Where ever you live there is always a chance that you will come across a stray cat or kitten. When the animal is a kitten it is a lot harder to look the other way and you may have the need to try to do something about it. Taking in a stray cat however is not like adopting one from a shelter, so you need to be ready and have a lot of patience so that you can rescue such an animal. They have been on ther own and surviving on the street so they will not likely be very house trained to begin with. Here are some things that you need to know if you find yourself in the need to rescue a street kitten.
When rescuing a stray baby cat, you can run into two scenarios: getting the kitten to come with you is really easy or really hard. If catching the kitten is easy, then chances are that the kitten has experienced at least some positive contact with humans; that should make the entire experience a lot easier. On the other hand, getting the kitten may become really hard and that usually means that the feline has been on the street for its entire life. If you are familiar with cats you may need to scruff the kitten and put it in a crate for transportation.
The easiest way to attract a young feline from a hiding spot is to use food. The sight of easy food could become too much for a hungry one to resist. Sit close to the food within arm’s length and if he/she comes out then try to scruff him/her by the back of the neck. Some kittens will not want to come out until you are a bit further, and that can make the task somewhat more difficult. You may have to come back several times and repeat the routine until the he decides it can trust you.
You may decide that catching it is too hard for you; if so there are a few experts that can help you from animal rescue groups and they may even help you with vaccinations. They are also more likely to trap a kitten without hurting it or getting hurt in the process.
The Age Of The Kitten
When trying to rescue a kitten, its age is very important. It is not that it is easier to capture a younger one, but the older the kittens are the more damage they can do if you were to make a mistake. They may look cute, but kittens bite and scratch and that can cause some serious bleeding. An animal catcher is your best option as they can put the kitten in a crate and give it to you if you want them to. Hiring an expert is much easier as it does not put you at risk.
Kittens under 4 weeks will need milk replacement formula which is available at most pet stores. Kittens over the age of four weeks can have solid food, and that is especially true of strays which may have eaten other solid foods in the past.
Preparing Your Home
The home needs to be ready for the new family member before you bring it in. The moment that you release the feline inside the home it is very likely that it will run to the closest hiding spot. Some of those spots include under the couch or sofa, behind heavy furniture, behind a stove or a fridge, or any small space in your home that is not protected. You should remove wires from those areas and block access to the important ones where the kitten can get injured.
If the cat goes into hiding, then do not try to force it out unless it is necessary. If the kitten is hiding in a place where it cannot get injured, then let it come out on its own. You could build a safe place for them which could be something as simple as a box with a cloth on the bottom. Place clean water and some kitten food close enough for him/her to see it and go about your business. Keep an eye for when the kitten comes out of hiding but let it approach you. If you feel comfortable enough catching it then do so, but pet it softly.
Make your new friend feel safe so that it starts getting used to humans. Keep any other pets if you have them away from him at this time as you do not want it to be scared for any reason. Show the baby the litter box as soon as possible so that they know where to do their business.
Not Everyone Can Do It
You should know that not everyone to rescue a kitten so if you can do it then kudos. It is recommended that small children stay away from it until the baby feels safe around humans and other pets. As stated earlier kittens can bite and they bite hard. They do so because in the wild they may have needed to hunt for food even at a young age. That means that you should never play with a kitten using your bare hands. The experience needs to become as pleasant as possible for the kitten and yourself, so that a bond can start developing. Some kittens will warm up to you within 3-5 days; others can take 2 weeks to a month.
If you decide to go ahead with the process of rescuing a stray kitten then you need to have patience necessary to do so. Sometimes the process goes very easily while others it can become a bit more challenging. Do not give up once you start, but if you need help then call an animal behavior specialist. You should also take the new pet to the vet for a checkup and for de-worming medication and vaccinations. Tell the vet that it was a stray animal so that they can take the necessary precautions when handling him/her.Credit: W Mayorga