Life is full of surprises and one day, you get yours: finding kittens in your backyard. The meows you hear encouraged you to look closer. Without meaning to, this surprise has opened your heart to these little strangers. And now you’re searching, “I found kittens in my backyard, what now?” Here are tips for unprepared new cat parents, kind strangers or kitty angels.
Don’t be pressured
First and foremost, you are not obligated to adopt the kittens especially when your circumstances don’t allow you. So, don’t be pressured. However, please don’t turn a blind eye on them. The kittens will most likely not survive on their own or if they do, they can grow up and add to the concerning increase in feline population.
So, if you’re in a tough circumstance, please alert somebody to help the kittens. There are already many rescue groups or shelter available nowadays so it won’t be too hard for you to search and call one. It would also be great if you have a friend or acquaintance who’s a cat person; notify him or her to help you out. Now, if you decide to personally step in the rescue of these kittens, please read on.
First, determine if the kittens’ mom is around
When you find the kittens, don’t move them immediately. Monitor first if their mom is around. Kittens need to be fed every three hours or so; you can check if you see any signs if the mommy kitty will be back or not around this time frame. Another helpful guide to know if the mom didn’t abandon the kitties is if they’re not too dirty and aren’t meowing as much. It means they are groomed and fed so if it’s the opposite, they may need your help because mom is not around anymore.
It should be noted that kittens younger than eight weeks should stay with their mom if possible. So, for potential new cat parents, please consider this before taking them.
Second, try to estimate how old the kittens are
By knowing the age of the kittens, you’ll be able to help them more. Just as human babies and children have different needs, feline young also do. These are the notes to guide you on estimating their age.
- Under one week: Kittens are very small, have their eyes shut and ears flat to head. It’s also possible that part of the umbilical cord is still attached.
- 1 week -2 weeks old: Kittens’ eyes are open but ears are still flat. Their size is still relatively small, almost just as big as your hand.
- 3 weeks old: Kittens’ eyes are now fully open, their ears are erect and their teeth are visible. At this age, their feline features are more defined and they start to look like tiny cats. At this age, kittens are already mobile but are still wobbly.
- 4 weeks -5 weeks old: Kittens’ eye color have changed from blue to another color. They’re also more mobile and agile. At this age, the kittens can start eating soft food like canned food for kittens.
Third, provide kitty essentials for their survival
Like human babies, baby kittens need milk, toddler kittens can have milk and eat soft food and finally, child kittens can eat some adult cat food while also needing for-kitten cat food.
A quick guide to feeding kittens:
- 1 week – 4 weeks old: Kittens need bottle-fed kitten formula. If this product is not available, please find goat’s milk for replacement. Don’t use cow’s milk as many cats are lactose intolerant.
- 5 weeks or older: Kittens can be offered canned food. This canned food should have a creamy texture with no chunks. It’s best to find for-kitten food to be safe. Also, they may still need to be bottle-fed with milk occasionally.
Supplies you need:
- Feeding bottles and nipples (found at pet stores).
- Eye dropper or syringe for feeding (if kitten won’t feed from bottles)
- Bath towels or cloth for bedding and cleaning kittens
- Kitten formula for milk replacement
- Emergency Veterinarian or Veterinary Clinic number
Congratulations New Cat Parents or Kitten Angels
So, those are the main points to help unprepared new cat parents. Deciding to help these kittens either by fostering them till they’re turned over or even just alerting somebody else, is a noble thing to do. A lovelier outcome is them finding love from you if you decide to adopt all, some or one. Of course, your responsibilities will be greater; getting the kittens spayed or neutered and vaccinated can cost a lot of time, effort and money.
To help new cat parents and kitty angels, know that there are numerous organizations or even veterinarians that are there to help. Some vets will reduce fees and there are even groups that can subsidize or pay in full the costs for kitty medical needs especially for rescued cats.
So, thank you, congratulations and good luck newbie cat people!