If you find a cat or kitten in Chiang Mai and you’re unsure what to do, or even how to determine if the cat needs help at all, this article is for you.

I found a kitten

Not all kittens need rescuing! Mother cats have a habit of leaving their kittens in unlikely places and will return to he litter. Unless the kittens are clearly ill they are best left where they are and monitored from a safe distance to ensure the mother returns.

We recently had a case of a number of members mobilizing to rescue a kitten that had adopted a tourist at a hotel, only to find out that the kitten belonged to one of the staff! However, sadly there are many cats and kittens in Chiang Mai that urgently need help. Alone, abandoned or sick kittens won’t make it without human intervention.

A sick or injured cat or kitten should receive medical attention as soon as possible. The climate in Thailand means that a sick animal can die of dehydration very quickly!

Step 1: See if the mother is around

If you find one or more very tiny kittens, the chances are that the mother is not far away. Unless the kitten is at very serious risk, leave them where they are and keep checking to ensure the mother returns.

Step 2: Assess the kittens health

If there is still no sign of the mother, and the kitten(s) look visibly sick, try and get a closer look to assess their condition. Be careful not to handle them too much, if their mother comes back it’s best not to leave any foreign smells on their body.

Step 3: Make a judgement

Based on your observations, you’ll need to decide whether the kittens are alone or not, and whether they need help or not. Here’s a few tips to help you out:

  • If no mother turns up after several hours, it may be time to step in. Kittens generally won’t survive on their own, especially young ones. Take them to a vet to get a health check, and treatments for parasites as the first step, before figuring out a safe place for the kittens to grow old enough to be adopted.
  • If any of the kittens or the mother look sick or injured, they will need your help. Take the entire family to the vet for a health check, and treatments for parasites as the first step, before figuring out a safe place for the family to stay temporarily.
  • Even if the mother is present, many of her kittens have poor chances of survival living outside. Predators, diseases and other cats unfortunately take the lives of so many kittens born on the streets. You may choose to help them out by taking the whole family in until the kittens are old enough to be adopted.

While kittens are very easy to pick up if no mother is present, you may not have as much luck with a mother cat around. Even a socialised mama cat is probably going to be very protective of her babies, so you may need to get creative and use her kittens to lure her, or even use a humane trap to catch her.

Kittens that show very obvious signs of needing help!

When taking kittens to a vet, this should involve a check for any signs of illness or fever, de-worming, flea treatment and if the vet will do it, first vaccination.

More hands make light work 🐾

If you have the means to help needy kittens that you have found then we would always recommend that you do your best to help before attempting to give the kittens to a rescue shelter. At Adopt Meow alone, we take in 30+ kittens every single month — our rescue facility and our foster carers are quite often full to capacity, and we literally can’t take on any extra cats.

If you can take the kitten(s) to the vets yourself, give them a space in your home temporarily and devote some of your time to their care, you can make a huge difference to their lives. Our team are still on hand to offer advice if you’re new to this and dealing with sick or injured kittens — and there are a handful of vets in the city who are incredible at helping with cases like this.

Rescued kittens don’t need a lot of space — even an unused bathroom in your home would suffice for a short-term solution. What they do need is medical care via a veterinarian and some simple love and affection. Half of the battle with keeping sick rescued kittens alive is giving them a good reason to live!

Caring for rescued kittens is a very rewarding experience!

Even if you can provide care and shelter for a few days or weeks, to wait for an opening space in your local shelter, or to stabilize the kitten before finding them a foster home with more space, or a forever home — it all helps. If you do take kittens to a shelter, consider donating any amount you can afford. They can’t do this work without financial support.

Vets in Chiang Mai

There are many vets in Chiang Mai. Below we list some that our members recommend:

  • Chiang Mai Mae Rim Animal Hospital
    053 220 478  (24 hours, especially recommended for bone injury; Dr. Tao)
  • Changnoi Animal Clinic
    083 948 (especially recommended for eye problems see Dr. Pop)
  • Pet Village, 053 444
  • TONYANG Animal Clinic, 053 141
  • Donkaew Vet Clinic, 097 957 2519 Dr. Meen. Especially good price for sterilizations
  • Ohayo Pet Hospital, 098 280
  • Small Animal Hospital CMU, Canal Road
  • Tungjai Pet Clinic, 053 284
  • Ban Mha Ka Maew Animal Hospital 
  • Mee Chock Bet clinic, 053 852 415
  • Chiangmai Animal Hospital, 063 128 050
  • Metta Animal Hospital, Chiang Mai Land, 086 489 1407
  • Dr. Koy Animal Clinic, Doi Sakhet 061 370
  • Fah Sai Animal Hospital (near Central Festival) 053 014 216

I found a stray or feral adult cat!

It’s important to recognise the differences between a stray and a feral cat — this will help you understand how to approach a cat to find out if it needs help or not.

Stray Cats
A stray cat is a socialised domestic cat who doesn’t appear to have an owner. Even if they look like a stray, they may be a community cat that is fed by locals in the area.
Feral Cats
Feral cats are the exact same species of domestic cat but they are not socialised to humans at all and behave more like wild animals. You likely won’t be able to get close to a feral cat at all!
😺 May be friendly and try to get a meal out of you😾 Fearful or threatening behaviour
🐈 No ear tip, you won’t be able to see if the cat has been sterilised unless it is a male cat🐈 Feral cats are often ear tipped when sterilised and released, to make it easier to know that they don’t need trapping (unless they are sick or injured)
🏡 Stray cats will often hang around houses and restaurants to seek attention and food🌳 Feral cats are more likely to stay away from houses and humans, and hunt in natural areas
⚡️Possibly microchipped (a vet can check) which means they may have been lost or abandoned⚡️ Most feral cats are not microchipped
🐱 May have appeared recently, be lost or disorientated, or be looking for a safe territory with food🐱 Often has an established territory and may even share it with a colony of other cats

Trap, Neuter, Release

Most of the time — feral cats are quite self-sufficient. The best thing that we can do to help increase their quality of life and reduce overall population is to get feral cats sterilised.

This is commonly known as trap, neuter, release (TNR). It goes without saying that trapping and sterilising a feral cat is not easy, so we have created an article all about trapping, neutering and returning stray or feral cats which you can read here.

Assessing strays

Stray cats can end up on the streets for any number of reasons — they may have actually lived in the community all their lives as socialised cats. They may also have been abandoned or lost by previous owners.

In Thailand, many local businesses, homeowners and temples feed both stray and feral cats (and dogs) and in many cases, stray cats are quite happy to live their lives outside. In which case the best thing we can do to support these cats is to ensure they are sterilised and cared for by the community.

In some cases, stray cats may be lost or struggling to settle into a new life outdoors, or they could be sick or injured. If you find an adult stray cat which is socialised enough to trust you, the best thing to do before springing into action is to ask around the local area to find out if anyone knows the cat. If the cat is well-fed and cared for by the community, find out if you can help by donating for a vet checkup, vaccinations or sterilizing the cat.

Next steps

By all means, contact us directly if you have found a kitten in need. We will always do our very best to help, and we can discuss the best options with you and provide advice, or seek sponsorship on our Facebook page.

There are also Facebook pages such as Chiang Mai Pets for Adoption and Give Away, Chiang Mai Animal Lovers and Chiang Mai Pets Community where you can advertise for a home if you’re able to socialize the kitten and provide it with a temporary home yourself.

Thank you for visiting our website!

We hope you have found our articles useful. All of our education and advice is available for free, wherever you are in the world.

However, as a charity we rely on donations to allow us to continue helping cats in our local community, and to keep updating this site with useful information.

Any donation to support our work at Adopt Meow is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your support!