I promised I was going to write this yesterday, but I failed to realise that all the librarians had gone on strike too, and so couldn't get at a computer! (Power to the people, anyway!)
In a way I'm grateful for the delay, as it's given me time to think. Initially, I was going to write the standard, 'cats are often abandoned and this is bad' thing - but that's been done to death! Instead I thought I'd write a small piece on how to care for said cats if and when you find some...
We've lived in our flat for about four years now, and in that time we've had eight cats dumped on us. (Two litters, four kittens each... sounds less dramatic that way - but hey!) The first litter were split in half. We took two in, and our neighbour took in the other two. The two we had were pretty sick initially (and the two we didn't take in eventually got dumped again later on anyway. So we also ended up with those two cats). The frist two kittens were eight weeks old, had severe worms, fleas, weren't completely weaned for some reason, and were under-nourished.
The first step (obviously) is to obtain a litter tray, some litter, and some cat food. Irrespective of whether or not you intend to keep the kittens long-term, I'd recommend getting these things at the very least! I'd also suggest you buy some Lactol - this is basically follow-on milk for cats. It contains a good mixture of nutrients and settles a kitten's stomach really well! You can buy this stuff from most supermarkets and petshops.
I would recommend calling the RSPCA and Cat Protection League as soon as possible - if merely to inform them of the fact that you've found some kittens or a cat. A cat might well be microchipped - so I'd take the cat straight to your local vet so they can scan for any ID! Here is my only caveat - Don't be surprised if the RSCPA, vets and cat rescue people tell you that they cannot take the cats/kittens off your hands. They're usually over-run with strays and abandoned cat, and sometimes simply don't have the resources to take any more in. You might well have to care and re-home the little critters yourself!
So, take them to your local vets. If they are micro-chipped, then the vets will usually take them off your hands and set about reuniting them with their owners. HowEver, if not, you'll probably have to take them home again.
The first two kittens we had needed treated for their fleas and worms, and we also had their first round of vaccinations done. In addition to the standard medical stuff, the vet can also begin to spread the word that you have kittens that need re-homing, and if needs be, they might well know of an independant re-homing centre or foster care network that can take the kittens off your hands.
If you can get them moved on, great! If not, you might have some little furry guests for a while! Don't panic! Kittens are pretty easy to look after once they're healthy. They need food, the litter cleaning out, and some supervision (the second litter of kittens we had used to climb the curtains on occasion!). But other than that, they're pretty low maintanance. They're also fun and desperately cute! I coped with eight cats and I'm severely allergic to them, so it can be done! Just don't let the kittens outside until they're fully vaccinated!
When trying to rehome your kittens, ask everyone! Put notices up at your local vets, let your friends, family and colleagues know and ask them to spread the word. I would recommend that you don't give the kittens away for free. A willingness to invest money in a pet from the very beginning shows the prospective owner's dedication to caring for their pet. We asked for £30 per kitten. You don't have to ask that much, but we were also caring for the mother cat, and were putting the money toward having her spayed.
I suppose that leads to the last piece of advice. Always make sure the prospective owners you find for your stray cats are willing to have them neutered and vaccinated. Otherwise you just end up with more homeless kittens!
So that's it! Hope it helps! Just remember, if you do find any stray cats/kittens contact the RSPCA and your local vets as soon as possible, they offer better advice than me at the end of the day!