If the kittens are in a safe spot, leave them so the mother can come back for them. If the mother is not available, and you decide to keep them – realize you are taking on a huge responsibility. Be prepared for sleepless nights, some frustrations and of course, some happy and grateful kittens.
If you are unsure of the mother’s location, you can leave the kittens where they are (as long as they are not in imminent danger) and place a ring of flour or baby powder around them. Check on the kittens every few hours and watch for footprints of the mother. If you are near, the mother WILL NOT return to her kittens. If the mother has not returned in 24 hours, the kittens will need to be cared for.
You will need the following: Make sure you wash your hands often with babies.
- Mother’s milk (available from any pet store or Wal-Mart), plain yogurt, can be added to the formula, to aid digestion. To start you may want to use the formula you need to mix, it will save the formula from spoiling before you can use it.
- Mineral oil
- Kitten baby bottles, (nipple should just drip milk when held upside down), eye droppers, or syringes, dishes for food and water, kitty litter, kitten food –pate` (wet food), and dry for when they are older.
- Heating Pad, (one can be made by using a sock filled with rice heated in the microwave for 30 – 40 seconds watch carefully you don’t want to burn the babies.)
- Towels, washcloths, small blankets, cotton balls, Q-tips, flea comb, soft brush
- Crate or container to keep kittens safe and warm (inside), small litter box (if they are 3 or more weeks old.) Just make sure they can’t crawl out or get caught in the bars.
Always feed kitten while they are on their stomach you can roll up a towel and place them on that. You may have to encourage them to lap or suck on the bottle of milk to begin with, just be gentle and persistent, they will learn quickly. They may only drink a small amount (1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon) of formula to begin with and you will need to increase the amount as they get older. Don’t forget to burp the baby. Patting their backs or rubbing their stomachs will help.
You may want to clean them with a washcloth (such as the mother would after eating). Make sure you dry them thoroughly. You will want to wipe the genital and anal area to encourage elimination. If they seem constipated you can add a few drops of mineral oil with an eye dropper at each feeding.
If the kitten’s eyes are runny or looking infected, you can wipe eyes with a cotton ball soaked in strong tea. This is not in lieu of seeking veterinary advice for the kitten; it is just to make their eyes feel better.
Keep the kittens in a quiet area; they will sleep most of the time. There are many websites to find in-depth information on baby kittens. Keep the handling of the kittens to a minimum to start with.
This is just designed to give you some hints on baby kittens; it is in no way designed to take the place of veterinary care for the animal.
For veterinary care for your kitten(s), you can contact Pawmetto Lifeline’s Wellness Clinic at (803) 465-9196. Once the kittens are 6 weeks old and are friendly, you can contact our intake department for information on placing them up for adoption at firstname.lastname@example.org.