Wild Kittens?

Are you wondering what to do if you find kittens you think might be wild/feral?

Your first step could be as simple as calling shelters/rescue organizations. These groups will be able to provide you with helpful information, and if they have space, may take in the kittens.

Here are some basic tips if you are caring for a wild kitten:

If you rescue orphaned kittens, make sure that you consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

DO NOT give kittens cow's milk; sugared water is better. You can also feed kittens formula.

Cats and Diets - Formula
Recipe Goldmine - Kitten Formula
Food Fun and Facts - Infant Kitten Formula

PLEASE DO NOT take little kittens from Mom! Her care (and milk) is important, especially when kittens are very young.

Here are some more resources:
The Animal Rescue - Feral FAQ

Sue Freeman's Guide to Rescue Cats
Orphan kittens
Raising orphan kittens
Taming orphan kittens

Caring for Newborns/Orphans

If you're interested in helping rescued kittens (and moms!) by fostering, please call us!


Kitten Season

Bottle Fed Orphans.Kitten season is here! The shelters are filling up with orphaned kittens and Mom’s with their litters. What do we do? Well, first of all we rescue and bottle feed as many of the orphaned kittens that we possibly can. Shelter’s normally do not have the personnel to bottle feed and care for the unwanted kittens. So unless they are rescued from the shelter, they are euthanized.

Where do these kittens come from? Some are from feral cats that are not sterilized and they give birth in people’s backyards, under their decks and patios or just find a secluded bush or ground cover that gives them some privacy and have their litters. People find them, the mom’s run away and all these kittens are left behind. People gather them up in paper bags or boxes and off to the shelter they go. Some of them are from domestic cats that no one bothered or took the time to have spayed and guess what? There is a litter in the garage or under the bed. They can’t possibly care for all these animals so off they go to the animal shelter.

Mom’s and litters end up at shelters all the time during the season. Lot’s of friendly Mom’s with their babies. We rescue as many of these from the shelter as we possibly can too. Foster homes work very hard during “peak” kitten season months. The heartbreaking part is we cannot help them all. The “snowballing” effect hits and they are coming faster than what rescuer’s can keep up with. What happens? Many of these animals are put to sleep. How can this be prevented? The ultimate answer is spaying and neutering. Every kitten and cat that comes through Alley Cat Rescue will be sterilized before going to it’s new home.

Each year we hope we see less orphaned kittens and less Mom’s and litters. Maybe this will be the year. We’ll update you as kitten season progresses.


Taming Wild Kittens 

TAMING KITTENS  Do not be fooled by cute little feral kittens!  When you first bring them into your home, treat them with caution.  They can inflict painful bites.  Place them in a covered, warm carrier with food, water and litter.  Move quietly and talk softly when you enter the room.  Leave a radio playing soft music so they get used to human sounds.  Usually, you can cover them with a towel and hold them firmly on your lap within twenty hours.  Scruff them gently but firmly at the neck (this will not hurt them, but immobilizes them and allows you to work with them without injury to them or yourself!).  Use interactive cat toys.  They love playing with “Cat Dancers.”  If handled carefully, feral kittens can become tame within a short period, though, the older they are, the longer it will take.

Kittens should be checked by a veterinarian and treated for parasites and fleas.  Roundworms and coccidia are two problems most kittens seem to be infected with and they need to be treated immediately to prevent any major health problems.

Ferals often bond with the first caretaker who helps them, and some find it difficult if not impossible to bond with another human.  If you are taming them for adoption, let them become exposed to many different people, and place feral kittens in new homes as soon as possible.  They eventually make very lovable companions.  


Young and Orphaned Kittens

If kittens are under five weeks of age and unable to eat solid food, bottle feed them with kitten formula (KMR, Similac or Just Born) obtained from veterinary clinics or pet supply stores. Cow’s milk does not contain enough fat or protein for kittens. Very young kittens should be kept in a box lined with absorbentPhoto Copyright Alley Cat Allies. paper towels. Keep the box warm (around 90 degrees F.) during the first two weeks of life, using a heating pad covered with a towel, or an infrared lamp. For three-week-old kittens decrease the temperature to around 80 degrees F. If a kitten is too weak to drink from a bottle, feed her from an eye dropper. Massage the belly to stimulate digestion, and use a cotton ball or paper towel to stimulate elimination of urine and feces after each feeding. Moist cotton balls can be used to clean the area afterwards. Rub Vaseline on the anal area. The mother usually cleans the babies during the first few weeks so you will have to take on this task. Begin weaning from three to four weeks old. Mix canned kitten food with kitten formula and hand feed until the kittens are accustomed to eating on their own, then gradually change over completely to canned food.

Nearly all feral and stray kittens have internal parasites and need to be dewormed by a veterinarian. Any upper respiratory infections should be treated with antibiotics and eye ointments. Left untreated, they can cause severe health problems, pneumonia, eventual blindness or even death.

If you do not have kitten formula on hand (KMR –Kitten Milk Replacement available at your local petstore) use the following formula for temporary feeding only (12-24 hours). Add one  egg yolk to eight ounces of cow’s milk for short term feeding. Feed kittens two tablespoons per four ounces of body weight daily. Divide total amount into equal feedings. Small weak kittens should be fed every three to four hours.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep the orphan kitten warm.

The Taming Process

1. Containment in cage.

2. Periodic and brief handling with protective towel.

3. Containment in small room.

4. Exposure to other humans to help with socialization.

5. Feed with baby food on a teaspoon or on your finger (do not feed baby food with onion in the ingredients. Onions are toxic to cats.)

6. Placement in suitable adoptive home as soon as possible to get the kitten used to their new environments.


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