One strategy is to use whatever repellent you want, but, if it harmful to cats, thoroughly shower and wash your hair and change into uncontaminated clothes after your trip and before you get home. Wash the contaminated clothes at a friend's house or at a Laundromat, put them in an uncontaminated bag and throw the contaminated bag away. That is, take no contaminated clothing, skin, hair or other objects home.
This is a lot of trouble -- true, but these are kittens and worth a lot of trouble. My only reservation -- will you do this as fanatically as necessary for the kittens? ab2, aka cat lover
Edit in Response to Comment from @Wigwam: OOPS! You need to check out how easily the skeeter repellent washes out. "This is good advice, but know that you can't easily wash permethrin out of clothes. When professionally treating clothes, permethrin can survive dozens of washings. But if you DIY from a bottle you buy at Wal-Mart, that can survive 5 or 6 washings."