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Advice needed on caring for kittens

val douest

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We think we are just about to take delivery of one or two kittens

(probably 5-6 weeks old) which are otherwise going to be disposed

of.  The mother is a barn cat (not feral) belonging to the farm

opposite a friend's house.  Her kittens are usually removed when

they are small but this litter of three escaped the usual fate because

she hid them so carefully and the owner has agreed to let them be

rehomed.  Sadly she will not let the mother be neutered as it is

'not natural'.

We already have a very assertive, spoiled and much loved cat (a

neutered male) so I have noted carefully the recent thread on

introducing the new arrivals.  We acquired him as a fully grown

cat so our experience of kittens is limited.  I have adapted a

play pen (lined to stop the kittens  pushing through the bars) and

this is where  they will start off, in our utility room.  I

have bought some food (Royal Canin Babycat 34) which is apparently fine

for kittens from 4 weeks old, litter tray plus newspaper etc is all

ready, but I have a couple of questions.

Is it possible/advisable to treat such small kittens against worms

and/or fleas?  If so, can the appropriate products be bought from

the pharmacy or do we have to visit the vet?  (Names of any

suitable products would be very helpful ).  We will take them to

the vet to be checked over in due course but would rather wait a while;

at what age should they have their first vaccinations?  Are they

best just given water to drink, or should they have the special 'Cat

Milk' from the pet section of the supermarket?

They have obviously not been handled and are not used to humans. 

Does this mean that they are unlikely to become house cats and will

remain just 'cats that we feed'? I am anxious that they stay around

long enough for us to have them neutered at around six months (or can

it be done earlier?) as there are far too many feral cats already in

the area.

Any input from anyone who as acquired kittens in similar circumstances would be much appreciated.

Many thanks


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We had our kittens vaccinated [if I remember correctly] at around 12 weeks for the first dose and then 4 weeks later for the second for Feline enteritis, leukaemia, etc.

It seems today that you can worm kittens from 4 weeks with Drontal as long as they weigh more than 1.5lbs or  0.7 kgs - I buy the tablets from the vet, though as our 4 kittens were the product of a 'wild' rescued cat I let the vet do all the necessary the first time around as he was much more accomplished at administration than me!

We use Frontline against worms and ticks - which I buy from the pharmacy or garden centre - wherever is cheapest. It says you can use it from 8 weeks old on the box.


Edit: the kittens grew up into loving, friendly cats - though initially we were concerned they would be 'hiss and spit merchants' like their mum. We eventually inherited mum too and she turned into a loving, but wary, cat too - though it did take about 6 or 7 years!

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When I  inherited two kittens  at  10 weeks who hadn't been  handled I spent some time  on the net  learning about how to  tame feral kittens and learned that there is a critical stage (about  12  weeks) after which it will become very difficult to handle them so... I would  suggest  that you try to  pat them and get them used to being handled and to taking food from you. I  did it by keeping them in separate cages for a few weeks and feeding them  by hand (with garden gloves on) so that they would  get used to hands coming towards them and also so that they would learn to bond with humans rather than just with each other (which will keep them feral). It took some time but now they are lovely domesticated cats albeit a bit shy still but since yours are younger you have a better chance of success at fully domesticating them I think.

Good luck

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