Hello all. This morning on my way to work, there was a tiny, tiny kitten on the median in the road so I stopped to rescue it. It is very little, but seems healthy. Not sure how old it is, it is in the crawling stage but its eyes are open and it has lots of fur. Right now it is in a box with a towel and a tiny water dish. I know it needs some milk but I’m at a loss as to how to take care of the little fella. I was thinking trying to feed it with an eye dropper or something. Does anyone have any suggestions??? I want to take care of it the best I can!
Take him/her to the vet TODAY! It could mean saving that kitty’s life. He may have lots of health problems from being on the streets, or he might be microchipped and have just gotten out of somebody’s yard. Someone might be looking painfully for that cute thing, then again, if no one shows, you might just have a new best friend.
So take him to the vet, get him checked for mircrochipping or see if someone’s searching for him. Get him a good check up, any shots he might need. Then the vet will tell you how best to feed him until owners show up, or if he has no owners, how to best care for your new best friend.
**Take him to the vest ASAP! **
Has it peed/pooped? I ask because if it’s really small you may have to help it poop - they don’t do it on their own.
Go to a pet store and get some infant animal milk. We warmed ours and gave it to the kitties with a dropper. If the kitty is big enough to lap, offer the milk warm in a little tupperware lid or something. (real little lid - very shallow).
If the kitty hasn’t pooped for you, take a warm wet washcloth and massage his bum until he does poop - newborns usually need their moms to lick them there to stimulate those muscles. Without doing this the kitty could die (I know because we accidentally lost a few this way until we realized we had to “poop” them.)
Don’t feed the kitty cow’s milk. Definitely find a pet store that carries pet formulas…
The poor little dear!!
Sounds like it’s very young if it’s not pouncing around and is only crawling like you said.
Young kittens need to be fed frequently. You can get the pet milk and tiny bottle from just about any pet store like PetSmart or Petco. Places like Tractor Supply Co. and Southern States may have these products, too.
Ditto to the pooping thing. Gross, I know.
If there is no petstore in your area (I would have to travel an hour to get to one…:shrug: ) I have seen kitten milk and supplies at Wal Mart. Ask St Francis (patron saint of animals) to pray for your new little furry buddy! Good luck!!!
Thank you so much for all your responses. It’s been sleeping and is now moving around some more. We’ve got an appointment at our vet’s in the morning at 8:15 to get the little guy checked out. DH is going to take him. We are getting some kitten formula and a dropper to feed him tonight. And we’ll see what the vet says tomorrow!
First, thank you for picking the baby up and wanting to take care of it. After years spent rescuing these guys, it amazes me how few people care or are willing to put in the effort. I’m also amazed by the wonderful people that do too. The advice to go to the vet was absolutely correct and I’m glad you’ve made an appointment.
Remember, kittens need to be kept warm. They cannot regulate their own body temperature and can become chilled very easily. They also become dehydrated quickly and require frequent, small feedings. Follow the instructions on the formula closely. Kittens under 1 week need to be fed every 2-3 hours; 2 weeks old need to be fed every 4-6 hours; 3 weeks old and above about every 6-8 hours.
Positioning is important when feeding kittens. Have it rest on its stomach on a towel/cloth so it has something to cling to and hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, keeping a slight pull on the bottle. If it doesn’t suck on (or take) the nipple, rub its head or along its back. This will mimic the mother cat cleaning it and may stimulate it to want to eat. If you are using an eye dropper, be very careful not to accidentally force feed it. The kitten has to take the formula at it’s own pace. Kittens can, and do, aspirate the fluid into their lungs. This can be very serious, resulting in pneumonia and death. If it starts to choke, hold it upside down until it stops. Usually (but not always) you’ll know when the kitten is done eating when little bubbles form around it’s mouth.
When done, kittens should be burped just like a human baby but VERY gently. As someone mentioned, they also cannot control their bowels or bladder. You will need to moisten a cotton ball, tissue, or cloth with warm water. Rub its belly, genitals, and rectum gently to stimulate it to go. They’ll almost always urinate but defecate once or twice/day. A tip - count to 60 so you know you’ve given it enough time to go so you don’t stop too soon.
How can you tell how old the kitten is? Roughly:
The eyes open in 7-10 days
Kittens crawl around 3 weeks of age
The ears stand up around 3 1/2 weeks of age
Kittens start to play with each other and teeth start to develop around 4 weeks
Eyes remain blue until around 6-7 weeks (final color takes a few months to develop)
Most kittens start the weaning process around 4-5 weeks of age. You can tell if it’s time if the kitten is biting the nipple hard and licks formula from your finger.
If you have other pets, keep the kitten separate. Go so far as to wear different clothing/shoes when working with it so as to minimize transmitting anything. Keep its bedding very clean to reduce the risk of infections; use a lot of hand sanitizer (on yourself); sterilize the nipples/eye dropper before each use; and enjoy your new friend. It sounds like a lot of work (it is) but it’s great.
I remember seeing a picture once of a Marine during the Korean War feeding a tiny kitten with an eye dropper…apparently the mother cat had been killed in a Chinese mortar barrage and the Marine had rescued the little kitten (a female), and named it “Miss Hap”.
It would be interesting to know whatever became of them…
I don’t have any more advice than what others have said, but I just wanted to say “God bless you” for taking in that poor little kitty. If this gets to be too much for you, check with your local animal rescue or humane society. My sister-in-law found an abandoned kitten, and they sent her to someone who had a nursing mama-cat. She took the kitten over to their house to see if the mama-kitty would accept her, and she did. Once the kitten was weaned, they gave her back, and my SIL has had her ever since. I hope your kitty has a happy ending like my SIL’s did.
I would only add that a heating pad tucked into the bottom of the box on low, then putting a towel on it helps keep the kitten warm. It’s tough, but I’ve done it, and the little stinker is still alive today.
God seems to love blessing us with guys like this, also.
In addition to all the GREAT advice you have gotten so far. You have never said whether or not the baby was healthy? If he has a cold you will have to force feed him. We found that out with our last guy. Apparently when cats get a cold they will not eat because they can not smell. What we did with ours was put one of dd’s big stuffed cats in there with our kitty. He was barely 6 wks old and had an upper respiratory infection in addition to other things. Another thing I would expect is he will want to nurse. Provide him with something to nurse one. Our guy liked those chenille stuffed animals to nurse on. He did that for months! He finally quit when he was over a year. If they are taken away from momma to soon they will have the need to nurse and will do so on whatever they can find. That’s the only additional information I can think of. Let us know how he is doing and what the vet says.
We rescued a kitty at around 6 weeks of age.
For a week or so we mixed the kitty formula with some canned cat food (chicken mostly, not the fancy kind). He ate it up.
After we had him checked out, we gradually switched to dry kitten food, mixing the two name brands available at walmart.
We just had him neutered at the Humane Society. I think we may have to take him to the vet anyway,because he still looks “intact” to my untrained eye.
AngelRose, how did it go at the vet’s this a.m.? Please keep us posted!
Thanks so much for all your great replies! Walt (that is his new name) is fine so far. DH took him to the vet. He is 5 weeks old and is doing quite well taking formula from our fingers and he will drink water on his own. The vet said that the worst thing right now was that he had so many fleas so the vet gave him some Advantix and said that should take care of him. He was also anemic so we have something for that. According to my husband, the little fella took all his medicine like a champ & is playful and doing ok other than being weak from the fleas. We did make an appointment for Walt for Oct. 16 to get him tested for feline aids & leukemia and anything else our other cats could catch. Until then he will be kept away from them. The vet also said he should be able to have a little bit of soft kitten food mixed with the formula once he is a bit stronger. I’ll keep you all posted on how he does and I’ll try to take some pictures!
I just wanted to add my thanks to you, AngelRose, for taking in little Walt. Two of our cats came to us as rescue kittens, too. One was brought over by a couple of neighbor girls who said he’d be destroyed if they couldn’t find him a home–so what could I do, even though we had the legal limit of 3 pets our community allows? And the other my dh found in our garage, apparently abandoned. He was weaned but under nourished and scared to death. Both fellas are grown up now and beloved members of our family.
Isn’t rescuing fun? All our cats were abandoned, but 1 we rescued we didn’t keep. It was also in the middle of the hi-way. I was on my way to a doctor appt. so I ran across the road (tricky at nearly 9 mos pregnant!) to a gas station. I explained to the girl what had happened & promised to pick it up on the way home. But when I did come back the girl said I couldn’t have him! She had already named him Freeway.
Walt - that name is too cute!
God Bless you and your DH for rescuing the baby. We have 5 cats and 1 dog (who thinks she’s a cat, but that’s another post…LOL) You are definitely in my prayers, keep us posted!
DH picked Walt because he loves Walt Disney. I wanted to name him Francis but I was overrulled!
One of our other cats was a rescue cat and he is still skittish after 2 years but other than that he’s fine.
Just keep little Walt and us in your prayers!
When Walt is up to it, get a fine-toothed comb and get those pesky fleas!!! Advantix is good, but fleas are a big fat nuisance. Getting after them with the comb, then wiping the comb as you go on tissue or a paper towel, works really well.
Good idea. Thanks for that! Most of the fleas are gone but he still has a few on his belly. I’ll try the comb!