What Do I Need To Know About Kittens – The very thought of dealing with impaired puppies tends to overwhelm many associations. Their vulnerability, the time commitment necessary to keep them alive, and the fear of a poor outcome increases the pressure on employees who already juggle many daily tasks. (Just like when someone walks into a shelter with a litter of neonatal kittens it can suggest an anxiety attack!)

But we are here to tell you not to fear neonatal puppies. This toolkit is designed to help any organization build a prepared, educated and courageous organization that will be more than ready to shepherd those little ones through the system the next time a box full of babies arrives at the door.

What Do I Need To Know About Kittens

What Do I Need To Know About Kittens

Even if it’s not yet the time of year for neonatal kittens to wander through your door, it’s always a good idea to consult your community about what to do when they find abandoned babies. Best Friends offers information in both English and Spanish that you can download and share from social media.

The New Kitten Checklist: Top Tips For Bringing A New Kitten Home

There are also many great campaigns out there that stress about leaving kittens where they are, like the Jacksonville Humane Society’s (JHS) “Don’t Kit-Nap Kittens.” (The JHS website also includes a video of the best friends showing what to do when you find a puppy!)

It is always easier to manage kittens if several of these are found in the first place. If your shelter does not already capture neutral vaccine returns (TNVR) and in the field (RTF; also called recovery or return or SNR), this is the best time to start such efforts to prevent as much as possible. Our Cat Programs Community Guide helps organizations get started with robust TNVR/RTF programs.

When you start gathering kittens from community members, you’ll need to have a main list of questions ready for them:

Gathering such information is helpful in determining if the puppies are doing well staying where they are or if they need help. For them, this is the best time to turn the finder into a pit rather than to encourage them to bring the cubs into the shelter. For more info on how to do that, see the section on “Foster parent recruiting tips and tricks.”

A New Kitten Nursery

Once neonatal puppies begin arriving at your facility, the first 24 hours are critical to setting the path for success. Assessing the kittens age and health status are the first steps to take when they arrive.

A new kitten requires a lot of different care than a two-week-old kitten, which has different needs than a four-week-old kitten, so it’s important to age kittens correctly right away. Having a handy cheat sheet for those dealing with scams can streamline the process and remove any uncertainty in steps such as the intake exam. Alley Cat Partners and best friends are good guides with pictures and details about each growth stage.

Evaluating a puppy’s health status begins with comparing baseline temperatures at intake. A puppy’s ideal body temperature is 100 to 102 degrees. If they are not within this range, they may need to be cooled or reheated before feeding, as kittens that are being fed either hypothermic (too cold; temp below 98°F) or hyperthermic (too hot; try above 104°F) are extremely dangerous.

What Do I Need To Know About Kittens

Your organization prohibits operating procedures around other critical steps in assessing health because it will place intake for this vulnerable population. These signs should be posted prominently in the intake area, the clinic and the puppy housing area.

Bringing Your New Kitten Home

To reduce the transmission of disease to these immunocompromised children, limiting treatment to a minimum is key. Some additional tips to reduce disease transmission through their intake are:

Kittens under four weeks of age cannot regulate their own body temperature and should ideally be placed in a small carrier or tank with a heating pad or pad placed under the blanket. NEVER lay kittens directly on a heated surface!

Also put a small stuffed animal (nothing that their claws could stick intractably) and a nursing bike inside the blanket to help it curl up with a “mom-like” shape. Commercially available “snuggle kitties” are another option, and have a heating function as well as a heartbeat to soothe the baby’s body.

While the kittens do not need to stay locked in such beds between four and eight weeks, once they are moved into cages that are not shared with the rest of the population. (Although the AVMA Shelter Guidelines recommend that shelters place kittens under five months of age, if your shelter cannot accommodate this, it can at least create a private space for these two months.

Signs A Kitten Was Separated From Its Mother Too Soon

Before starting the feeding process, gather everything you need to be placed in the arm. Also recommended is a scale that reads in P., a bottle or syringe and formula, wipes or a warm wash, gloves or hand sanitizer and baby wipes while feeding the baby.

Before you feed the puppy, it helps to encourage them first to lick and poop as they feel more comfortable eating. Use a warm washcloth, baby wipes (sensitive and smelly) or a paper towel and gently rub their bottoms in a circular motion. Continue stirring until they are finished.

Puppies should always be fed in the sternal position, that is, put on their stomachs with their heads slightly angled upwards, just like when nursing from mom. Feeding a puppy upright or supine can aspirate, which is dangerous and potentially fatal. While some pups do great with a bottle, others may prefer a syringe as their formula transfer method.

What Do I Need To Know About Kittens

Remember that patience is key! The National Kitten Coalition has some additional feeding tips that can be used not only by shelter staff, but also by foster parents.

Found A Kitten — Animal Care And Control

Tracking your puppy’s progress is important. Weight loss, failure to eliminate for 24 hours or decreased appetite may be the first signs of a health concern. Document tracking helps monitor changes and avoid any slips.

Puppies, unlike puppies, do a great job when they are full. They will begin to turn their heads, avoiding the syringe or bottle nipple. It is common for puppies under two weeks of age to fall asleep while feeding from a bottle so they will make an effort to stop nursing and remove the bottle at that time. If you’re guessing wrong, don’t worry, they’ll tell you and start yelling for the bottle again. If they are correct, they simply continue to sleep. To finish, it is recommended that you wake them up again and store them in their carrier or housing location.

Kitten U at Best Friends Salt Lake City has posted a series of videos to help with each of the steps listed above. This link can not only be useful for screening staff but would also be a great help to encourage parents, so there is no second-guessing.

Kittens should begin weaning and litter box travel around three to four weeks. The most common mistake is that kittens learn this quickly. Some puppies have a hard time transitioning into eating habits, and others don’t take to the litter box right away. These trips take time and patience and if you don’t think your puppy is ready, it’s OK to wait.

It’s Kitten Season: Diseases Often Found In Young Cats

Weaning is the process of transitioning kittens from feeding from a bottle to drinking to eating, then wet, then dry food (typically by eight to nine weeks of age). You’ll know they’re ready to start adding wet food to their diet when they start nibbling on their nipples.

Wet food should be placed on a tray or tray, and you can also make a drink by mixing the milk in the container to help attract it. It is useful to offer this at each feeding, but do not force the puppy to eat only a sip. Allow them the ability to still feed from a bottle so that they have the right number of calories and complete nutrition in each meal. It is not until the molars come in that hard food is introduced. More information on weaning can be found here.

Litter box training is the process by which we get puppies comfortable with urinating and defecating in the box. It is important to choose a litter that is safe for puppies, as some may try to eat the flag. Aluminum foil or plastic litter can help train your puppy safely.

What Do I Need To Know About Kittens

Make sure the litter box is low enough for the puppies to climb in and get out easily. A cardboard tray from a canned food case works well and can be tossed and replaced many times. When you wake the kitten up for feedings, as they start to urinate or defecate, you immediately put them in the box to finish. Give them lots of care when the task is complete. More information on litter box training can be found here.

Everything You Need To Know To Foster Kittens

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