Join the Kitten Relay: a Team Effort to Save the Smallest Kittens

Of all the animals entering Philadelphia’s shelters, the most vulnerable are orphaned kittens who cannot yet eat on their own. Too weak to thrive in the shelter, their only chance at survival is to be immediately rescued and bottle-fed at home by a foster parent – a challenging but incredibly rewarding job.

To save them, we need you! Kittens need to be fed around the clock every 2-3 hours until they are around 4 weeks old. This is a daunting task, especially for newer foster parents, so we have created a team approach: you can join the “Kitten Relay” and sign up to foster a litter for several weeks, one week, or as little as 24 hours. When a nursing litter arrives at the city shelter without a mother, we’ll send an alert to our bottle-feeding team and take sign-ups to create a care schedule. As soon as we have coverage lined up, we’ll be on our way to the city shelter to rescue them! If your work schedule is a limiting factor, litters can be dropped off at our clinics for daytime care.

Before signing up, we ask that you read this booklet for an in-depth guide of what it takes to successfully care for bottle-feeders.

What we need from you:

  • Complete our foster care application.
  • Email maria@phillypaws.org if you can’t foster but could be available to transport litters from one foster parent to the next.
  • Feed the kittens while in your care, closely monitor them to ensure that they are healthy and comfortable, and coordinate with the next foster parent who is signed up to take the litter.
  • Give plenty of love to the kittens in your care!

What PAWS provides: Everything!

  • Supplies: each litter will be sent home with a carrier, snuggle safe heating disc, bottles, formula, blankets, and a “baby book” to track milestones.
  • Any medical care needed including routine vaccines and preventive care.
  • 24-hour emergency phone line.
  • A support system to help you as you learn.

To get started, please fill out our foster application and we’ll contact you. Be sure to note in your application that you are interested in the Kitten Relay program. Together, we can save them!


PAWS’ Kitten Relay program was launched in the summer of 2018 thanks to an Innovation grant from Maddie’s Fund®, #ThanksToMaddie. Our ability to continue saving the most vulnerable kittens depends on the generosity of our supporters; please make a lifesaving donation today.