Do you hear some faint meowing in the bushes nearby? Think you might have found a kitten or a litter of kittens that had been left behind? Well, most of the time, mom cat isn’t too far away and hasn’t really left her babies behind. Here are some ideas for the next step you should take.
Do not disturb the kittens
First, you should watch from a distance for a few hours to see if mom is coming back to the nest. The cat’s mother could be out looking for food, taking a break, or even trying to hide from you. If you see kittens without their mother, you should wait a few hours before trying to save them. The kittens are more likely to live if they stay with their mother. If mom comes back, the best thing you can do is give her fresh food and water. You shouldn’t check on them more than once a day so you don’t upset the nest.
Friendly mom returns
If you can, bring the mom and kittens inside and keep them away from your other pets. Give them a nice place to sleep, a clean litter box, clean water, and food. Kittens can be weaned when they are about 4 to 6 weeks old and can eat solid foods. At 4 weeks, give them wet food mixed with water. When the kittens are no longer dependent on their mother, the mother should be spayed and either given to a new home or set free outside. Around 8 to 10 weeks old, the kittens should be fixed and given to new homes. When the kittens are 5 weeks old, handle them often to help them get used to people. Talk to a vet right away if the kittens or mom show any signs of being sick, hurt, or in pain.
Feral mom returns, do not fear
Leave the family alone and give them food, water, and a place to stay. Do not worry, the mother will probably move the kittens. If she knows this is a safe place where there is always food, she will come back with them. When the kittens are old enough to eat on their own, they should be taken away from their mother (about 4-5 weeks old). Handle them a lot when you bring them inside to get them used to people. Around 8 to 10 weeks old, the kittens should be fixed and given to new homes. If you can’t take care of the kittens and get them used to people, leave them outside. If you can’t find a home for a kitten, don’t socialize it. It will learn how to survive from its mother, which will give it the best chance of making it as a feral cat.
It’s been a few hours, and no mom is in sight.
The kittens look like they were left on their own. What can you do to help?
Once the babies are taken out, they need to be kept at the right body temperature. Make a nest for the kittens in a box by putting clean, soft towels and warm water bottles inside. Keep them out of draughts and away from damp places. For the first two weeks of their lives, they need a room that stays close to 90 degrees. After that, the temperature can be dropped to 80 degrees. Kittens who haven’t been weaned yet need care and attention around the clock.
The kittens will need to be fed milk replacer through a bottle every two to three hours, even through the night, and kept warm and dry.
- From 1 to 4 weeks old, kitten formula will need to be fed through a bottle.
- When they are 5 weeks old or older, you can give them canned food for KITTENS ONLY, but they may still need to be fed with a bottle. Food in a can must be smooth and creamy, with no big chunks. Please look in the pet store for the best-canned kitten food you can find.
- If you, a neighbor, friend, or family member can take on this responsibility, you can give these abandoned kittens a chance at life. If you can’t do it because of your schedule, there may be other ways to get help. Be aware that most local shelters don’t have enough people to feed kittens all day and night, and that these kittens have a very high death rate.
Pet retailers sell milk replacement (kitten formula) and breastfeeding kits. Follow the package instructions for cleaning and preparing bottles, nipples, and milk replacement. Never directly heat liquid. Warm the bottle in hot water and test it on your wrist. Handle kitten food and formula with clean hands. Never feed standing kittens. Gently pull their chins off their tummies. Rub the nipple over the kitten’s lips and gums until it tastes the formula. Tilt the bottle so the cat doesn’t breathe air. Initially, you may require an eye dropper. Fill the bottle every third meal. When full, most kittens cease feeding. Don’t force-feed or feed too rapidly. Formula-fed kittens burp. Lie them down on your lap or shoulder and pat their backs softly.
Read More: Why Cats Make Good Companions
On the label of the bottle of kitten formula you bought, it should say how much a kitten should eat based on its weight. If a kitten is crying, it’s because she’s either cold or hungry. A happy kitten sleeps peacefully. YOU CAN’T MISS A FEEDING WITH NEWBORN KITTENS!
Up to one-week-old babies should be fed every two hours, day and night (YES, you need to wake up at night)
- 1–2 weeks old: Feed every 3–4 hours during the day and night.
- When they are 3 weeks old, they should be fed every 4 to 5 hours, day and night.
- 4 weeks old: feed every 5 to 6 hours during the day and night
- If a baby kitten isn’t fed on time, it can go into hypoglycemic shock and die. You MUST feed the kitten at the right time and all night long.
- When the kitten is about four weeks old, you can start to wean it by mixing a good canned kitten food with KMR or Just Born Formula. Start by putting in just 1/2 teaspoon and warming it up. For this, you will need another baby bottle, and you will need to make a BIGGER hole in the bottle so that the thicker formula can come out. Remember that it must slowly flow out of the bottle when it is turned upside down. Sometimes the formula gets stuck in the nipple, so make sure to stir the formula well before putting it in the bottle and shake the bottle often.
- After about 4 to 5 weeks, the kittens should be ready to be weaned. At this point, you can give them high-quality canned kitten food in a very flat or shallow dish.
- Make sure that they always have clean water to drink. At this point, they should also be able to use the litter box. Only use clay as a litter. Do not use clumping litter or litter that needs to be scooped for kittens. If they lick it off, it will get in their paws and make them sick.
- Once the kittens are 8–10 weeks old and have had ALL of the recommended medical care and have been spayed or neutered, they are ready to be adopted.
Kittens need to be prompted to go to the bathroom until they are about 3 weeks old and can do it on their own. Put some warm water on a cotton ball and rub the anal and genital areas gently. In one to two minutes, they will start to move. Doing this after every meal is very important. Urine should be clear or pale yellow. Depending on how dark it is, the kitten might need more formula. The stool should be anywhere from light brown to dark brown and only partly formed. If a baby’s poop is too hard, it means they aren’t getting enough water or formula.
If the kitten needs more formula, you should feed it more often instead of giving it more at each meal. When you eat too much, you get bloated, you get gas, you throw up, and sometimes you breathe food into your lungs. Diarrhea can be caused by a change in diet, drinking too much formula, or having a parasite in the intestines. If your poop is green, you have an infection. We don’t think that animals should be given medicine or treated for parasites (like deworming or antibiotics) without a veterinary diagnosis and instructions. If you think your pet has an intestinal problem, you should take them to a vet. Very quickly, kittens can become dehydrated or sick, which can kill them. After each feeding, you should clean their faces and behinds.
Supplies you will need for newborns and young kittens:
- Formulas for kittens like Just Born or KMR (found at local pet stores). If you don’t know what to do, use the liquid formula.
- Using bottles and a few nipples to feed (found at pet stores with kitten formula).
- If the kitten won’t eat from the bottle, use an eye dropper or syringe (without a needle).
- Several bath towels for kittens to sleep on and to clean them.
- Kittens are weighed on a food scale in the kitchen (optional).
- Digital thermometer for the groin (kittens that are 2 weeks old have a normal temperature between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit – newborns are about 97 degrees.)
- Have the number of an emergency vet or veterinary clinic handy.
Try to verify the age of the kittens.
This is important because if you want to socialize a kitten, you don’t want to take it away from its mother while it’s still nursing or leave it with a feral mother for too long.
- Under one week: Eyes are closed, ears are flat against the head, and the skin is pink. There may still be a piece of the umbilical cord.
- 1 week to 10 days: The eyes start to open, but the ears are still flat. At this age, a kitten is about the size of your hand.
At 3 weeks, the eyes are fully open, the ears are standing up, and the teeth are visible.Kittens are still learning to walk at this age, so they will be very unsteady.
- 4-5 weeks: The kittens’ eyes have changed from blue to another color, and/or they have started to jump, pounce, and move around more. At this age, kittens will start to eat gruel or food from a can.
Read More: Top 7 Cat Needs
Adopting out the kittens.
The last part. Socializing them well is the most important part of the process, so teach them to trust and like people as soon as you can! Please spay and neuter them before you give them away. Kittens can be fixed as early as 8–10 weeks old. This will make them more appealing to adopters and stop this cycle from starting over. Once they are fixed, do a lot of advertising! Use social networking sites, tell friends, family, coworkers, and other people you know, and get them adopted as soon as possible. It will be harder to find homes for the kittens as they get older.