Oh my gosh! You have found a cutie pie outside. It is cold out there, the kitten is probably abandoned, and you think it is difficult for the kitten to survive on its own.
Even if you are not a cat lover, it will be hard for you to resist the temptation to rescue the kitten that is in danger and bring her to safety—home. But you don’t know how to go about it. How to catch a stray kitten? The first idea that pops up in novice kitten rescuers’ heads, “chasing down the stray kitten and grabbing her,” is not a good idea—even if you were able to catch the kitten, there is the risk of the kitten getting hurt, besides stress and anxiety.
Catching a stray kitten may sound like an onerous task but worry not. We are going to guide you on how to catch a stray kitten?
How to Catch a Stray Kitten?
Catching a stray kitten is a three-step process. It starts with knowing the situation in-depth, executing the actual catching process, and, by the end – though mostly ignored, making sure that the kitten stays alright. Here is the elaboration:
1. Assessing the Situation
See If Mama Cat Is Around
When you find a kitten, you must not hurry to catch it. Instead, you must wait for a few minutes to make sure that she is abandoned and the mama cat is not around. Though kittens might appear to be alone and abandoned, it is not always the case. The mother cat might have just left to forage for food.
While observing the kitten, you must make sure that you lurk in a place where the kitty cannot see you. Also, you must be patient and not do anything that might frighten away the kitty.
Kitten Catching Tip!In the food search, cats usually leave their kittens alone in the mid-afternoon. If you find the kitten alone in the morning or at night, there is an increased probability that the kitty is abandoned..
Guessing the Age
You should estimate the age of the stray kitten before catching her. Since weaning kittens of younger age need preparation, you should get a rough estimate of how old the kitten is, just to make sure that you get the necessary supplies for it. Do not worry: making this guess will not take a lot of time.
See if the kitten’s eyes are open are closed. Kittens open their eyes between 8 to 12 days of birth. So, if the kitty’s eyes are closed, she is probably younger than 2 weeks.
If the kitten’s eyes are opened, check if she can walk. Kittens start walking at around 3 weeks of age. So, if she has opened her eyes but not walking, she is about 2 to 3 weeks old. And if the kitten’s eyes are open and she is walking as well, she is over 3 weeks. You can take a look at our Kitten Growth Chart: From Birth to Adulthood to guess at which stage the kitten is.
Clearing the Doubts
Kittens walk slowly and are not aware of the terrain around them as much as adult cats are. Luckily, this can give some extra time– from a few hours to a few days – to the catcher before the kitten goes far away. In case you get this extra time, you should get rid of the following doubts before proceeding further:
- Has someone in the neighborhood lost a kitten? Make sure that the kitten in question is a stray one and not anyone’s pet. Approach the people nearby and let them know about the kitty.
- Are you prepared to handle a feral cat? Stray cats, unlike the domestic ones, are very skittish. You should be prepared to handle such kitties before intending to catch them.
- Does the kitten look medically okay? You can seek vet help in this regard. If the vet discovers any serious health issues, you must be willing to bear the care expenses.
2. Catching the Kitten
This step is divided into two simple-sounding sub-steps: luring and trapping. To elaborate, you need to bring the kitten into the desired location by luring him and then, finally, making him go into a trap. However, it is not an easy process and may be very frustrating sometimes.
Luring The Stray Kitten
Instead of chasing the kitten, here are a few useful tips to get the stray kitten into the desired place:
If the kitten is very young, the kitty will not have her claws developed. In that case, it would be easy to simply pick her up and place her in the desired location.
You can effectively use the hunting instinct of kittens to lure them. Simply use a laser pointer and head the kitten to the desired location. Nevertheless, note that you might need a bit of practice before doing it.
Play the sound of any mother cat calling her kittens on your mobile device and place it in the desired location. Upon hearing those, the kitten should be compelled to reach there. However, you can also try playing the sound of prey, such as birds. Owing to their hunting instincts, cats follow the sounds of their prey.
Stray kittens are usually hungry and run towards the smell of food. You can put the pieces of cat treats in the shape of the trail heading towards the desired location. There will be a high probability that the kitten might follow it to the end.
Trapping Stray Kitten
Once the kitten reaches the desired location, it is better to confine her before you two befriend each other. You can use the same tricks discussed above to make the kitten’s way into the confined trap. Nonetheless, you should pay heed to the following recommendations to avoid any mishap:
- Make sure that the trap cannot injure the kitten. For instance, they never use the traps designed for adult cats because of their immense weight. Dropping a heavy cage on a slow-moving kitten could severely injure the kitten if she is not full in or outside it.
- Place the trap in a dark area because cats usually tend to feel safe in dim places. Besides, they may also not be able to understand the trapping mechanism and run away.
- Make the trap comfortable if you intend to keep your kitty in it for a longer time. It should have enough space and some kind of blanket material in it to comfort the kitten.
- Do not lose your patience if the kitten does not make it into the trap easily.
- Do your research and practice well before proceeding.
Be Compassionate Towards the Kitten!Getting caught can be a traumatic experience for felines. To help keep them happy, always be calm, gentle, and quiet. Additionally, you must embark on the mission of earning the trust of your kitten as soon as you catch her.
Making a DIY Kitten Trap
Going for a homemade kitten trap is great for customizability. Follow the steps below to design such:
- Cut four rectangular wooden pieces of equal size and a square piece having sides length equal to the width of the rectangular pieces.
- Glue them together to form a wooden box-type enclosure.
- Hang a glass-type material on the opening of the box using the hinges mechanism.
- Make sure that it only rotates inwards and not the other way around to not let the kitten escape. To do this, glue small wooden pieces on the glass end of the trap.
3. Caring For the Kitten
The job does not end once you catch the kitten. The real job—caring for a newborn kitten—begins when you bring the kitten home. To do it effectively and efficiently, you must adhere to the following pieces of advice:
Give Your Kitten What Her Needs
Give enough room to your kitty to help cater to her physical activity needs. Also, provide him with 75 degrees Fahrenheit temperature, a towel to sleep on, plenty of water, and an adequate amount of healthy food. You should also get your kitten used to the litter box as soon as possible.
Fancy Feast Canned Kitten Food is a delicious, protein-rich, and nutritious food for young kitties. It is made with real milk, and due to being wet food, it replenishes the water levels in the body as well.
If you have no idea how much you should be feeding the kitten, take a look at our Kitten Feeding Chart. Besides, you should also familiarize yourself with what human foods cats can eat or not eat.
Take Kitten To a Vet
You should take the kitten to the vet as soon as you catch her. The vet will provide the necessary vaccination to prevent possible diseases. He will also go for different tests to make sure that the kitten is healthy. However, note that the vet visits can be scary for young kittens; therefore, you must handle her as quietly and calmly as possible until the visit is over. Besides vaccinating the kitten and ruling out the possibility of any underlying health issues, the vet will also spay the kitten. This is crucial to ensure that you do not have an unplanned cat pregnancy on your hands and then have to mull over the idea of spaying a pregnant cat.
Keep The Kitten or Find Her a Good Home
If you are planning to keep the kitten, great! Otherwise, you will have to find a good and welcoming home for the kitten. You can put a poster in the vet clinic and ask the vet to connect you with cat lovers looking for a kitten. You can also take the kitty to your local animal shelter; if they have an empty spot, they will take in the kitten.
If you are unable to find a good home or a spot in a no-kill shelter, you will have to foster the kitten until someone comes by to adopt the kitten. You might end up falling in love with the kitten and adopting her for a lifetime.
How to Lure a Stray Kitten Out of Hiding?
The best thing you can do is to wait for some time. However, if the kitten does not come out, try to lure her with the food smell. Put some chicken or tuna pieces near the opening of the hiding place, and the kitten will surely come out to have a bite.
How Long Do Kittens Hide if They Are Scared?
Normally, scared kittens hide no more than one to five hours. However, this amount of time may exceed as long as seven days. Once brought home, kittens might still feel scared and may go into hiding for up to two days, especially if you have other ‘stranger’ pets as well.
How to Befriend a Stray Kitten Quickly?
There is no shortcut to friendship—it takes time to win a kitten over. You must be patient and compassionate with the kitten; give her ample space and time. Instead of pushing yourself onto the kitten, you should wait for her to warm up to you.
Can I Use Pillowcase to Make a Trap?
As long as the trap is not harmful to kittens, they are perfectly fine for use. Since pillowcases are harmless, too, they can safely be deployed for this purpose. However, you should make sure that you leave some space in it for the kitten to breathe easily.
Conclusion: How to Catch a Stray Kitten?
After making sure that the kitten is really abandoned, you can move on to catching her. Lure her into a confined space using delicious treats, birds, or cat sounds, and then trap the kitten. Make sure that the trap is safe for young kittens. After catching the kitten, you should take her to a veterinarian and get her spayed. After that, you can foster the kitten until you find a good home for her.