By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County officials have joined with an animal welfare group to help keep people from accidentally separating stray kittens from their mothers by bringing them into shelters.

The “Got Kittens” campaign advises people to first determine whether the kitten is in need. Kittens who are quiet and appear healthy and clean are likely cared for by a mother who may be hiding or hunting.

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Kittens who have their mothers in the wild should stay in her care. If brought to a shelter, they may face overcrowded conditions, stress and illness and most kittens do not survive there, according to L.A. County Animal Care and Control.

“When you find kittens outside, it’s crucial to pause and assess how to help these vulnerable animals in a way that matches their unique situation to give them the best chance at survival and avoid overwhelming shelters when it’s not necessary,” said Tina Reddington Fried, director of ASPCA’s Los Angeles Volunteer and Kitten Programs.

“It can be tempting to take the kittens home or immediately bring them to a shelter, but some kittens who are with their mother should often be left alone or monitored — as no one can care for a kitten like their own mother.”

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If kittens are found and appear to not have a mother, the county department says they should be placed into a foster until they are old enough to be adopted.

“Kittens are the most vulnerable animals we serve, and it is important to provide the best environment and resources for them during this critical period of their lives. We are grateful for the foster volunteers who assist DACC in achieving positive outcomes for the kittens, as well as the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation for funding our kitten rescue programs,” county animal control Director Marcia Mayeda said.

People who see a stray kitten and aren’t sure what to do should visit

L.A. County Animal Care and Control encouraged people who want to help to sign up to foster kittens here.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)