How to Care for Kittens, Including Orphans and Strays


Learn how to care for kittens and how to care for orphaned kittens. Learn what you will need to buy and the basics of kitten care.

How to Care for Kittens

How can anyone not fall in love with an adorable kitten? If you decide to bring a kitten into your home, you will need to learn about how to care for kittens.

How to Care for Kittens: The Basics

How to care for kittens involves many of the same things as how to care for dogs, with a few exceptions. Below are the basics of how to care for kittens.

  • Food and Water – The way to begin feeding your kitten will depend on the age. For very young or orphaned kittens, you may have to start with formula. It is best to consult a vet if you are unsure of a kitten’s age.
  • Shelter – Kittens should be kept inside. They will need a warm corner or box to call their own.
  • Vet Visits – You should schedule a vet visit as soon as possible. You will need to arrange for the first round of shots in order to ensure your kitten stays healthy.
  • Litter Box – Most cat owners are surprised by how easy it is to litter box train a cat. Introduce your kitten to the litter box as soon as possible.
  • Play Time – Even if your kitten doesn’t seem interested at first, make time to play with your kitty.

How to Care for Kittens: What to Buy

Below is a list of some of the items that you will need to buy to care for your kitten.

  • Water and food bowls
  • High quality kitten food
  • Litter box
  • Litter
  • Toys
  • Kitty wipes or shampoo

How to Care for Stray Kitten

If you find a stray kitten and want to give it a good home, there are some extra steps that you will need to take. Also, you should understand that a stray kitten, also called a feral kitten, will likely take longer to warm up to you. They tend to be more aloof around humans than other cats, but with some love and patience will become a wonderful pet.

If you see a stray kitten, the first thing you should do is look for the mother. Ideally, you will want to keep the mother and kittens together until the kittens have been fully weaned.

If you do not see a mother cat you may need to use a humane trap in order to catch the kitten. Some stray kittens will allow you to approach. In that case a trap may not be necessary. Be sure to use a trap that will not harm the kitten in any way. Many SPCAs will loan such traps.

  • Home – Keeping young kittens warm is very important. Providing them with their own safe spot will help them to feel secure. You can use a cat carrier lined with blankets or towels. Add a heating pad if needed.
  • Feeding – If the kitten is younger than 3 weeks old, you will need to feed the kitten using a bottle and replacement formula. Once the kitten is about 3 or 4 weeks old, you can switch to a powdered formula that will be mixed with liquid and fed in a bowl. If the kitten is not eating from the bowl, you will need to nurse with a bottle a bit longer.
  • Litter Box – You want to introduce the kitten to the litter box as soon as possible. The good news is that most kittens will take to the litter box quite naturally.
  • Vet – Be sure to visit a vet as soon as possible. The vet will be able to check for illnesses that are especially common among stray cats. Also, the vet will be able to advise you about when the kitten will need his or her first round of shots. You will also want to talk to your vet about spaying or neutering the kitten as soon as the kitten is old enough.

It might seem like a lot to learn, but the love you will get from your new pet will make it all worth it

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