Adopting An Orphaned Kitten - The Early Weeks


It’s easy to decide on adopting a kitten – what’s not to love? Kittens are adorable, and this isn’t a surprise at all considering the way cute cat videos spread like wildfire throughout social media. However, not all kittens are going to be litter-trained and immediately ready to play. You might find yourself the sole parent of a very tiny and helpless newborn animal who has no mother to turn to.

Furry bundle of joy.

Recently, my family welcomed our newest furry addition in the form of Eevee. She was found in a pot by a family friend, abandoned for more than two days – her mother had forgotten to move her along with the rest of her siblings. When she came to us, we could tell that she still didn’t have very great eyesight and her hearing wasn’t fully developed yet. After reading through some kitten growth charts online, we deduced that she must be around 2 to 3 weeks old.


The first thing to do is to check on the new kitten, and whether it might need to visit a veterinarian. I once adopted an abandoned three week old kitten that had severe diarrhea, a swollen tummy and back legs that couldn’t support his weight. I immediately brought him to a vet who took care of him for a few days before I brought him home. It’s important to get a vet’s opinion on things instead of taking on sickly kittens by yourself, especially at this tender age.


Mama Cat would usually have this all covered, but now you’re in charge. Newborns are usually fed every couple of hours, though Eevee as a slightly older kitten asked for milk every 3-4 hours. She made it very clear when she was hungry, so we knew when to feed her. Don’t feed your kittens the milk you usually have with your cereal! Instead, drop by a pet store and get a nursing bottle and some lactose-free kitten’s milk. You’ll have the option of liquid milk in cartons or the powder kind that you will have to mix yourself.

Eevee and her bottle.

Some kittens might not take too kindly to the bottles. For tinier babies, it might be a better idea to find a syringe to accommodate their smaller mouths. It will take a while for your kitten to get used to an idea of a bottle – just be persistent and patient. If the kitten is chewing on the bottle and seems frustrated, it could mean that the bottle isn’t positioned properly. You’ll know she’s happy when she’s suckling rhythmically while keeping still.


Toilet Time
Kittens at this age are way too young to use a litterbox. In fact, they can’t go to the toilet at all without proper assistance. Usually, Mama Cat would lick up any waste produced by her babies, and the stimulation of her tongue will encourage them to relieve themselves. You’ll have to recreate this. Just get some newspaper to cover the ground and a damp paper towel or washcloth to act as Mama Cat’s tongue replacement.

You can go about the next step in two ways: Either roll the kitten gently onto her back or keep her standing. Either way, gently rub her bottom with the paper towel/washcloth until she starts to pee. Then it’s just a matter of keeping a rhythm going until the kitten is done. Once that’s over, you can clean up (very gently) with some baby wipes to the kitten’s bottom. If your kitten hasn’t pooped in a while, she might be constipated; if so, visit a vet for some kitten-friendly laxatives.

Nothing like a cuddle-buddy to keep you company.

With lots of love and care, your new kitten will thrive and come to see you as its new Mama Cat. And as for those times you can’t be around? There’s always the cuddly plush toy to keep her company.



Sara Ikmal

Newly graduated and working in advertising, I come from a family of cat-lovers. We've had cats throughout my entire life. Between us, we have five cats: Pebbles, Spyro, Lola, Shiro and Eevee. Other than my love for cats, I'm a bookworm who enjoys rock-climbing on the weekends.

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