Cats are one of the two most popular pets worldwide, and it comes as no surprise as our adorable felines have been a part of human societies for about 10,000 years. It is believed that in Ancient Egypt, when a house cat passed away, the owner would have their eyebrows shaved to reflect their loss and grief. This goes to show that kittens are a big deal. Equally so, it becomes a heartbreaking moment when you find an abandoned cat or worse kitten. Instinctively, most people want to carry it and take it home. That’s the right and humanly thing to do after all. Since that is so, this article looks at exactly what to do if you find a stray kitten.
What Do With Stray Kittens
Saving and helping kittens with no mother is risky yet rewarding. Just like a sleuth, you should do some prior detective work before you decide to move the kitten. Carefully assess to determine if the stray kitten has a mother. If the mother is around, she may perceive you as a threat and attack you; hence this is necessary.
Nonetheless, kittens are adorable, and no one can blame you for wanting to take it home when you find it all alone. Despite your good intentions, there may be the possibility that you are taking the kitten away from a competent natural caregiver, its mother. To be sure of the presence or absence of a mother, here are a few things to look out for:
- Are they sleeping comfortably?
- Are they clean?
- In the event you find a litter, multiple checks are needed. If, after multiple checks, you notice there is a reduction in number, the mum is relocating them.
- For certainty, pour flour around the area you find the kitten and check for paw prints.
If after some careful detective work should show that the stray has no mother, and you can know this immediately if you find them in a squalling for a while, or they are dirty, then you should now that their survival depends on you. To keep them alive, here are some actions you should take:
- Contact a vet: There are situations where the kitten would be found injured or in obvious pain. The vet is the best person to deal with such a case unless, of course, you are a vet.
- Contact an animal shelter, rescue organization, or local law enforcement: You may find the stray and not be a position to take it in, that is fine. Just find the appropriate place or people who can care for it in states where the abandonment of domestic animals is illegal. The local enforcement agencies may be able to find the owner.
- Adopt either temporarily or permanently: You can take the abandoned kitten in and give it right home. Place kitty in a dog crate and ensure maximum warmth by adding a closed heating pad in the box. Maintain a temperature of 75 degrees. Ensure that your heating pad is placed on only half of your box so he can move when it gets too warm. Be on the watch for labored breathing – a telltale sign of overheating. If after all these the kitten is cold or possibly limp then call emergency vet services.
What To Feed A Stray
What to feed a stray kitten is a problem for most people. For cats, age and weight usually determine nutritional requirements and the frequency. Because of this, you should weigh them to get a rough estimate. Below is a guide to assessing age.
- One week and below: Kittens weigh under 4 ounces. Give formula every 2-3 hours.
- For 7-10 days old: Kitten’s weight will be between 4-6 ounces. Provide formula every 2-3 hours.
- For 10-14 day old kittens: Weights are between 6-8 ounces. Give formula after every 3 hours.
- For 14-21 day old kittens: Their weights are around 8-12 ounces. Give them formula every 4 hours.
- For 4-5 week old kitties: kittens should weigh between 12 ounces – 1lb. They require a mix of gruel/formula/kitten kibble after every 4 hours.
- For those 6-7 week old kittens: weights are between 1lb-1.8lb. Give a mix of wet food and kitten kibble up to 4 times daily.
- Two months old: kitten weighs 1.5-2 pounds. They are fully weaned and can be fed cat solid canned food or kibble for up to 4 times a day.
Related Post: Dry Cat Food
Stray Kitten Care
To further enhance the kitten care experience, here a few tips on stray kitten care:
Litter box: This is the personal space for the cat, and it is essential to give your new puss this necessary luxury. You can fill it with non-clumping litter.
Related Post: Cat Litter Box
Kitten socialization: The stray must learn social habits, with other cats and humans. Ideally, this is suitable after 12 weeks it’s likely to want to play around with objects more and less with you. When choosing kitten toys, do well to go for those without strings or small pieces as they can be swallowed. It is also essential to expose the cat to different situations, which, over time, will become a norm.
Baths: Instinctively, cats clean themselves. Yet you can help by wiping gently with a damp washrag. Their rear-ends are also a place that needs cleaning. It is said to help build a bond as you are acting in the role of “mother.” Unless it is filthy, foul-smelling, or in need of a flea bath, it doesn’t need excessive bathing.
Veterinary care: Cat deworming is something that you would have to get the stray to do. Tests for diseases like FIV or Feline Leukemia would be needed too. Vaccinations are an absolute must. These are to reduce the chances of spreading any diseases or infections and also keep the cat healthy.
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Find it a home: After about eight weeks, your stray friend is ready to be in a home with a family. Before doing this, ensure the cat is spayed or is going to a home that will neuter it. There are websites and agencies specialized for this task, so check them out. You can also choose to adopt it.
Cats are neat, friendly, and easygoing animals. If you are wondering what to do with stray kittens, or you find a kitten in trouble, then this article is your safe guide on exactly how to care for a stray kitten. This is not an easy task, but with these, you can give them that tender love and care. It would be nice to nurse them back to full health. In the end, you would have done a necessary good deed. You would also have gotten you, your family, or other families a loyal and loving friend in the cat that you saved. Who knows, next time, it might be you or your cat.
- Outdoor cats FAQ, The Humane Society
- I Found Kittens Outside, What Do I Do?, The ASPCA
- Found a Stray Dog or Cat: What to Do, Best Friends Animal Society