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How to Help Homeless Cats and Kittens

Updated on April 30, 2013

Meow can we Help!?

I am a lover of cats from way back, and kittens, forget it.....If I could, I would bring them all home! Must I say, "see images below?" I don't really know what it is about animals and their ability to capture the heart of even the most stoic of humankind. Recent news reports frequently on the heartwarming health and emotional benefits that adopting a pet can have. Especially touching is the impact on our senior population, and how love-starved shelter cats and dogs fill that a void for so many, drastically improving their quality of life. I even saw a piece last night on how various prisons have incorporated programs for pre-screened inmates that allow them to adopt and care for a stray cat. While some may find it controversial, I am all for it. While the majority of convicts did not get the love and nurturing they needed growing up, a cat will love you unconditionally, and asks very little in return. Not surprisingly, the behavior of inmates participating in such a program has drastically improved, not wanting to risk being separated from their feline friend, most are on their best behavior.

Several months ago I moved from the Bay Area in California to a town near Modesto, California, and one insignificant day I heard a faint meow. I'd know that sound anywhere! I know my meows, and this was a baby crying! Sure enough, I found four baby kittens, luckily, with their Mother. Not so lucky, they appeared to be homeless -- filthy, hungry and living under a pile of wood. They were not as I would expect a feral cat to be, Mama was very friendly, although I am sure the food in my hand was a great ice-breaker, a truly feral cat would not be so approachable, especially with kittens to protect.Two of the kitten's eyes were "weepy" and badly infected and Mama had some kind of respiratory problem, struggling to breathe and even eat.

I knew I had to do more than just feed them, the maddening part is that this sweet cat was once someones pet, discarded perhaps because of the economy or pure neglect, it is hard to say but as time went on, I found an entire cat throw-away underground, existing on garbage, birds & mice. Some remain untouchable feral cats that sneak over and eat my garage gang's leftover crumbs but most of these cats were initially someones pet that they no longer wanted, for whatever reason and there are just not adequate resources available to deal with this problem. I called the local Animal Shelter, only to find that they already had so many kittens and cats that they were not even taking anymore. How humane is it to leave any animal without food or shelter? The "Humane" Society in Modesto said that they would take the cats but stressed that they had an overabundance of cats so most likely some or all would be put down, which is sadly the only humane option left for the sick and feral ones.

I have tried to do the best I know how, with a makeshift kitty crash pad in my garage, selling on EBay to finance their Friskies, and even crushing up Lysine amino acid tablets that I bought at Walgreens. I then crush and mix into their food, to help treat the respiratory problems or the feline herpes virus. I finally found a local chapter of an organization called AlleyCat Rescue. They supply you with a cage to trap and bring the cat in and for $20 each, they will spay or neuter the cat for prompt return to their environment. Although I found the trapping difficult, at least I feel like this is making progress and I have committed to take in one kitty per month. Reducing the population of these cats is a step in the right direction without a doubt. What they really need however is medication prescribed by a veterinarian and a forever home, complete with a family to love.

But how did it get to this point, and what can we do to make the lives of these innocent creatures a little bit better? In a perfect world, all animals would be the loved and cherished family members that we brought into our homes, discovering that the love and laughter they bring to our lives far outweighs an occasional trip to the vet or a fur covered couch. The key is awareness and education, and I must say that many communities are doing a wonderful job with this, so there is hope, we just need more resources in more areas.

I have set up a Blog called The Kat's Tale. To help continue rescue efforts, like helping with spay & neuter costs, food, medicine, supplies or to cyber sponsor a homeless cats just click on the page daily and tell a friend to do the same. Your visits alone will generate adsense revenue, in addition to shopping for your own pet at The Kat's Tale Store! One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to the cats. Donations of food and supplies are also welcome and appreciated!

As I look to communities that have effective and humane solutions for the treatment and long term placement of their homeless animals, including outreach efforts and education, I know that it is possible to implement this anywhere. Unfortunately, it is much harder than it should be, and it does take funding and lots of hard work in an economy where many people don't have enough to eat. Undoubtedly an uphill battle, by working together and spreading the word, I have faith that the situation will improve, confirming that pets are indeed valued family members who will love you unconditionally and ask very little in return.

A Few of The Kat's Tale's Residents

Blanca when I first found her under a small wood pile with her 2 brothers Mayfield & Peabody and Sister Curly Sue -  Mama Cat had them safely hidden from predators
Blanca when I first found her under a small wood pile with her 2 brothers Mayfield & Peabody and Sister Curly Sue - Mama Cat had them safely hidden from predators | Source
Blanca after lunch - "But where is the rest"?
Blanca after lunch - "But where is the rest"? | Source
Mayfield & Sister Sue playing in their new home  - Kittens will be Kittens!
Mayfield & Sister Sue playing in their new home - Kittens will be Kittens! | Source
Siblings Blanca & Peabody
Siblings Blanca & Peabody | Source

Ways That You Can Help

  • Visit The Kat's Tale Facebook Page!
  • Go to the Animal Rescue Site and simply click to give food and care, send an e-card, sign a petition or shop at their store
  • We need more low cost spay and neuter clinics so that all families have access to vital services that will reduce the chance of unwanted kitties wandering the streets
  • Want to help a homeless cat-adopt one! PetFinder and Adopt-a-Pet are great places to start
  • Volunteer or make a donation to benefit your favorite cat cause
  • Tell a friend! Many people don't understand how important it is to reduce the number of unwanted cats! Like many things that are unpleasant, no one wants to think about a day in the life of a homeless cat. These cats do not live very long and they are usually sick, scared and hungry

Alley Cat Rescue


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    • Lynn Savitsky profile image

      Lynn Savitzky 

      4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you for posting this.

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from California

      Just saw your comment Elle thanks for taking the time to notice this as we all see homeless cats from time to time but some areas are worse. Stanislaus county is one of these places where there are just not enough dollars or public noise to create more outreach efforts. I moved back to the Bay Area but still visit enough to see that nothing has changed. My latest rescue was found near death in a restaurant parking lot. Only 6 weeks old at the time there was no mother cat in sight so it's hard to imagine what these kitties go through. He's now happy and healthy. I only wish we could do so much more.

      Hopefully with awareness and comments like yours more attention will be given to a problem that is simply unforgivable. Thanks again for noticing a population of potentially amazing pets that need our help!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I was just driving south on the 99 and stopped at the Enoch Cristofferson rest stop near Turlock, and there were almost a dozen starving cats. I'm not from the area, just passing through, but this broke my heart :( thanks for all the help you give! If you live in the area, can any of those organizations help? Are they still so overloaded?

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thanks so much for your encouraging feedback nArchuleta. I must check out your hubs too, any cat lover is a hub friend of mine. You are so right about cats that have been adopted and then abandoned, hard to understand as these cats have an even harder time surviving because they have never had to hunt or find the most nourishing garbage on the block. Thank you so much for giving Lindemann a home. Your cat karma will always see you through!

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 

      6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Wow, you do wonderful things for casts. I'm going to link you on my cat Hubs. Thank you for your dedication. My sweet Lindemann was onè of those house cats who was sent out into the awful world.When I look into his loving face I cannot fathom how people can do that. I'm going to go buy something for Lindemann at the Kat Tale shop.

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Greeting teresamg! I had a feeling you were a cat person, maybe your avatar gave me a clue:-) Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to love a few of these kitties yourself - in the end we get back so much more than we give. It is hard to understand how anyone can leave their pet to fend for themselves simply because they lose interest or have other responsibilities...It is always nice to meet another animal lover and I applaud your efforts! Best of luck to you and your growing family!

    • teresamg profile image


      6 years ago from Portugal

      This in amazing, great job. I'm also a cat lover and a couple of months ago I adopted yet another stray kitten. He was clearly abandoned by its owner, which for me in an unforgivable act, and he was very hurt. We didn't know if he'd make it. After a few trips to the vet and a lot of love he's growing up to be a beautiful cat! Now I have 6. I think anyone who loves animals is a good person. Thank you creating this hub.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love cats . I would do anything to get one

    • Suelynn profile image


      7 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Chatkath, I am exactly the same kind of person as you are! I have done what I can for animals I have come across and it seems to be a never-ending struggle. Shelters here are also filled to overflowing and doing the best they can too. Excellent hub and bravo for all that you do for cats!

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      Thank you for visiting Izzym! I guess we cat lovers do what we can! I wish I could help all of them. ^;^

    • IzzyM profile image


      7 years ago from UK

      You raised a very important point and stray cats being sick, and weepy/sticky eyes seems to be a common complaint among homeless cats. Well done you for raising the money to treat them!

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Cats are the best! Thank you for visiting!

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      8 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I love cats too!

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      You are very welcome htodd, thank you for visiting!

    • htodd profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Thanks for that,nice hub

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Thank you Lucky Cats! Wow, small world isn't it? I didn't think anyone went to the extent that I do over cats. Everyone teases me about growing old as the Cat Lady with a house full of cats & kittens running my home, (they already do :) But that's ok, for now anyway, I just wish I could do more to solve the problem but some areas just don't have the resources/funding. I think SF is one of the best when it comes to spay & neutering programs! I must go read the rest of your hubs! Thank you for your visit and your love of cats!

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      8 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Absolutely fabulous! Kathy!! We are one and the same. I just love the pictures and your heart for loving these beautiful kittys. Now I know you MUST read my profile and'll see we are just alike. Thank you SO MUCH for caring and acting to save these wonderfully loving cats. Bless you!! Kathy aka Lucky Cats

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Thank you Sharyn, I so appreciate the visit! Cats Cats & more cats ^_^

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      8 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kathy,

      Thank you for this wonderfully written story! Makes me want to go hug my cats!

    • Chatkath profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Well thank you Epigramman, I have always had a "thing" for cats - thank you for sharing your children^^

      Once my son moved out I re-focused all my parenting insticts on these kittens! They are all like my kids, my inside Tabby, Baby I have had since she was 2 weeks old though so I guess she is more like my inside child. The others are more like foster children....Love em all!!!!!


    • epigramman profile image


      8 years ago

      ...well you certainly have a good heart and very good intentions ...and as you can see that is my little buddy Little Miss Tiffy with me - and I have another one - Mister Gabriel who is a big white boy and deaf - but I love them like children and they are my two best friends.


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