Cold kitten at the door
January 25, 2008 5:54 PM   Subscribe

It is freezing outside, and I just took inside a kitten (about a foot long). What do I have suitable for food beside milk that would not harm it? What can I improvise for a litter box? I do not want to go out shopping for cat stuff tonight.
posted by francesca too to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Don't give the cat milk, it will give the cat the runs. Use torn up newspaper strips in a copy box lid for a litter box or bed for the kittie. Canned fish, chicken breast, plain vanilla yogurt in a small amount would be okay.

Thank you for taking in a stray! Your local Humane Society can probably help you with free/low cost spay or neutering and basic shots if you decide to keep it.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:05 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try a little scrambled egg, cooked chicken or lean ground beef, mixed with some cooked white rice or bread. If you can puree it into goo, all the better. Just a little carb mixed in with the protein (try 1 part carb to 4 parts protein) shouldn't upset its stomach. You're best off avoiding milk and just giving it water, or try a small dab of yogurt. The kitten is probably large enough to have some lactose tolerance problems.

Litter box: do you have a shallow plastic tub around? If not, a cardboard box you can line with a garbage bag? If you don't have any sand or potting soil on hand, try torn up newspaper.
posted by maudlin at 6:06 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Do you know any friends or neighbors with cats that might be able to donate you some supplies.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:07 PM on January 25, 2008

Best answer: kitten rescue handbook
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:07 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kitten Rescue Handbook - most of the advice is for very young kittens but toward the bottom there's info on older cats.

Milk is actually not ideal since it can cause an upset tummy, especially when the kitten might be underfed to begin with. Water should be fine for drinking. For food - well, cats are carnivores, so any type of meat should go over well. No cat I know can resist canned tuna. Just don't give it anything that might contain onions or grapes, those are toxic to cats.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 6:07 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cow's milk isn't such a great thing to give cats. It can upset their stomachs and lead to diarrhea.

Cats must eat a fairly specialized diet in order to get all of the nutrients they need, but just for tonight, feeding the kitten human food won't hurt.

Scrambled eggs, shredded, unseasoned chicken or beef, or canned tuna (really, any kind of cooked meat) will warm the kitten's belly and keep her from being hungry. None of these things are sufficient for long-term feeding, but one night of decadence isn't going to kill her.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:08 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just echoing what others say about the litter box and food. Even a shoebox could work, if you cut a hole in the side so it can climb through. Preferably no seasoned meats--so honey-barbecue deli meat is not a great idea. A little canned tuna would work, too.

And empty toilet paper tubes and crumpled up balls of foil tied to a string work great as toys in a pinch.

Thank you for taking this kitten in! Pictures!
posted by schroedinger at 6:11 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I type too slowly, and everything I was going to say has been said, except...

One or two meals of not-specifically-for-cats food will do it no harm, as long as it doesn't contain onion or garlic (very bad for cats!).

Yeah - pictures!
posted by rtha at 6:13 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you have a shredder, shred some newspaper to make litter. All the better if it's a crosscut shredder.

As others have said, no milk.
posted by essexjan at 6:24 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yay for kitty rescue!
Nthing the anti-milk sentiment. Also be sure *not* to give the little monster chocolate or anything with onions, as they are both toxic to purrilous beasties.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:01 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can of tuna, if you've got it. Not too much.

Anything you give it will make it your bff, but tuna makes them purr louder.

All the advice above seems useful.
posted by Toekneesan at 7:02 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everybody: just made a litter box with shredded newspaper. Took away the milk and gave a litle plain yogurt instead. It seems happy. I took pictures with my new Xmas present digital, and I will post when I figure out how to upload the pictures to the computer. Thanks again. Love Mefites and their kindness!
posted by francesca too at 7:34 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

You are teh awesome, francesca!
posted by Doohickie at 7:50 PM on January 25, 2008

Kudos for kitty rescue! A friend of mine did this once (just for tonight, since it's so cold out) and it's going on 13 years that "one night" has lasted. I recall that while she was trying to construct a makeshift litterbox, the kitty took matters into her own paws and used the dirt in a nearby potted plant.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:24 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

You are wonderful. I too hope we get some pictures!
posted by evariste at 12:30 AM on January 26, 2008

(Wish I could help, but I'm not really a kittycat expert)
posted by evariste at 12:31 AM on January 26, 2008

What a thoughtful thing to do...I hope the kitten grows on you so much that you keep it. They're really wonderful animals, and only get better the more mature they become. Good on you, Francesca.
posted by motown missile at 2:19 AM on January 26, 2008

Best answer: Ohh! A new kitty! Was it 'crying' when you found it? (I'm going to imagine it was crying :) .) Oh that is sooo cute!

Can we see it, please?

Oh and if you're interested have a read of this - (Nutrition info)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 4:56 AM on January 26, 2008

Response by poster: I posted some pictures on flickr

The kitten is very friendly and not scared at all: I'll make an effort to find the owners in the neighborhood (maybe just a slight effort). She will have a home here if nobody claims her. (Ithink it is a she)
posted by francesca too at 3:17 PM on January 26, 2008

What a cutie!
posted by evariste at 6:31 PM on January 26, 2008

posted by Soulbee at 10:08 AM on January 28, 2008

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