Did you know?
Almost all animal shelters will humanely euthanize orphaned kittens less than 4 weeks old as they do not have the resources to feed the kittens around the clock and mortality rates of these kittens are very high.
Thankfully, most discoveries of newborn kittens do not call for human assistance, and in fact, no intervention is generally the best thing you can do.
It’s not unusual to discover a nest of unattended kittens or a single kitten seemingly abandoned by the mother. You want to help, right? Before jumping to the rescue, please consider these facts.
Remember... mother knows best!
The goal is to keep the mother and kittens together to ensure the best chances for the kittens’ survival. In the first weeks of their lives, kittens need their mother’s care and antibodies from her milk. And as they grow, the mother will begin to give her kittens the critical training they will need to survive on their own.
How do I determine a kitten's age?
- Under 1 week: Eyes shut, ears flat to head, skin pinkish. Part of umbilical cord may be attached.
- 10-14 days: Eyes begin to open, ears flat. Smaller than your hand.
- 3 weeks: Eyes fully open – blue in color, ears erect, tooth buds visible. Walking, but wobbly.
- 4 weeks: Teeth erupt. Possible interest in canned food. Walking.
- 5-6 weeks: Eyes changing from blue to adult color. Playful – begin to pounce and leap.
- 8-9 weeks: Weigh about two pounds and really look like small cats.