How to care for a newborn kitten

Years ago, we rescued two orphaned kittens that did not survive despite our best efforts. Shattered, we began to take a particular interest in what was needed to help tiny kittens live until they can fend for themselves and find homes. If you follow a few rules, the job is as easy as it is rewarding.

A small room, safe from dogs or other cats, snug and warm in the cool season but well-ventilated and cool during summer.

A cardboard box or cat carrier lined with soft cloth — an old dupatta or towel will do.

Feeding bottle and kitten formula, or, if unavailable, diluted milk. Using an ink-filler or syringe is potentially dangerous, as the kitten can aspirate the milk, but if you have no choice, do this drop by drop and never exert pressure.

Gently wipe the kitten’s rear end with cotton wool and water — they pass tiny quantities of urine and stools. Do not bathe them but wipe with warm, damp towels and dry them off.

If the kitten feels cold, hold it close to your body, gently. Feed only after it has become warm.

Take the kitten to the veterinarian for a check-up.

Stroke them gently and talk to them. The results are magical.

Every day, kittens are cruelly discarded in dustbins or left on the street. No NGO can handle so many at a time as they need personalised care and lots of love. If a handful of people volunteer to care for them, we can save many animals from certain death.

DEVIKA KHAZVINI

(The writer is the founder of the Cattitude Trust)

Keywords: kittensSudhersena