Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
My boyfriend and I were driving around at 1:00am when we spotted a kitten on the roadside next to a field (no houses around). When we stopped the car I could see the kitten was very small, maybe 4 weeks old at the most, and he was eating a slug. I managed to capture the very shy and aggressive kitten, and brought him home, where I have one adult (1 year) cat. I gave the kitten a separate room and fed him, gave him a bed and plenty of water. At first he wouldn’t come out from underneath a bookshelf, but after smelling the food, he came out and ate everything and drank some water. I left him alone overnight in the room. The next morning I fed him again and introduced my cat, with some hissing from both sides at first, but now they are calm and the kitten rubs against my cat. My cat plays a little rough at times, but licks the kitten and seems to show him how to use things. The kitten follows my cat everywhere he can, and now purrs and rubs against me when I stroke him. He is eating often, drinking, and now using the litter box regularly. He is very very thin and was very dirty; I’ve given him a little wash. My problem is that he lays in bed 80% of the day even when he’s not sleeping, and I haven’t seen him play yet. Is this normal? He also licks his lips quite often. Is this enough concern for a vet visit? It’s very difficult for me to take time from work as a head chef, but I have an appointment for him in 2 weeks’ time. Do you have some advice on how to take care of such a young homeless kitten?
Thomas: First of all, thank you so much for rescuing a tiny kitten in need, Siobhan — that was an awesome thing for you and your boyfriend to do!
Bella: It sounds like you’re doing a lot of the right things in that you fed the kitten, gave him his own room and introduced him to your resident cat.
Thomas: We should point out here that we’re referring to the kitten as “him” even though Siobhan is not sure what sex he is, just to make life easier for ourselves and avoid calling a living being “it.”
Bella: We do, however, think you should take the little one to the vet as soon as you can.
Thomas: We get concerned about things like the possible spread of disease or parasites because the little guy hasn’t had his shots yet and almost every kitten has worms.
Bella: Also, it is kind of odd that the little one is sleeping so much.
Thomas: It may be that the poor little thing has been so undernourished that he just doesn’t have the energy to play yet, but it’s still a good reason to take him to the vet.
Bella: With kittens as young as the little one, we recommend adding some kitten milk replacer to his diet. This will give him the nutrients he needs because he’s probably not old enough to be weaned and should still be nursing from his mama.
Thomas: He should also get kitten food rather than adult cat food. Again, kitten food has more calories and is more nutrient-dense, which is important for a growing kitten!
Bella: Your vet will also be able to tell you how to care for him and make sure he grows up to be big and strong.
Thomas: The vet will also be able to tell you whether you have a little boy or a little girl on your hands, about how old said he is, and give you an idea when the kitten should be spayed or neutered.
Bella: Sheltermedicine.com has some great information about raising orphaned kittens, which you can find here. We recommend you check it out because you might find it helpful.
Thomas: I know we’ve got some “professional” kitten fosterers among our readers. What advice do you have for Siobhan? Please share it in the comments!
Agreed. As you do not know the baby’s past or health you should visit the vet. De-wormer should be given and they can check the baby over for any other health concerns. You don’t want some unknown illness to be passed to your resident kitty.
We would keep the baby separate until you can get to the vet. He needs to be tested (FeLV/FIV), dewormed and see if he is old enough for a first vaccine. Being on his own would be stressful, so now that he is getting regular food and knows he is safe, he may be relaxing and letting his body catch up. Keep him on good kitten food (we recommend canned) and safe and warm. Nice save!!!!
Thank you for saving this little one. It sounds like your older cat has found a life long playmate. I don’t have any real advice about the kitten that you haven’t already gotten but I suggest that, since your resident cat and kitten have been hanging out and maybe sharing a litterbox, ask your Vet for de-wormer for both. Better safe than sorry regarding your resident cat’s health. Thanks again for opening your heart to one so small.
“If you have saved one life, then you have saved the World”
Moses Maimonides, Rabbi, Philosopher Circa 1100 CE
YOU, have in fact saved “The World” for that little creature and May that tiny creature bring you all the happiness
Good luck with your kitten. The first few weeks of their life can be very uncertain. Testing it for FIV is important but can offer sad results. You will then have to make a decision or retest it in a month if the outcome is positive. I just rescued a beautiful long haired tabby kitten and a friend who fosters wanted her because she looked like an old one she had. I had the kitten tested first and she was okay. But now she seems to have something in her neck (maybe she contracted something when she was in tall grass, etc.) and has a fever. My friends taking her to the vet today. We’re all hoping for the best but I don’t know. She’s had a lot of love for the time she’s been here. Enjoy your kitten and love her until vet day. Hopefully everything will turn out the best for both these kitties.