Have you seen the viral clip of that one guy that encountered a really really cute kitten on a road, and then a whole army of kittens popped out of nowhere with their adorable “ambush?”
These tiny creatures are truly hard to ignore. No matter how much anyone claims to hate cats, I doubt they wouldn’t feel a tiny bit of a tug at their hearts if and when they see a kitten. For the person in the video above, he approached the kitten in hopes of rescuing and eventually adopting it.
But exactly what does one do when one encounters a stray kitten?
Go straight to introducing yourself, perhaps excitedly? No. That would be a terrible, possibly dangerous, mistake. You need to keep yourself and the animal safe, even if you think that a kitten needs urgent care, especially if you don’t have any idea about animal care.
Ideally, and suggested by authorities, contacting animal control or your local animal shelter should be your first step if you think a kitten (any animal actually) is injured in any way or just generally looks like it needs help.
So say you come across a stray kitten, don’t approach it thinking you’re a Disney princess who’s friends with any animals you come across by default. No matter how tiny they look, kittens still have claws and teeth, and they can be unpredictable. They might also flee, which would hamper your ability to help them.
Definitely don’t handle stray kittens with your bare hands!
Wear gloves or use a thick cloth when you handle them, like how we often see in rescue videos. And have a container ready, a cardboard box perhaps, or a carrier, so you minimize the time that you’re actually handling the kitten’s body: less time handling, less possibility of injuries.
Now that you have secured the hypothetical kitten, your next step should be checking its status. See if it appears weak, in pain, or visibly injured in any way. If it is, go to the vet.
Take the stray kitten to the vet or an animal shelter as soon as possible!
Whether you plan on adopting the stray or not, it’s essential that the kitten is safe, so both options above give them a better chance of survival than staying out in the streets. A less ideal scenario would be that you are unable to take the kitten to either place and you have no choice but to leave the kitten. Immediately call your local animal shelter so they could retrieve the kitten ASAP if this happens.
Another scenario would be if, for some reason, the animal shelter can’t get to the kitten right away. Two options would be:
1) Leave the kitten somewhere safe or in a box in the general area where you found it, but also provide it with food and/or water;
2) If you are able, take the kitten home with you. Assign it a corner or a room or anywhere you deem safe and let it rest there while you wait for the authorities to fetch the kitten. It’s important to provide the kitten with maximum comfort, proper food, and water or milk. Call a vet if you’re not sure what to give the kitten.
3) If you’re confident that you can handle the kitten, check for fleas or ticks and give it a bath as well. Please check which products you can safely use with a kitten if you don’t have any cat-specific products in the house.
Now, what if the inevitable happens?
What if taking care of the stray kitten made you hesitant to give it up to the animal shelter?
You’d still need to contact the animal shelter if you’re new to being a pet parent, to know what the kitten needs.
But more importantly, take the kitten to a vet to properly assess its health. This is for your new pet, for you, and for those who you share your home with. Kittens can carry diseases that may affect your other pet(s) and even humans.
So keep the kitten in its safe corner/room and avoid handling and introducing it to your family/pets before its appointment with the vet.
Take things slow and work on bonding with your new furry friend!
There you have it, folks. The next time you encounter a stray kitten, you’ll have an idea of what to do. Thank you for reading, but if you still want to read more, check out some of our rescue stories here or here.
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