Kitten Tips and Tricks
Say you stumble upon a litter of kittens that look alone and abandoned. What would be your next step?
First, you need to determine if these kittens truly are “abandoned” as they may appear to be. This involves looking for a nesting place where they can be safely placed and watching them from a distance to see if the mother has actually abandoned them or might just come back.
The mother cat may be afraid of your presence, and could even be watching from a distance to figure out when you are going to leave. For this reason, it is best to go back and check on the kittens periodically, stay a good length away, or even from indoors if possible as not to scare her away.
A tip from Alley Cat Allies says that you can even sprinkle flour on the ground and leave it for a few hours. That way, if mother cat has returned she will leave tracks.
If you cannot find a nesting spot, and the mother cat does not return after 6 hours, you must decide if you are willing to take full responsibility of the kittens.
1-2 Weeks old
Not much awareness of surroundings, often sleeping. Once they hit the 2 week mark, their ears will start to unfold and they may become more active, interacting with siblings if they have them.
2-4 Weeks Old
Kittens in this stage and are even more mobile and should be more playful. Once kittens reach the four week old mark, they should be holding up their tails and be more steady on their feet.
4-6 Weeks Old
This is the transitional period where kittens become more self-sufficient. Kittens at six weeks of age are much more active, and should be able to run around on their little feet. Kittens should be able to clean and groom themselves. At six weeks they should also be using the liter box.
6-8 Weeks old
They are very active and playful, figuring out how to be without their mama cat.
8+ Weeks Old
At eight weeks old, kittens should weigh about two pounds. They will start to look more like adult cats, and are ready to be spayed and neutered! This is when they will usually be ready for adoption the shelter.
Use this Flow chart made by our foster team to help determine the proper protocol when dealing with handling Kittens: