Finding Newborn Kittens

Finding newborn kittens can be exciting, but there are many things that you will need to know about trapping and caring for new found babies. When you first see baby kittens in your backyard, alley or other places take a step back and make sure the mom cat is not still around and just hiding from you. They are usually very close or are just off to get food.
If you see the Mom cat nearby, DO NOT DISTURB THE KITTENS and let Mom take care of them herself. It is especially crucial for newborn kittens to receive the nutrition from Mom’s milk during the first couple of days of their lives. The mommy cat may also be hunting for food or in the process of moving her kittens to a new nest! The bigger the kittens, the longer the mom cat can be gone.
Many kittens will not survive if separated from Mom during the first week of their life. If you see the mother cat put some food and water out for her so she can devote herself to her babies. If the mom cat does not come back in 4 or more hours – she may be in trouble or dead. Please look around for her if you can! If she is not found you can take the kittens and get them help. BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE WILLING TO SAVE THE KITTENS.
Email us at or contact Humboldt Spay Neuter Network at (707) 442-SPAY (7729) please do the right thing and take them to a vet or shelter to be fostered by an experienced person. Do NOT leave the kittens outside alone to die.
Umbilical cord still attached – newborn kitten only 1-3 days old
Eyes closed, ears folded over – kitten is 1 – 10 days old (about 3 – 4 inches)
Eyes are open, kitten moves around but is wobbly – 10 days – 2 weeks old ( the size of a 6 inch hand)
Eyes are open, ears up, can walk around pretty good- 3 – 4 weeks old
Running around and is difficult to catch – 5 – 7 weeks
At least (1 foot) long, very fast and impossible to catch by hand – 8 weeks or older


IF THE MOM DOES NOT COME BACK FOR HER BABIES AND YOU RESCUE THE KITTENS HERE ARE SOME BASIC RULES TO FOLLOW – read this full page for detailed instructions: “Never feed cold formula to a kitten and NEVER feed a cold kitten formula”

1) Immediately place kitten(s) in a towel, shirt or blanket in a box to keep them warm. Remove any dirt or bugs/fleas that are on them. If there eyes are goopy, wipe them off gently. If they are VERY COLD, put them under your shirt next to your skin or rub them in your hands. Kittens die from cold and hypothermia before starvation.

2) DO NOT REMOVE THE UMBILICAL CORD IF STILL ATTACHED. Take to the emergency vet or a regular vet to have them cut it so they don’t get an infection if you feel it looks bad, otherwise it will fall off by itself in a few days. RED OR SWOLLEN CORDS may actually be a hernia of intestines coming out!

3) Make the kitten(s) go to the bathroom if they are younger than 4 weeks old. Baby kittens cannot go potty by themselves! Take a cloth, towel or tissue and gently rub their genitals like a mommy cat would lick them until they urinate or poop. Count to 60 to make sure they have gone completely. They should start going within a minute. If not, try again in about 10 minutes. They may be constipated. They will get very sick if they do not go potty every few hours. Kittens make take a minute or 2 to poop.

4) The kittens must be kept warm in order to eat especially if they are very young. DO NOT FEED A COLD KITTEN – IT WILL DIE! Their internal organs have shut down. They must be physically warmed up first to 97 degrees minimum. You can use a small thermometer to find the temperature. Put some vaseline on it and place the tip gently in the rectum and hold it there until it gives you a reading. It needs to be above 98-100 degrees before you feed.

5) Go to the Pet Store to get kitten formula such as Kitten Milk Replacement we like Pet Lac and a baby feeding bottle.
Poke a hole in the bottle. I usually take a very small nail sissor and heat up the top and poke it through the inside of the nipple. MAKE A SMALL HOLE! When you tip it upside down, it should just drop out if you gently squeeze the bottle. If it comes out to fast it can choke the kitten and get formule in their lungs.
You can use warm Goats Milk but just for a day until you find Kitten Formula.

6) When you get home immediately make a kitten box full of soft towels and place a heating pad for warmth under the box set on low. Put the heating pad in a box and cover it with towels. It is best to have only 1/2 of the box heated so the kittens can move off the heat source if they get too warm. Over heating can KILL kittens but no matter how hot it is in your room or outside, they still need a heat source that resembles the mom cat. If you do not have a heating pad, put some rice in a a few big socks or t-shirt and tie up the ends to keep it in. Then put it in the microwave until warm. You can also use the microwave heating pads that are filled with beads – the ones you use to wrap around your neck for stiff muscles.

7) Feed kitten according to the formula chart on the can and use my info below. DO NOT OVER FEED! You will need to make the kitten go potty before and after you feed then burp them afterwards by lightly tapping on their back. Newborns will only suckle a very small amount. When they spit out the nipple they are done. Do not force them to eat more. Just let the kitten feed until it feels full. It may take a few moments for a kitten to latch on to a nipple. Don’t force the formula in their mouth. Just squeeze the bottle to allow some drops to fall out and see if they will lick the formula. Then gently try to move the bottle inside the mouth. Sometimes I pull the bottle out slowly to see if they will grab on