Finding “Orphaned” Kittens
Not all kittens need help. The best place for kittens is with their mother, so before you scoop up kittens you find outdoors, it is important to first determine if they’re truly orphans or if mom is hiding or hunting nearby.
Did their mom come back?
YES! Great! Let mom care for them until they are 8 weeks old. Then make sure mom and kittens are spayed/neutered.
NO! If mom does not return for 8 hours, the kittens are likely orphaned. During kitten season, shelters are overwhelmed and don’t have adequate resources to care for all the homeless kittens. If you are able to foster them in your home until they are at least 8 weeks old, that is preferable.
If you’re unable to care for the kittens, we’re still here to help.
Please call us at 440.338.4819 if you have any questions or are unable to care for the kittens.
Donate Supplies to Save Kittens’ Lives
Make an online donation here
- Powdered Kitten Milk Replacer
- Kitten Bottles
- Heating pads without “auto off” switches
- Cans of wet kitten food
- Kitten feeding syringes
- Plastic pet carriers
- Kitten toys
Resources to Help You Care
for Orphaned Kittens
Fostering orphaned kittens is fun, adorable, and rewarding! But, like all babies, kittens are fragile and need specialized care. That’s why we have gathered a variety of resources to help ensure you have access to all of the information and best practices you need to successfully raise your kittens!
How Kittens Grow
Bottle Feeding Kittens
Bottles are often too big for newborns, so start with syringe feeding. Make sure they’re always laying flat on their bellies during meals to avoid aspiration, which can be deadly.
Once they’re ready for a bottle, transitioning is easy! Make sure they’re always laying flat on their bellies during meals to avoid aspiration, which can be deadly.
Helping Bottle Babies Go Potty
They’ve eaten successfully — congratulations! But remember, newborn kittens can’t go potty on their own; their mother stimulates urination and defecation through parental tongue baths. Kittens being raised by humans still need to go potty, so it’s critical that you stimulate urination and defecation by wiping their genitals and anus areas with warm water on a cotton ball or soft cloth after every meal. This is one of the most important and most overlooked steps in kitten rearing.
At three weeks of age, it’s time to begin the weaning process. Congratulations — you now have “gruel babies”! Gruel babies are more independent, more active, and naturally, a little messier — but they’re also absolutely adorable!
Litter Training Kittens
At three weeks, it’s also time to start introducing your kitten to the litter box. Most kittens take to the litter box instinctively, however, some need a little more TLC to learn the ins and outs of the proper potty protocol.
Determining the Sex of Your Kitten
At around three weeks you should be able to determine whether your kitten(s) is a boy or a girl.
The organization you’re fostering for will take care of medical care for you, all you need to do is bring them in for their appointments with the shelter’s veterinarian or the rescue’s selected vet office. Still, it is helpful to understand what your kittens are being vaccinated against to help safeguard their health.
Killing Fleas on Kittens
Baby kittens are too young for flea medications, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with fleas!
Socializing Feral Kittens
Feral kittens may have never interacted with humans, so they’re naturally defensive. With patience and cautious persistence, you’ll be able to make them lap kittens in no time!