How to Care for a Stray Kitten

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Caring for stray kittens requires careful handling, feeding and adapting to a new environment. You must determine the kitten's age, observe and monitor for health issues and prepare the kitten for a domestic life. You also must prepare your home for the new kitten.

Handling the Kitten

Approach the stray kitten slowly and look around the area for the mother. Do not approach the kitten if the mother is visible. She will protect her young and create a potentially dangerous situation for you. Observe the kitten for a few hours to make sure the mother isn't away hunting for food. If the kitten is obviously abandoned, pick her up behind the neck and support the bottom with your free hand. Place the kitten in a secure carrying cage with a blanket for comfort. Transport the kitten to your home.

Warning

  • Isolate the kitten from other cats in your home until your vet says she is disease free and safe to make contact with your other feline friends.

Veterinarian Trip

Take the kitten to the veterinarian at your earliest convenience. A vet trip will determine the general health of your kitten along with any diseases and issues that you must address. The vet will assist with determining the age, administering vaccinations and ensuring the kitten is healthy and prepared for a new life.

Determine the Age

Observe the kitten closely to determine her age. If the eyes are closed and the ears are drooping, the kitten is less than 2 weeks old. If the eyes are open but mobility is limited, she is 2 to 3 weeks old. Open eyes with mobility means she is passing the four-week mark. Increased mobility and agility places the kitten closer to the two-month mark. Kittens younger than a month will require bottle feeding with kitten formula. Kittens older than a month will eat wet food on a regular schedule.

Basic Care

Keep the young kitten in an open box or crate with a blanket, heating pad and access to water. Provide food several times daily to maintain the health of your kitten. Provide a litter box. Eventually, she will outgrow her temporary home and begin using the litter box on her own. When she is eating regularly and using the litter box, she is a domestic kitten. Pet and play with her daily to socialize her. Have her spayed to prevent her from breeding and creating a new litter of stray kittens.

Rehoming the Kitten

If you cannot keep the kitten, consider rehoming her after she is developed and in good health. Wait until she's about a month old when she gains mobility and begins eating wet food. If you do not want to care for her, take her to a no-kill shelter where she can develop under professional care and find a new forever home.

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