How To Care for a Lost or Stray Kitten?
Perhaps a faint meowing tantalizes your ears in the midst of steady rain. Like a magnetic force, the meowing draws you near. Soon you find it, a tiny soggy kitten. Without thinking, you bundle the kitten inside your jacket. Then you take it inside and . . . what next?
In a world where stray animals are all too common, finding a kitten is not an unusual circumstance. Thankfully many people are more than willing to care for a lost or stray kitten, yet they do not realize that a very young cat has different needs than an adult, along with a different temperament. Caring for a young kitten is not difficult, but there are some simple steps to follow:
First, the kitten should be toweled dry if it is wet and cold. If the kitten is very dirty, a warm bath is in order. Again, dry the kitten thoroughly afterward.
Once the kitten is clean and dry, serve him or her a little bowl of cat food. If the kitten won’t eat the cat food, he or she is probably still feeding from the mother. Do not be discouraged; providing a diet for this very young kitten is possible with little effort. Make a trip to the local pet store and purchase cereal, canned kitten food, a kitten nursing bottle, and formula. Kitten formula can be bought in liquid or powder form. Also, purchase cat litter if you do not have any.
The key is to get some nourishment into the kitten as soon as possible. Feed the kitten formula in the bottle or with an eyedropper. The kitten may resist the formula initially. Continue to offer the formula until the kitten accepts it, then repeat the procedure every two hours.
Do not feed the kitten milk. Cow’s milk can upset the digestive system of young kittens
After the kitten is fed, introduce him or her to a litter box. With a little coaxing, the kitten will soon get the idea. Keep the litter box in one place so that the kitten will remember where it is.
Once the bottle feeding routine is established, transfer the kitten formula into a small bowl. Again, with some coaxing the kitten will get the idea. Putting some of the formula on the kitten’s mouth will help teach it to eat from the bowl.
Within a few days, start the kitten on kitten cereal. Mix this with the formula, keeping it highly diluted at first. Gradually increase the proportion of cereal to formula, creating a thicker consistency. As soon as the kitten seems to desire a more substantial food, mix a little-canned food into the cereal blend. If that doesn’t entice him or her, mix the canned food with formula, keeping it diluted at first. Gradually increase the kitten food until the kitten is totally on solid food. Within the next couple of weeks, move from kitten food to regular cat food.
Somewhere in this busy schedule, be sure to take the kitten to the veterinarian. If this would be too costly for you, the local humane society may provide checkups at a reduced cost.
Caring for a stray kitten is a relatively simple procedure. You will be repaid for these efforts when the kitten grows into a healthy and loving best friend.