cases, mom isn't too far away.  If you don't see the mother cat for 8 consecutive hours, then you can step in and care for the kittens until they are old enough to find homes.  These newborn felines are too young to stay in a shelter environment, and shelters are often too overcrowded to accommodate these new additions.

These kittens are definitely abandoned and mom has not returned for them. What can I do?

If mom has not returned after 8 consecutive hours, then you can step in and care for the kittens.  Click below for a suggested supply list of kitten fostering needs.  The shelter might be able to provide a starter kit, depending on availability.  Kittens should be fostered until they are 8 weeks old or 2 pounds.  Then they they can be spayed or neutered and rehomed.

Check out our SNIP Low-Income Spay & Neuter and SNIP Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return (TNVR) programs for more information.

I want to foster these abandoned kittens. What do I need to know?

Thank you for considering fostering!  You are a crucial part in young kittens' development.  Check out the Kitten Lady for instructional videos, assessment tools and lists of essential and suggested supplies for fostering

Kittens need a safe, quiet place to grow.  Once they are 8 weeks or 2 pounds, they can be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and rehomed.

Mom is still caring for the kittens. What should I do?

Perfect!  Let mom continue caring for her kittens.  Mother cats are the best option for raising feline babies, and separating them is more stressful for both the kittens and their mother.
When the kittens are 8 weeks old, you can participate in our SNIP Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return (TNVR) Program.

Humane Deterrents for Community Cats

For information about humane deterrents for community/feral cats, check out this article from Best Friends Animal Society.