It’s springtime, and you see a ball of colorful fuzz in the bushes by your home. You get closer, wondering what it could be. It’s a tiny kitten! First, leave her be and monitor the area from a distance to see if a mama cat comes. If no mama cat arrives, you need to determine some information about the kitten.
Call an agency like the Connecticut Humane Society, or, if you plan to care for and keep the kitten, learn about her unique needs.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A KITTEN – Start with estimating their age by:
- Their eyes. A cat’s eyes typically open around 10 days old. Their eyes are also blue at first, but often change to another color at six weeks old.
- Their teeth. They’re usually noticeable when kitty is three weeks old.
- Their weight. (A food scale or baby scale can be helpful!) They gain about one pound per month.
- Their mobility. At two to three weeks, kittens are wobbly. At four to five weeks, they’re steady when walking.
If the kitten seems ill (if she has goopy eyes, a drippy nose, fleas or injuries, or is limp, for example), bring her right to a veterinarian. If she’s stable, make an appointment for a routine exam.
If she seems stable but cold, gradually warm her up. (Do not feed her until she is warm!)
- HOW TO WARM A KITTEN – Wrap her in a towel or blanket. Consider using a microwaveable heat disc, but test it on yourself first to ensure it is an appropriate temperature. Ensure the heat disc does not take up her entire cage or area.
If the kitten is four to six weeks old, give her food in a very shallow bowl, plate or jar lid. If she seems younger, she will need to be bottle fed with special kitten formula.
- HOW TO BOTTLE-FEED A KITTEN – Do not lay the kitten on her back like a human baby. Put her in an upright position, or with all four paws on the floor or your lap (in a tummy-down position, the same as if she was nursing from mom).
Kittens can’t go to the bathroom on their own until two to three weeks and need help with a cotton ball, gauze, or paper towel that’s been dampened with warm water after eating.
Don’t let the kitten interact with any other animals you may have.