It is that time of year again. Kittens galore. Many people are finding the stray cats with 3-5 kittens or hearing the kittens cry. As humans we want to help and make sure they are healthy, happy and find a good home, while in turn it may not be the best thing for these kittens.

Seeing kitten around your home you may be tempted to take them inside, you may be wanting to have some cuddle time but is this the best thing for the kittens?

If you do find a few kittens around your home, making sure they are abandoned is extremely important.

Mother cats may have to leave kittens to hunt for food.

How do you know if the kittens are actually abandoned? Is the mom just hunting for food or is she currently moving the kittens.

The only way to truthfully determine if the mom is still around, is to watch. If the mother returns the kittens have the best chance of survival if they stay with mom until weaned. To help these kittens while they are being cared for by their mothering you can provide the mother with food and water to make it so she does not have to leave the kittens to search for nutrients.

If you don’t see the mother around, some questions to ask is are they sleeping and calm? Typically, kittens that are resting comfortably are not abandoned and mom will come back.

How do you know if a kitten is ready to be weaned?

Depending on the age, at around 3 weeks you can start to wean kittens to a wet kitten food. Kittens will have their eyes open between 2-3 weeks and start to take tentative steps.

If there is no mother around then the best way for them to survive is with humans to care for them. Getting a kitten from outside can be easy as just picking them up all the way to having a rescue come in to trap them.

How much and how often should you feed the kittens?

You have to make sure you age the kittens appropriately. If you are having trouble aging them, your veterinarian will be able to help.

  • Under 1 week: Feed formula (Kitten Milk Replacer) every 2-3 hours
  • 1-2 weeks: Feed formula every 3 hours
  • 2-3 weeks: Feed formula every 4 hours
  • 4-5 weeks: Feed a mix of formula and wet kitten food every 4 hours
  • 6-7 weeks: Feed a mix of kitten kibble and wet 4 times a day
  • 8 weeks: At this point the kittens should be fully weaned onto kitten food, either wet or dry.

Once the kittens are 8 weeks of age, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for their first check up and vaccination.

Helping the kittens go to the bathroom

  • Take a warm wash cloth and stimulate the anal region so the kitten can poop. Typically after feeding the mother will give the kittens a tongue bath. The warm wash cloth is mimicking the mother’s tongue.
  • After wiping them own then you want to make sure they are dry.
  • If you are having trouble getting our kitten to go to the bathroom then taking them to a veterinarian is important.

Taking care of abandoned kittens can be a lot of work. If you have questions your veterinarian is the best person to get them answered.