stray kittens in a basket
(Photo credit: Konstantin Voronov / Getty Images)

What to Do if You Find Stray Kittens

stray kittens in a basket
(Photo credit: Konstantin Voronov / Getty Images)

Discovering a litter of stray kittens can be both exciting and concerning. These adorable little bundles of fur may appear helpless and in need of immediate care, but it’s important to approach the situation with caution and empathy. In this guide, we will provide you with essential steps to take if you find stray kittens, ensuring their safety and well-being until they can receive proper care.

Do not separate kittens from their mother

One of the most crucial things to remember when encountering stray kittens is to avoid separating them from their mother. Kittens have the best chance of survival when with their mother during their early weeks of life. The mother provides nourishment, warmth, and socialization. Observe from a distance and determine whether the mother is around before taking further action. If the kittens appear safe and healthy, keep your distance and continue to check on the litter every few hours to see if the mother returns.

Keep kittens warm

If the kittens appear to be orphaned or abandoned, it’s crucial to keep them warm, as their body temperature is essential for survival. According to the Animal Humane Society (AHS), kittens under 4 weeks old can’t regulate their body temp. Hold kittens close to your body to help them warm up. Then, provide a soft, warm blanket or towel for them to nestle in. Consider creating a makeshift nest using a cardboard box lined with blankets to help maintain their body heat and prevent hypothermia. If any of the kittens are unresponsive, AHS recommends “rubbing some Karo syrup or sugar water on their gums to raise blood sugar and revive them.”

Feed them kitten formula

Kittens rely on their mother’s milk for proper nutrition during their initial weeks. If the mother is absent or unable to nurse, you will need to feed the kittens kitten formula, which is available at most pet stores or veterinary clinics. Ensure you use a kitten-specific formula, as their nutritional needs differ from those of adult cats. Follow the instructions on the packaging for proper preparation and feeding intervals. Feeding bottles or syringes may be necessary, depending on the age and condition of the kittens. Do not feed kittens cow’s milk.

Call your local rescue or shelter

As soon as the kittens are safe and stabilized, contact your local animal rescue organization or animal shelter for assistance. These organizations can ensure that stray kittens receive the proper care they need. They have the resources and expertise to provide the necessary medical care and socialization kittens need. Also, they will help find forever homes for the fur babies. Be prepared to provide them with accurate information about the kittens’ condition, age, and any observations you’ve made.

Giving stray kittens a second chance

Discovering stray kittens can be an emotional experience, but it’s important to approach the situation responsibly. Remember not to separate kittens from their mother prematurely and provide them with warmth and nourishment if the mother is absent. Reach out to your local rescue or shelter as soon as possible for guidance. Do not attempt to foster the kittens by yourself or give them away to family or friends, or sell them to random people on the internet.

By following the above steps, you’ll facilitate the well-being and happiness of stray kittens. Let’s give all kittens the chance they deserve to grow into healthy and loved adult cats!

Considering adopting kittens? Learn about why you should adopt kittens in pairs, if possible.

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