If The Mother Cat Returns
If mom returns, leave the kittens with mom until they are weaned. You can offer shelter and food to mom, but keep the food and shelter at a distance from each other so as not to attract other cats to the area where kittens are located. Older kittens can scratch or bite, so please don't try to handle them.
After the kittens reach eight weeks in age, this is the ideal time for Trap-Neuter-Return for mom and ALL of the kittens (spay/neuter, vaccination, eartip, and return to their colony). Female cats can become pregnant with a new litter even while they are still nursing, so don’t forget to get the mother cat spayed or you will have more kittens soon!
Surgery for Waco Community Cats is FREE for mom and kittens if you have a Waco Water Bill. Contact the Animal Birth Control Clinic for more information.
Helping Kittens That Have Been Orphaned
Occasionally, there are times when kittens become permanently separated from their mothers. In this case, it is important to get them appropriate care immediately.
If you decide to intervene, you should be prepared to see this project through to weaning. We'll tell you how!
A Note on Unweaned Kittens and Animal Shelters
The Waco Regional Shelter sees an 80% or greater increase in cats/kittens every Spring/Summer/Early Fall. Unweaned kittens need around the clock care. Unfortunately, there are not enough staff or hours in the day to tend to all of these kittens, particularly overnight. Many will not survive. While foster homes are sometimes available to care for a few of these kittens, foster homes fill up quickly. Additionally, because so many kittens enter the shelter at once, contagious illnesses increase in kittens and further decrease survival rate in shelters.
A kitten's best chance of survival is with mom. If the kittens have been truly abandoned, their next best chance of survival is likely with you. We'll tell you how!
All The Information You've Ever Needed to Care for Abandoned Kittens!
Caring for orphaned kittens is fun and rewarding! But, like all babies, kittens are fragile and need specialized care. We've gathered a variety of resources to help ensure you have access to all of the information you need to successfully raise your kittens!
Tip: Avoid taking kittens to a shelter. The only cats/kittens that should possibly be taken to a shelter are those that are sick or injured.
Have additional questions about kittens? Ask real people and get answers over at Pet Answers Waco!
Where Can I Find Kitten Formula Locally?
Kittens should NOT be fed cow's milk.
Petco Waco - 2404 W Loop 340, Waco, TX
PetSmart Waco - 4600 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX
Tractor Supply Waco - 300 N Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX
Most Walmart Locations
HEB Woodway - 9100 Woodway Dr, Woodway, TX
Cottonwood Creek Veterinary Services - 2200 TX-340 Loop, Waco, TX
Hoskins Formula - If you have access to goat's milk, Hoskins Formula is the ideal formula for kittens.
3 oz. goat’s milk
3 oz. water
4 oz. plain full-fat yogurt
3 egg yolks
The formula will be good for about 48 hours if refrigerated. If the formula has been left out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours, it must be discarded.
Become a Kitten Hero with These Amazing Kitten Training Videos!
Syringe Feeding Kittens
Bottles are often too big for newborns, so start with syringe feeding. Make sure kittens are always laying flat on their bellies during meals to avoid aspiration, which can be deadly.
Bottle Feeding Kittens
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 Kittens Go Potty
They've eaten successfully - congrats! 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 kittens 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.
Weaning Kittens - Hooray!
At about three weeks of age, it's time to start 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!
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. If you have slow learners, we find Kitten Attract Litter or Additive works great (available locally at Petco)!
Is this a Boy Kitten or a Girl Kitten?
At around three weeks you should be able to determine whether your kitten(s) is a boy or a girl.
Removing Fleas on Kittens
Baby kittens are too young for flea medications, but that doesn't mean you have to live with fleas! It is important for their health and survival that fleas be removed from kittens.
Big thank you to KittenLady.org for supplying an amazing Kitten Care Guide and Videos to help kittens and the citizens who are caring for them. Big thank you to Austin Pets Alive!, Best Friends Animal Society, and Alley Cat Allies for a wealth of information as well. And, a final thank you to all the citizens who help keep kittens with mom and keep them out of our local shelter.