Save a Life! How to Care for an Orphaned Kitten
It’s hard to believe but kittens are often abandoned by their mothers and owners. An orphaned kitten needs a lot of care when they are young, so if you decide to rescue a kitten there are a few things you should be aware of and prepared for.
Why: Mother cats will reject their kittens (often one or two from a litter), if she feels she cannot take care of her entire litter. Pet owners have been known to abandon their cat’s liter because they are unable to care for them.
Health: It is always a smart idea to take a rescued kitten to the veterinarian as soon as possible to be checked out and ensure that he/she is not carrying any diseases that can be passed to other animals or humans. This is especially crucial if you are unaware of the origin of the kitten. Your local vet will be able to tell you the age of the kitten as well which is significant in deciding what cares the kitten will need.
Food: What to feed kittens is an important factor to consider. Kittens cannot eat hard cat food and depending on the age they may not even be capable of eating soft solid food. If the kitten is young enough to need their mother’s milk, there are a few products that can be used as a kitten milk replacer. Do not attempt to catch and milk a nursing cat, it will not end well! KMR offers a few products. The KMR emergency kit has everything needed to nurse an orphaned kitten. The Kit contains KMR Powder (milk), nursing bottle, Bene-Bac single dose tube to relieve kitten's intestinal distress and a brochure on how to care and feed your orphan animal.
Hygiene: Kittens are almost continuously being cleaned by their mothers, it’s critical to keep the orphaned kitten clean. Kittens will make a mess when you’re feeding them, so be prepared to clean them after feedings.
Environment: The kitten should be in a clean environment and exposure to people and other animals should be limited. Remember to wash your hands before and after touching or holding the kitten to limit the risk of transferring any illness to or contracting illness from the kitten. It is also vital to ensure that the kitten is kept in a warm area (85-90F). This can be achieved by using heat lamps and a nesting box lined with paper. Kittens need lots of sleep to develop properly so make sure that the kitten is only being handled 6 -8 times by one or two people and are kept in a quiet place away from children and other animals.
Helping an abandoned kitten can save a life, however make sure you understand the needs, one of the most important being proper feeding of a kitten milk replacer for an optimal diet. If you are unsure of your ability to help, consult a veterinarian.