Every Spring a plethora of kittens come in to the world. We call it Kitten Season, but in reality, it's not just kittens. You know, the birds and bees and all. It's not as bad as it was before we had multiple spay/neuter clinics in on our city, but it's still more than we can handle as a shelter. We're already getting more requests to take in moms with babies and newborns without moms than we can handle. And at the same time, not many of them are old enough to adopt out so we don't have a lot of kittens that can be placed.
If you find a litter of tiny kittens without their mom, please let them be. Mom has to find food and water to have the energy to take care of her litter, so she has to leave them from time to time. No one can take care of kittens better than mama cat and there is such a shortage of people willing to foster, that you will likely have a very hard time of finding a place for the kittens to go if you do take them. Monitor the situation and if she never comes back, then you will need to take action. If you are willing to learn how to bottle feed, many shelters will let you foster the babies and take them in when they are big enough. Same with moms and babies. Call the shelter early to see if you can get a spot when the babies are old enough. Do not wait until they are 8-10 weeks old and then start calling around. Worst case scenario, you might have to try to find homes on your own. Under our resource section, there is a document with some tips on how to do this.
The moral of the story? Get that stray cat that shows up in your neighborhood spayed before you have to worry about what to do with her kittens!