How To Care For Abandoned Kittens
If you find an abandoned kitten, you may need to ask yourself a few questions about the pet’s health before you feed or take care of him or her. If the kitten appears to be in bad shape or requires medical attention, you may want to bring him or her to a Banfield Pet Hospital for a thorough examination and care recommendations.
Depending on the age and health, you can care for the cat by feeding him or her kitten food or providing kitten milk replacer. You should not, under any circumstances feed cow’s milk to a kitten. The actual type of food will depend on how old the kitten is and his or her state of health. Follow the tips outlined below to ensure that the kitten is properly cared for:
Visit a vet.
A veterinary examination can help determine the kitten's age, exact care needs or any health problems. If the kitten can eat and drink well on its own, he or she may need only routine kitten care (safe environment, kitten food, water, toys, bed, litter box, veterinary care, etc.).
Be a replacement mother.
If the kitten is too small to eat and drink independently, or hasn’t opened his or her eyes yet, you will have to lend a helping hand. Extremely young kittens need to be fed kitten milk replacer as often as every 2-4 hours, depending on age.
Create a comfortable environment.
The kitten may require a safe heat source, such as a heating pad or an enclosed nest area, like a box. If a heating pad is used, be careful not to place the kitten directly on the heating pad and be sure to follow all the manufacturers' safety instructions. Either place a heating pad under the box or put a towel on the pad, and only heat about 1/2 of the nest area on a low setting. Kittens can regulate their body temperature better if allowed to move between warmer and cooler (room temperature) spots in the nest.
Extremely young kittens cannot pass stool and urine by themselves. You may need to gently rub his or her genital area with moist, warm cotton balls or a very soft moist cloth. This will help the pet pass bodily wastes. This should be done every time you feed the kitten. Any stool or urine MUST be gently, but completely, cleaned off your skin to avoid potentially severe skin rashes and even blistering.
To make sure you know the kitten’s specific care needs, you can visit a Banfield veterinarian in your neighborhood.
To read more on how to feed a sick cat, or other tips on nutrition for young pets, you can explore our Pet Health library or read some of the links below.