Dear friends, may I please ask your advice on how I might best help out in the following new-kitten-family situation:

A woman I know from an organization I belong to told me last week that her boyfriend's cat got out a couple of months ago, came back the next day, and was getting bigger and bigger.. and they realized that.. guess what..

Sure enough, she called me a couple of days ago with the news that four kittens had been born. She was asking for advice on how to care for the new family. They are under the bed at that point. I suggested she get a box or cat bed with some soft bedding to make a bed or "nest" for them, and said the mom will take care of the kittens right now. Check on them and see that they are all nursing and looking okay. They should start opening their eyes in about a week.

It has been a long time since I have had any part in watching kitten families develop, so I am writing this to ask for more advice on just how best I can help with this situation. What I'm concerned about is when the kittens start becoming mobile, and when they start eating "non-mom" food, when they start needing their own litter box.. I don't remember ages when all these things start happening, and what kind of environment the owners should provide for the little family.

Also, there's the matter of the kittens will need homes.. All I can think of is the Humane Society (at which I volunteer), which has an excellent adoption record, but of course with it being kitten season they are bombarded with them, and I don't know if that means some... DON'T ... get put up for adoption..

I did say, after she first told me about this, "You are going to get her spayed after the kittens are gone, aren't you?" (Like, why hadn't that already been done?) She said they had wanted to before, but they couldn't afford it.. "but I guess we'll just have to get the money together after this.." I said I think the Humane Society has low-cost spay/neuter days and/or low-income specials. Well, I am going to make SURE this happens, even if I have to pay for it myself!

Thanks for any advice, suggestions, encouragement,

Love from Pat (and my cats and these cats)