Friday, February 19, 2010

What Should You Do If You Find An Abandoned Kitten

You should never assume that kittens have been abandoned by their mother just because you can’t see her right then and there. Mother cats often leave the nest to hunt for food. They also move their nest frequently and might be in the process of moving from one place to another. Feral mothers are often afraid of humans and will not come around if people are present. If you come across a litter of kittens, you should keep an eye on the nest for a few hours to make sure that mom is not coming back. The same is true if you find one kitten – make sure that mom isn’t moving more kittens into that space.

If you find a kitten that has truly been abandoned, the first thing that you should do is to get him somewhere warm and safe. If you cannot care for him yourself, you can call a local animal rescue and see if they have room to take him in. Rescues get many calls every day asking for help and they may not have the resources to take in every orphaned kitten. If rescues cannot take him in, then your next option would be your local animal control. Do not assume that they will be automatically euthanized upon intake. Many animal control agencies work very closely with rescues that have resources for orphaned kitties. Some animal control agencies might have a lactating mother cat that might be willing to take on an additional kitten. Never leave an orphaned kitten to die outside hungry and cold.

If you can care for the kitten yourself you will need to create a warm, cozy place that is away from other pets. He will also need a litter box with non-clumping litter. The kitten will also need age appropriate food. If the kitten is very young, it will need to be bottle fed with KMR (kitten meal replacement) – sold at most pet stores, along with bottles. Never give kittens cow’s milk. If the kitten does need to be bottle fed, he will need to eat every 2-4 hours around the clock. If the kitten is a bit older and can lap from a dish, you can mix KMR and kitten wet food and make a very soupy mixture. Kittens at this age will still need to eat every 4 hours. Kittens between 6-8 weeks old can usually eat dry kitten food with wet food being weaned off gradually.

Once the kitten is around eight weeks old, he can be placed up for adoption. Before that happens, make sure that you get him neutered so that you aren’t faced with the same problem all over again next year! But, since different vets recommend surgery at different ages/weights, make sure that you follow their advice and have them fixed at the appropriate time. Many veterinarians will offer low cost neuters for rescue kitties. If you can’t find a vet who offers low cost surgery options, call your local animal control and see if have services for low cost spay/neuter.