If you spot some kittens that you think might be alone, you want to first determine if the mother has truly abandoned them or if mom is just off getting food. How do you do that? Wait and Observe. ( Be sure to stay out of sight and observe from a distance) She will return within a few hours if she is still caring for them.
Now that you have spotted her, determine if the mother is unsocialized to humans; if you cannot handle her; and the kittens are too young to be separated from her; the best thing for the family is to leave them where they are for now, provided the location is safe. Remember, the mother is best able to care for her kittens. Provide food, water, and shelter. Monitor the family daily and make the environment as safe for them as you can.
The sad fact is that unweaned kittens turned into open intake shelters without their mothers may be killed. These shelters need to rely on foster homes that will bottle feed the kittens, a resource that is often limited.
Visit our links page for more resources. And be sure to have mom spayed once the kittens are weaned to stop the cycle of reproduction.
*photo credit to echoe69, Snuggled up with mom, www.flikr.com