What to do if you find a neonatal kitten - 4 step guide.
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
If you've found a stray or abandoned kitten it can be hard to know what to do. Do you adopt the kitten yourself or do you leave it alone? And how do you care for it appropriately?
Always look for their mum before moving the kittens, as she will most likely be somewhere nearby. If the kittens are not in immediate danger, keep watch from a distance and leave some cat food out near the kittens. The mum will be most active around dawn or dusk so this is the perfect time to watch for her. If the mum returns and you are unable to catch her yourself, you can borrow a cat trap from a ranger/local rescue so she can be trapped and taken to a rescue with her kittens, and then sterilised at a later date. The best situation is for kittens to stay with their mum.
If you are unable to locate a their mother, you may need to warm the kittens (especially if they are neonates). DO NOT feed a cold kitten, as their gastrointestinal tracts will not be functioning properly if they are cold- always warm them up first! Please DO NOT try and feed them cows milk, or "Cat" milk from your local supermarket, as this is not a milk replacement suitable for kittens.
Find a neonatal carer! PLEASE do not keep the kitten if you are not experienced in caring for neonates, as they require intense care and are extremely fragile at this age. You can contact us if you are located in Australia and we can assist you in finding a carer nearby. Alternatively, contact your local rescue group and check whether they have a carer that can help you.
The kitten's welfare should be priority! It is very tempting to keep these neonates even for a day, but in reality they will not survive without 2-3 hourly feeding and toileting. Please always try and find a carer asap, and do what's best for the kitten!
If you would like to learn more about caring for neonatal kittens, visit our helpful guides!