Have you rescued a kitten lately?

Kathy Moran
Here are a few tips to rescuing stray kittens

DON'T GO ASTRAY. One of the kittens in Kathy's village. Photo by Kathy Moran

MANILA, Philippines – Not a day goes by that I don’t see a tiny little kitten wandering in the village where I live. On the days when I go out for a run I am always moved to rescue a kitten when I see it by its lonesome, meowing loudly.

So far I have rescued over 20 kittens in our village. Many of them have died on me. But as of last count I have five in the cattery that I have in my house.

I have seen too many horrific photos of kittens that have been put in trash bags and thrown into canals or trashcans.

But I do know that there are many people like me who take pity on a crying kitten and decide to take them home. If you happen to be one of these folks here are a few tips I can share with you that have been helpful to me in rescuing kittens.

1. The first thing I do is to catch the kitten. The easiest way to catch a stray kitten is to use food as a lure. I have noticed that these little kittens prefer moist, soft food. But, for the most part, if they are hungry, they will eat anything but you have a better chance of catching them with something they love.

2. Put the food in a dish close enough to the kitten. I have learned from experience that most stray kittens are very friendly because they are hungry.

3. Wear long sleeves in case of scratches. Sometimes it is better to pick up the kitten while it is eating and a long-sleeved shirt is always a best friend because many times the kittens will try to get away.

4. I usually carry a box or something with tall sides. I also carry a water bowl, food dish and blanket. When I find a litter of kittens I try to see if their mama cat is close by; if she is I normally leave the kittens to her. If you cannot find the mother, don’t fret; sometimes they abandon their young. So take the whole litter home.

5. Once I bring a kitten home I usually take a moist towel and get it cleaned up. Next I take a look at the ears and try my best to clean them up, too. I always have a bottle of ear mite drops for kittens. Take a cotton swab and moisten it with the drops. Swab the inside of the ear, being careful not to go too deeply. If you see black gunk on the cotton swab it means the cat has ear mites. Repeat as many times as necessary on both ears.

6. If you have other pets it is best not to let them mingle or play together for at least 10 to 14 days. The stray kitten may have diseases, viruses, worms, or other problems that can be passed on to your other pets and make them sick.

7. If you intend to keep your new feline friend you should know that socializing him/her with your other pets may take several weeks. Expect your other pets to be a little bit stressed out, tired, or subdued during this time. This is normal; it is hard for them to share what they think is theirs alone. At first let them see each other from the opposite side of a door. If the reaction is good, keep going. If it is bad, your pets are not ready to deal with each other yet. As time progresses they will get more comfortable with each other and you will be able to supervise play.

8. It may take longer to socialize a kitten with your other pets. Size is the number-one factor that makes this a problem. Until they get bigger your larger pets will pick on them, even if it’s another cat. I have noticed that some of my dogs will never be able to make friends with the kittens. But Vodka the Bichon likes the bigger cat and kittens. So I make sure to let her walk around when the cats and kittens are out of the cattery and on their daily stroll in the garden of the house where I live. Vodka, who is so used to them, likes to watch them as they run about.

9. Just be reasonable and don’t take on more than you can handle. When you rescue a kitten, you’re their everything, so do your best to give them everything you can.

10. Make sure you get them fixed. I make it a point to get the kittens fixed as soon as they are ready. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) does this for a minimum fee. If there is one way we can help these cats, it’s by being able to stop them from growing in number. – Rappler.com

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