Kittens should be with their mothers for at least eight weeks before adoption. According to Pet Education, kittens get the benefit of antibodies in the mother’s milk that helps fight off infections. Most of the immunity is passed on within the first 24 hours in colostrum, a protein-rich milk. Kittens also need to learn how to be cats, and mom is the best teacher.What should you do if you find a tiny kitten? It’s natural to want to rescue it. Before you take that step, look around for the mother cat or siblings. She may be moving her litter, one kitten at a time. Give her a chance to come back for the little guy. Don’t touch the kitten or the mama cat may abandon it because it carries your scent.
If you’re sure the kitten was abandoned, go ahead and take it in. Be prepared for round-the-clock feedings, roughly every two hours for the first few weeks. Not all kittens will survive, especially those that didn’t get the colostrum from the mother. Have the kitten checked out by a veterinarian at the first opportunity.
Kittens that weigh less than a pound are usually euthanized at shelters unless the shelter has 24-hour staffing to care for them. As an alternative, some rescue centers provide food, supplies and training if you want to care for the kitten at home. If you are lucky enough to catch the mama cat, some shelters will spay and vaccinate her. Any kittens found with the mother must be at least eight weeks old or weigh at least 2 pounds before a shelter can take care of them.It’s a lot of work getting a kitten to that eight-week milestone. Your reward is a symphony of purrs, unbiased affection and the knowledge that you saved a life. You may even decide to keep the kitten and end up with a lifelong friend. Check out this happy story about an orphaned kitten that beat the odds.
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