A stray kitten is a kitten that has either been a pet or at least had been in contact with humans at some point in its life. There are many reasons why a kitten is a stray. Either the owner let it go, or it somehow lost its way. Either way, the life of a stray kitten can be tough as it has to find its own food and look after its own protection.
Thus, it becomes necessary to help stray kittens so they do not starve to death or become prey to other animals. From approaching it cautiously to providing it with the basic needs of food, shelter, and good health, you should care for it in every way possible. You should also train it to socialize with humans to find a permanent happy home.
If stray kittens are not helped, there are chances that they can grow to become feral cats. So, if you want to know how to care for a stray kitten effectively, keep reading this blog.
How to Decide When a Stray Kitten Needs Help?
If you find a tiny furball on the street corner crying for help, don’t jump to immediate conclusions. A kitten alone crying is not significant proof to take it under your custody. To deduce if the stray kitten really needs help, look into its bodily appearance.
If the lone kitten is fluffy, chubby, or looks well-fed, it implies that the mother cat takes good care of it and will most likely return soon. But if its good health doesn’t convince you well, wait for a few hours at a safe distance so the mother cat may not be afraid to show up.
On the other hand, if you come across a stray kitten that looks malnutrition or has been injured, it’s a signal to lend your hand for help. If the kitten is seriously injured, rush to a veterinarian immediately. But if the situation is not that critical, you can take some preliminary steps to provide it with the care it deserves.
How to Take Care of a Stray Kitten?
Many people think caring for a stray kitten is similar to caring for a cat, but it’s not. Stray kittens are oblivious to this situation, making caring for the little one more difficult. So, here’s how to care for a solitary stray kitty.
- Approach with Caution
Grabbing the stray kitten with your hands and lifting them is the first instinct, but you mustn’t do that. Instead, you should approach the little one with a smiling face and as slowly as you can. Take a cloth in your hand and then grab the stray kitten; it makes the first contactless hostile and gives a cozy feel to the creature.
Checking if the kitten is cold is a priority. A kitten living outdoors without its mother has a higher chance of being affected by the temperature. So, touch the kitten behind its ears or paws and see if they are cold. If not, that’s good, but if the kitten is really cold, you must immediately provide a warm and cozy place to rest.
- Provide a Safe Living Place
A small box or a cage can be good choices when considering a place for the kitten to rest. Ensure it has a blanket and spaces to hide from the light to comfort the kitty.
If there is more than one stray kitten, they will warm each other up. But if it’s a single kitten, lift it with a blanket and hold it close to your chest; this will relieve it from the cold through heat transfer from your body.
- Feed It Regularly
You can’t feed a cold kitten; it’s dangerous for its health. If the kitten is cold and shivery, let it get warm in the blanket first. After normal body temperature is restored and the kitty is back on its feet, you can feed it semisolid nutritious food. Ensure the food and water you feed are warm. Lukewarm water prevents the risk of bacterial infection and other viral diseases.
Also, remember not to feed cow milk to kittens because it can cause diarrhea, leading to dehydration. Alternatively, provide it with a kitten milk replacer. Besides, you can feed it cooked meat, fish, eggs, whole grains, and veggies. Also, you can provide it with readymade wet food or dry kibbles.
Here’s a sample table for a suggested feeding schedule for stray kittens based on age.
|Age (Weeks)||Number of Feedings Per Day||Amount of Food Per Feeding (oz)|
- Monitor Its Health
Keep a close eye on the kitten’s behavior; this is vital to monitor its health. Watch out for signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. These are common side effects if a kitten gets detached from motherly care. If you find these symptoms pop up now and then, immediately contact a veterinarian for consultation.
- Consider Vaccinations
The first few weeks are the worst for a stray kitten adopting to a homely environment. The lack of freedom, environmental change, having humans all around, and unwanted infections decrease their mortality rate. But you can avoid some of these factors influencing your kitten’s health by vaccinating them.
Besides, kittens are not immune to diseases such as feline distemper and leukemia. So, take them to a veterinarian to vaccinate them and lead a longer, healthier life.
- Give Litter Box Training
Hygiene training is also part of good care regime. Teach your stray kitty to use a litter box to keep the living space clean and healthy. Use a shallow, low-sided litter box with unscented, clumping litter. After a meal, place the kitty in the litter box. Your compelling actions will force the kitten to form the habit.
If you want a suitable litter box for your kitty, opt for PAWISE Kitty Litter Box Set. It is a complete kit to make the litter training hassle-free for you and your pet. Along with cleaning tools, this litter set also features some toys to distract the kitty and help it quickly adapt to the training.
- Try to Socialize It with Humans and Other Felines
Now that the stray kitten has learned to live as a pet and is ready to overcome its fears, the next step is to get it socialized with other cats.
Introduce your kitten to new cats and other cat owners. Let them play, spend time, and cuddle with them. It will induce positivity around the kitty to live happily. Also, socialization develops their confidence and makes kittens feel more secure in homely environments.
- Find Permanent Homes
Stray kittens need permanent homes to receive inconsistent love and care for the rest of their lives. Reach out to friends, family, or local rescue organizations to help find homes for the kitten.
Caring for stray kittens can be challenging, but it helps them restart their lost life. So, follow the tips mentioned above and help them live a longer, healthier, and happier life.