- To kitten-proof a room, remove anything that might fall on a kitten - even a book can cause serious injury. Remember that kittens can climb into tiny holes and crevices and get stuck. Bathrooms seem to be especially easy to kitten-proof, and they are easy to clean.
- Regular litter boxes are too big for young kittens. Start out with small Tupperware-type containers or shoebox lids. As the kittens grow, so can the litter box.
- Some foster parents get permission to bring very young bottle babies to work with them. Kittens sleep much of the time and can stay in a small carrier under your desk.
Health and Safety Basics
Monitoring your charges' health is extremely important - sick kittens must be treated quickly. Keep tabs on the following:
- Kittens should be alert and warm to the touch. Chilling is a risk mainly during the first four weeks of life. If the kittens are cold and listless, they must be warmed up immediately. Do not attempt to feed chilled kittens. Place the kittens in a box or pet carrier with a heating pad (placed in a pillowcase then wrapped in a towel) set on low inside the box. Be sure the heating pad covers only half of the bottom of the box--the kittens must be able to move off the heating pad if it becomes too warm.
- If you notice fleas, you should flea comb the kitten as soon as possible.
Do not use insecticides or any other flea products. Kittens can also be bathed with warm water and a very gentle soap. Do not wet the head. Dry the kitten immediately with a towel, then with a blow dryer set on low/warm (not hot, not cold).
- Diarrhea and upper respiratory infection (watery eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing - similar to a human cold) are serious and should be immediately treated by a veterinarian.
- Keeping the kittens clean helps to maintain their health. Wash bedding and food and water dishes daily. After they eat or use the litter box, clean dirty kittens with warm, damp towels and dry them well. Wash your hands before and after feeding and handling kittens.
- Don't wear shoes around the kittens, and be especially careful when walking around. They move quickly and it's all too easy to step on them.
- Never give cow's milk to kittens. Since they cannot digest it properly, it can make them sick.
- Don't let bottle babies nurse on their siblings. This can cause serious injury.
- Keep foster animals separate from your own pets.
- Newborn (or neonatal): Eyes are closed, ears are flat to the head, fur is thin and skin looks pink.
- Ten days old: Eyes begin to open.
- Three weeks old: Ears stand up, teeth are visible, and kittens begin to walk - wobbly at first!
- Four weeks old: Kittens begin eating regular cat food and using the litter box. They also begin to pounce and leap.
- Eight weeks old: Healthy kittens will weigh approximately two pounds, and are ready for adoption.
If you would like to foster, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our foster home application.