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You’ve found kittens! In a perfect situation, you found these tiny babies with their mother. It’s daytime, the weather is perfect, the family is away from harm, and stores are open so you can pick up supplies. Unfortunately, kittens won’t wait for the perfect situation. It may be in the middle of the night, and these babies need you!

Our website has a lot of resources to help, and in a pinch, these are ways you can save these lives ASAP!

  • Remember – take some time to assess the kittens and assess the situation!
    • If they look clean, well-fed, healthy, and aren’t fussing, their mother may just be away getting food.
      • Consider stopping by an all-night market or drugstore to pick up some wet cat food and water for the mother cat so she doesn’t have to leave her babies.
      • If the kittens are in danger based on their location (near a busy street, in a parking lot, etc.), move them to a safer spot nearby so their mom can find them when she comes back.
      • Check back in a couple hours to see if the kittens are okay.
    • If they are meowing / crying a lot, dirty, thin, or sick looking, chances are their mother is gone. These babies NEED YOU!
  • In a Pinch Supplies
    • Cardboard box or large tupperware bins
    • Heating source (heating pad, rice sock, etc.) see below
    • Wet cat food or formula ingredients see below
    • Syringe or eye dropper for bottle babies
    • Blankets / towels
    • Litter pan or small, shallow box for older kittens
    • Litter for older kittens
  • Getting the Kittens to Safety
    • After assessing the situation carefully, if the kittens are indeed orphans and you commit to caring for them, you will need to bring them home!
    • If you do not have a small cat or dog carrier, a box or tupperware tub will do fine for now. They kittens should be transported to a warm place, free from drafts or breezes, and kept away from any other animals.
    • Create a nest for the kittens with towels and/or blankets and a little pan for older kittens.
  • Warming Kittens
    • Young kittens are unable to regulate their own temperatures and require an external heat source. You can use an electric heating pad, a hot water bottle, or – in a pinch – create a reusable, microwaveable rice sock! Be sure the kittens are warm before feeding them! Learn more.
  • Feeding Kittens
    • Once you have assessed the kittens, it should be easy to determine their age and what kind of food is suitable for them.
    • Kittens under 4 weeks of age will not be able to eat dry cat food – they will need to be bottle fed formula! The best option is Kitten Meal Replacement, which can be found in pet stores and online.
      • In a pinch, you can make your own formula from items you can find at the market or drugstore:
        • Kitten Formula Recipe #1
          • 1 can evaporated milk
          • 1 egg yolk
          • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
          • 1 drop liquid human pediatric vitamins (optional)
          • Mix the milk, egg yolk, and syrup well and store it in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator. At feeding time, mix half of the estimated feeding amount with an equal amount of boiling water. Feed in bottle when cooled some.
        • Kitten Formula Recipe #2
          • 1 quart whole goat’s milk
          • 1 teaspoon light Karo syrup
          • 1 tablespoon nonfat plain yogurt (made with goat’s milk preferably)
          • 1 egg yolk
          • Unflavored gelatin
            • Newborn to 1 week — 1 package gelatin
            • 2nd week — 1-1/2 to 2 packages gelatin
            • 3rd week — 2-1/2 to 3 packages gelatin
            • 4th week — 4 packages gelatin
          • Put the goat’s milk in a saucepan and add the proper amount of gelatin based on the kitten’s age. Heat the mixture just until the gelatin is dissolved and then remove it from the heat. Mix in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate. It will keep up to one week in the refrigerator.
    • As an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT, human baby formula can be used.
      • Make up the formula at twice the strength indicated for human babies.
      • Human formula can be dangerous for medically fragile kittens. It can cause diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. In a kitten who is already weak, dehydration can be potentially fatal. If you have to give your kittens human formula for any reason, choose one that is iron-free to avoid an overdose of iron. A goat’s milk-based formula may be more easily digested than one made from cow’s milk.
    • DO NOT FEED KITTENS ANY KIND OF COW’S MILK! Kitten stomachs are not able to process cow’s milk well. It can make them very sick, causing vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and a crashing kitten! Cow’s milk is not an option!
    • If you are unable to purchase a bottle and nipples from a pet store, an eye dropper or syringe purchased from a drug store will do the trick until you can.
    • Kittens older than 4 weeks of age can eat gruel or wet cat food. If you cannot obtain Kitten Meal Replacement formula to create the gruel, warm water will do in the meantime.
  • Things to Know:
    • Be on the lookout for fading kittens! If you think your kittens may be crashing, follow this protocol ASAP; waiting for a vet may be the difference between life and death.
    • Don’t worry about grooming / bathing the kittens until everything above is done first!
    • Once the kittens are situated and you’re able to get proper supplies, review our more in-depth resources for the best ways to care for your kittens.
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