Caring for Stray Cats & Kittens

Caring for Stray Cats, Kittens

You are a hero for rescuing that stray kitten!! However, your job is just now getting started. Read below for tips on how to properly care, feed and place stray kittens.

Kitten Found on Doorstep

Dear Simba - I found an abandoned kitten yesterday and decided to take him home with me.
I took him to the vet first for a check up. The vet said that my kitten, Ginger has a fever, which has contributed to his eye infection and flu. Ginger is still rather active. He plays with his strings and toys but he does not seem to be eating much and he refuses to drink water.

He also follows me around everywhere I go. He keeps on crying and wants me to carry him and hold him! He evens wants to sleep on me. The vet said he should be fine after he finishes his course of antibiotics. I'm worried about him. I'm so afraid he will starve and dehydrate to death. How long does it take for a kitty to recover from the flu, fever and eye infections? Jackie

Dear Jackie,
First, thanks for rescuing the little guy! His following you around and his wanting to sleep on you are natural signs of affection. You appear to have bonded with him and he is simply returning your love. Do not worry about your catching his cold, eye problems or fever. The cat flu is not contagious to humans but it does require treatment.

As for his not eating or drinking, that is a matter of concern. You may want to consider giving him water and/or feeding him with a beaker. Maybe spike the water with tuna juice! Cats that skip meals can suffer dangerous liver problems. Take Ginger to a follow-on visit in the next few days and have him checked for worms and FIV, Leukemia, FIP. Be sure to schedule his shots. Simba

Dear Simba,
A little kitten just turned up on our doorstep, it is very friendly yet seems ill. It is unable to meow and, attempts to cough (unsuccessfully), has shallow breathing and slightly watery eyes. We are poor folk and would like some home health advice before going to the vet. We eagerly await your reply, Anxious New Kitten Lovers

Dear Anxious New Kitten Lovers,
You are kind in looking after the little guy. Check out the Care for Young Kittens section for tips on basic care for young kittens. As you may know from browsing through the cat flu section, your little guy may be suffering from either a viral or bacterial infection which does require medical treatment. Your best bet is to keep the little guy warm and cozy, well fed (with kitten food or formula depending on age), and well hydrated (plenty of water) until you are able to go to a vet or your local humane center for him to get some medical care. You may have some luck relieving his upper respiratory distress by holding him outside a warm shower and letting the steam clear out his nasal passages. Simba

Dear Simba,
My husband found a kitten at the golf course, she is ~8 weeks old. She has a bad flea problem and most of her hair on a large portion of her body is gone. I am concerned about mange. We also have a two-year old that loves the cat.

You are certainly right to be concerned about mange. mange results from Demodex mites. The mites are naturally occurring and normal in people & animals. However, creatures with weak immune systems like abandoned kittens and/or hereditary problem are often unable to control the mites. This may be affecting your kitty. Mites (in large quantities) may release compounds that will further weaken your kitty's immune system. They can also cause local infections. Best thing to do is to go feed and take good care of kitty (so as to strengthen her immune system).

take her to the vet to have kitty tested and treated for FIV, parasites and all the other basics. Your vet will probably use a shampoo to help flush the hair follicles and may provide some antibiotics and/or immune stimulants in addition to flea treatment. -Simba

I was feeding a stray that had two solid black kittens.
The mother was brownish black and the father black (he hangs around regularly). I thought the kittens would be just the right size to give away for Christmas. However, one kitten (who is absolutely beautiful) has a continual runny nose and sneezes all the time. The other one's fur has become brittle and silver-colored. I have read your posts about kitty flu but am confused about the fur changing color. Could they have a nutritional problem? I wasn't aware that the kittens were even alive till a neighbor told me and I brought them to my house (They were ~3-weeks old at the time) Not that it has any effect on the question, but two large dogs killed the mother day before yesterday-I'm sure she was trying to defend them. Thank you - Cat Addict

Dear Cat Addict,
What a tragedy. I think that your best bet is to take both kittens to the vet. While one appears to be displaying signs of the cat flu which as you know can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. The other kitten shows symptoms that can occur with a variety of ailments, including inflammatory bowel disease, which can lead to problems in the absorption of proteins/vitamins. Low serum protein can cause a reddish discoloration of the fur. Another possible cause is ringworm

For now, make sure they are eating a good and nutritious kitten food or formula and that they are warm and comfy. Also take them to the vet and have them checked out so they can start treatment as soon as possible. Simba

Stray Cats Sleeping On Car

Dear Simba,
How do I stop stray cats from sleeping on my cars at night? Mark

Dear Mark,
One of the better ways to handle this is to install a light activating motion detector near your car. The light will startle the strays which will make them less likely to park on your vehicle. The added benefit is that in being bright, it reduces the sense of stealth that the cats would otherwise have, thus decreasing the allure of your car.

You can also try Cat Repellent, which folks often use to keep cats off certain places in their homes. Keep me posted. Simba

Humane Rescue & Trapping Tips

Dear Simba,
I am the lucky owner of 7 cats that came to me when I moved in three years ago. I am concerned about one that's been with me for 2 years. He will not let me pet him. Most of them at the beginning were afraid of me but it did not take them long to become lovable…now I can even carry them. All of them except for the really wild one have been spayed or neutered. My concern is that he has become sexually active now, he is getting into fights and I cannot catch him to get him operated! Do you have any answers for people like me that feed and love strays?

Hi, You are a good person for taking care of the cats and considerate for wanting to have the little guy neutered. See the note below for tips on how to humanely trap stray cats. Good luck! Simba