If you have a mother cat that has had a litter of kittens and you are unable to keep them, there are several possible solutions. If possible you should keep the kittens indoors with the mother, until they are at eight weeks of age (six weeks is the earliest they can be weaned).
Giving Kittens Away Free to Good Homes
Giving kittens away free is very risky as you have no way to qualify if a person is going to be a good owner or not. In some cases people may even approach you for a kitten with the intention of killing it to be used as snake food, or to be used as a bait animal (to train fighting dogs), or to resell it to a research lab.
If you do plan to give them away to strangers be sure to ask people questions about how they intend to care for the cat. If they do not seem like they will be responsible owners you do have the right to turn them away.
Note that kittens given to farms do not often survive their first year, and that anyone you give a kitten to should be instructed to keep it indoors only until it is old enough to be spayed or neutered. If somebody is looking for an “outdoor only” cat, then suggest your kittens may not be a good choice for them.
Have a Small Rehoming Fee
Sometimes you can discourage bad owners from taking your kittens by having a small rehoming fee. This should not be more than $5 unless you have actually had the kittens checked by a veterinarian, wormed, and vaccinated. If you have had these medical things done you can “sell” the kittens for the price of all the medical, however it can be pretty tough to sell kittens unless they are a special breed or unique color.
Surrendering the Kittens to an Animal Shelter
In many areas there are places you can take unwanted pets. These are animal shelters, and may be known by different names such as The Humane Society, or SPCA. In some areas there are also smaller rescue groups.
These shelters genuinely care for animals and will provide them the best care and try to find them new homes. They can screen potential owners to reduce the chances of the kittens going to bad homes. The only concern being that some shelters have more kittens (and cats) than they can find homes for, so when over burdened with animals some shelters do humanely euthanize excess animals (the ones that are the least adoptable). As such, unless you can find a no-kill shelter, you are taking a chance, however kittens are often very adoptable and most do find new homes.
As much as it may seem like a risk, taking your kittens to an animal shelter is probably the best option, as other avenues do not guarantee the kittens will find good homes.
If your kittens are under six weeks of age and you cannot keep them then surrendering them to the animal shelter is their best hope as they may need special care, even bottle feeding. In cases where you have very young kittens call the animal shelters first as typically the shelter would want to arrange a foster home for these kittens.
Please keep the mother cat indoors only until she can be spayed to prevent problems in the future with more unwanted litters of kittens.
Always provide the new owner with a small bag of dry kitten food so they can mix it with whatever food they will be feeding it.