HELP! Need Kitten Advice

What am I going to do? What am I going to do?

My boyfriend just found a kitten in his backyard. He says it’s an adorable little thing about 8 inches from head to err… butt. He doesn’t know anything about cats (and I’ve always been more of a dog person) and thus we can’t figure out how old the kitty is.

He’s bringing the cat over in an hour or so for me to take care of (because his brothers couldn’t even care for an nearly full-grown dog) and I really need some advice…

What does the kitty need? Should I go get cat food now? Can I feed it tuna until I can walk to the grocery store (I don’t drive)? Help! What am I supposed to do?

(ironic isn’t it?)

First of all, don’t panic :slight_smile:

If the kitty is about 8 inches long, it’s probably pretty young–I’d say 6-8 weeks, but it’s hard to tell without seeing it. Don’t feed it tuna–this can make it sick, since it’s probably just been weaned or is not weaned at all. You need to get it some canned kitten food, or if it’s just a little 'un, they sell substitute formula for kittens and you can bottle feed it. But it should be okay with the food–I’ve successfully weaned a 4 week old kitten, though I had to teach it how to eat, and mix water with the food. If it can’t seem to chew the food, put a little warm water in it, and make a sort of gruel. Dab a little on its nose or paw, or feed it with an eyedropper. Keep it warm–give him an old towel or something to curl up on.

Poor little guy is probably going to have fleas. You’re going to have to de-flea it, and it will probably have worms, too. You’re going to have to take it to the vet–are you going to keep this kitty? If so, it will need its kitten boosters. If not, you may be able to give it to the vet or the humane society. If you can’t get it to a vet soon, at least get some kitten food from the grocery store. They also sell flea medicine, but be VERY CAREFUL what you give it–he’s a little guy, and you don’t want to poison him. The package will tell you the weight of the cat that the flea poison is designed for.

What does he look like?

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.

Call your vet right away, and make an appointment (but ask them about food)!! They will be able to advise you on the kitten’s age, and what food s/he will need. (My uneducated quess is 4-6 weeks or less.) Your vet may also have some samples for you to try. But you need to get the kitten to the vet to check for worms, fleas/ticks, diseases, etc.

If it is very young, it will probably need to be fed kitten formula, which you can find that at most stores. In the meantime, I recommend getting kitten food as soon as you can - both kibble (dry) and wet food. Again, check with your vet. Regular tuna and cow’s milk may cause diarrhea.

Also, make sure you make a little litter box - a shoebox will work in a pinch, until you can get a “real” one. Although the jury is out on this, I recommend AGAINST clumping litter, because I have heard that it can cause problems for the little guyzos.

Good luck and God bless!! Cats are great, so I hope you keep this one. Let us know how this turns out!!

Should be OK if you use biodegradable clumping litter, such as the stuff made from wheat or corn and such. (This allows for the amusing possibility of eating kitty litter with milk and sugar for brekky - cheaper than Grape Nuts).

Congrats! One thing I wanted to add – where’s there’s one kitten, there’s others. Ask your boyfriend to scout the area for the mama cat and litter.
Kitties wean pretty early (4 weeks or so), so canned food will be fine - no milk, though.

Oh my goodness the kitty is such a cutie, i’m in love with her. I doubt I can keep her for very long though, I’m going to college in the fall and in the meantime I have to keep her away from my dog.

Just wondering but she doesn’t seem too young probably bigger than my boyfriend’s initial estimates and she’s purring adorably. Can I bathe her with my dog’s shampoo because fleas do seem to be a big issue with her or can I use dog flea powder?


Ah, yes, in lack of a proper measuring tool from the tip of her nose to the base of her tail she’s about twelve inches (longer than the long side of a piece of paper).


Strongly advise not, unless the bottle specifically says you can - cats are pretty sensitive to chemicals and it would be pretty easy to overdose a kitten with dog chems.

**NO! **

Sorry to yell, but you most certainly should never use dog flea control products on an adult cat, much less a kitten. You can kill it, and trust me, it’s not an easy or pretty death. If the fleas are very bad, you can bathe the kitten in the sink with a little diluted dish detergent or human shampoo. Just make sure you rinse very, very well.

She can have kitten food, maybe with just a tiny, tiny touch of tuna juice, but giving her a full meal of tuna will make her ill, as will cow’s milk. If you don’t have kitten food, she can have a little bread till you get kitten food.

She’ll need a litter box; you can line a shoebox or something with a plastic bag and fill it with shredded newspapers in a pinch.

She’ll also need vetting, vaccines, and a worm check as soon as you can arrange it.

Don’t feed the kitty tuna, not now nor ever! Tuna flavored cat food is ok, but cats which are fed a tuna diet can go blind from a lack of taurine. Cats should only be fed cat food that is labelled nutritionally complete for cats to avoid this problem.

Do you have a flea comb for your dog? If so, you can use that to try to get the fleas off the kitten, but don’t use flea powder made for dogs. Our vet said we could use baby shampoo, instead of pet shampoo, to bathe our cats, but we found that it made them throw up - it was too difficult to get it completely rinsed, and of course anything on their fur ends up in their bellies.

In case you were thinking of getting one, the only acceptable use for a flea collar is to put in your vacuum bag. Hartz flea collars have killed cats. There are much better flea treatments available from your vet now, anyway.

You can find a lot of good information at

Oh my goodness this poor kitty is swarming with fleas… I took CrazyCatLady’s advice and used the tiniest bit of shampoo on the kitty… I think just the water would’ve been enough to start with… all the fleas ran for cover to the kitty’s head. I felt so bad for the poor thing and rather icked out because I’ve never had to deal with fleas.
Well the kitty hated the water and I’m amazed I got no real scratches but I think I drowned a good number of the things that were biting her… I’m throwing away the towel I dried her off with because it’s full of dying fleas and flea carcasses and as the kitty licks herself I’m helping with my “tweezers of doom” it won’t make a huge difference without fea powder and shampoos but it’s one less bite for the poor dear.


make sure when you comb the little one you dip the comb in a mix of water and soap. fleas can walk on water, if you add soap they can’t. just a drop or 2 should reduce the surface tension. talk to a vet soon to get some flea relief. also you will have to attack anything the kitty touches or rests against with flea death. fleas can live in the cracks of a wood floor as well as a comfy couch.

i hope you are able to enjoy the little one, i’m sure she is very happy to be with you.

Oh my goodness! What a lucky day for you. Rescuing kittens has always been one of my favorite things. That’s how I’ve gotten most of my furbabies.

I totally agree with everyone else. No tuna, no cow’s milk… ever! If you do try some tuna water…please make sure it is water and not oil. Oil can be very bad. Trust me on this one. I made this mistake about 20 years ago and still remember the poor boy all greasy and sick!

With all the battling fleas and bathing, since the little one is so young, make sure (s)he doesn’t get chilled. And PLEASE be very careful what you do put on her and not accidently poison her. Even the dish soap, if not rinsed well, can be serious from what I understand. I don’t have personal experience with this type of poisoning… I’ve only heard of that one.

By all means, please get him/her to a vet asap and protect from the dog. Some dogs take really well to cats/kittens, others don’t. Usually people know how their dog will respond to a cat but not always. I’ve seen dogs that didn’t “do” cats but did adore kittens. It’s totally up to the indivual nature of that dog.

Finally… PICTURES! We want pictures! :smiley:

Good luck and I’m sure all our emails will be open to you. Ok, so I can only guarantee my email is always open :wink:

You would be surprised how dogs react to a kitten/cat once they understand that it’s a member of the household; our small female Doberman has never made an aggressive move against all the felines (3) we’ve adopted.
Again, please look for kittie’s littermates, and if you must give the little guy up, choose a no-kill shelter.
Hopefully, you’ll get to enjoy the “kittie sleeping on the end of my bed” wonder tonight!

I’ve never had a problem using baby shampoo on my kitten. She adores being bathed. Of course she’s a very unusual cat.

A hint on introducing kittens to the household. Put the kitty underneath a large laundry basket in the middle of the living room. The new baby is probably freaked out as it is, so it won’t scar her too bad. This will give the animals that are already members of the family a good chance to sniff her out without being able to hurt her. And if her paws are small enough she can give a swipe to stake her ground. Always worked for me. My babies are best friends now.

Regarding the fleas. I’ve found that sprinking my cats canned food with nutritional (brewer’s) yeast, keeps them virtually flea free. Fleas are tenatious little buggers. Good luck!

Thank you so much for your advice, I shied away from the tuna and soap, ended up giving her some chicken.
Because I knew I can’t handle a cat right now, much as I loved the little baby, I took her to my best friend’s house down the block and hen we walked around the neighborhood trying to figure out which of the neighbors would love an addition to the household. We came across my next door neighbor, Jim, who loved her but said he couldn’t handle a kitten. he directed us (and walked us down) to a lady about a block away that runs a shelter for animals.
Shelly was the nicest lady and she was appalled at the state the kitten was in. Even after I had washed her and left a couple towels covered in fleas she still said that that was the worst flea infestation she had ever seen. She gave the baby some anti flea stuff and a deworming pill. We were told that the kitty was anemic from all the fleas she had and would likely have died in 3 or 4 days if it wasn’t taken care of. (That would have broken my heart, we cared for another stray (puppy) about a year ago that even with shots and veterinary care died a few weeks later from distemper and I cried for days) However with proper care she’ll be fine and healthy really soon. She’ll be up on the website and taken out to a local adoption center soon.
After looking at the website I’m amazed at what this lady has managed to do ( ) and really want to look into donating time and money to help other little babies without homes. I love my dog and can’t imagine what would make owners abandon and neglect their animals so horribly… I just wanted to let you all know and get the word out about the shelter so maybe if you’re in the area you can do a little to support this wonderful cause…

Now off to take a shower and tomorrow I’m going to need to buy flea powder because the kitty left fleas everywhere!