How to Care for Abandoned Kittens

Whether you find a lost little stray or rescue one from a shelter, abandoned kittens need special care and love. If you find yourself with a delicate, adorable kitten to care for, be sure to give it the following:

  • Warmth Kittens can't regulate their own body temperature for the first few weeks of their lives, so you'll have to make a bed with plenty of soft blankets in a box or basket. Place a pet heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel in the bed near the kitten. Keep the bed in a warm place. For the first three weeks, the box's temperature should be between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27 and 29 degrees Celsius). After your kitten is 4 weeks old, you can lower the temperature to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) [source: Pet Place].
  • Health Get your kitten checked out for dehydration and general health [source: Morton]. Bring a stool sample, if possible, to test for worms and parasites. Vets will often give a free courtesy check up to rescued kittens.
  • Food You'll have to consult with your vet about how to feed your new-found kitten [source: Talk to the Vet].
  • Litter box training Until the kitten you're fostering is 4 weeks old, you'll have to massage its anus and urinary region with a warm, damp, piece of gauze to stimulate excretion. Once it's 4 weeks old, start placing the kitten in a litter box after each feeding [source: ASPCA].
  • Love and attention Like all babies, kittens need to form emotional attachments to others. Pet you kitten frequently so it can feel the warmth of your skin as well as your heart [source: ASPCA].