ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque’s Animal Welfare Department is letting the public what to do if they see orphaned kittens. They say hundreds of orphaned kittens arrive weekly during this time of year, overwhelming city shelters.

First off, the department says if you see kittens without their mom, they’re not necessarily abandoned, the mother might just be away finding food or a more suitable place to live. They say to wait and observe from a distance for an hour or two to make sure the kittens are truly abandoned. Also, you can also leave a circle of flour around the kittens and see if paw prints show up, meaning their mother is coming and going.

If the kittens truly are abandoned, the city suggests being a foster parent before taking them to local shelters in order to keep numbers down. Information on becoming a foster parent is available by emailing the foster program.

If fostering isn’t a possibility, people can call 311 to set up an appointment to bring the kittens in. If the kittens are weak or haven’t eaten in three hours, they can be taken to the east side shelter admissions entrance for assistance.