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The weather is getting warmer, and you step outside to enjoy your morning coffee. While looking out you notice there is something small and fuzzy moving on the grass…Where did this kitten come from!? Why is there a kitten in my yard alone?! What can I do to help it?!
Initially keep your distance and observe the kitten or kittens as long as they are not in immediate danger. (If other animals are present or they are in an unsafe location such as a busy road, these are kittens that need your immediate help!) Often the mother may be in the process of relocating the kittens or is currently searching for food and will return soon. If they are in a safe location monitor for several hours to see if mom returns to retrieve her babies. If the mother cat does not return or the kittens appear dirty, sickly, or in danger this is your cue to intervene and assist!
If mom did not return and the kittens are now in your care, welcome to being a kitten foster! We understand not everyone has the time and financial resources to provide around the clock care for neonatal kittens so if this is the case contacting local rescues or animal shelters in your area to locate a foster would be the next step.
If you are able to care for the kitten/kittens addressing their immediate needs will be the first priority. If you are unsure if the kittens are injured or require medical care having them assessed by your veterinarian can be a good starting point. After the kittens have been checked over and given a clean bill of health selecting a kitten milk replacer and setting up their temporary home in your home can take place!
Orphaned kittens must have a kitten milk replacer. That means NO cows milk, NO human baby formula, and NO homemade concoction, but a specially formulated kitten milk replacer made to meet the nutritional requirements that kittens have. There is no suitable alternative meal for newborn kittens, if they do not have mom then a high-quality kitten milk replacer is a must!
Setting up the right environment is a critical step in providing care for kittens. Kittens less than 3 weeks of age cannot control their own body temperature so providing supplemental warmth is a must! If you use a large open top box or container, we recommend placing a heating pad on one side so this can allow the kittens to seek out the warmth when needed but also have an area that is not heated. Be sure that you place plenty layers of towels or blankets between the kittens and heating pad (NEVER place a kitten directly on a heating pad).
This is a very brief overview of kitten needs/becoming kitten foster, if you would like to learn more about bottle feeding and kitten care be sure to visit www.petag.com and view our educational videos for a more in-depth learning experience! By becoming a kitten foster you can make a difference, not only saving a life but helping turn an orphaned kitten into someone’s lifelong companion and family member!