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There's a weeks-old kitten that's running around the busy street I live in. My concern is that he'll start playing in the middle of the street and a car will run him over in the next few days if he doesn't see me.

I want to adopt him/her, but I'll be traveling for the next 3 days.

I was thinking of putting the kitten in our bathroom (with food, water, toilet) during those 3 days. He won't be super comfortable since he'll be stuck in the bathroom, but at least he'll be safe.

Is this a good idea?

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    Weird that every answer mentions the litter box. I've been a cat owner for 25 years now (through 2 cats), always cleaned the litter box once a week, and never had any issues with that. This is the first that I'm hearing that's supposedly not often enough.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 22:17
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    Well, my thought is not enough for a frame challenge, but, you should consider just leaving it alone altogether. Strays typically make bad pets, especially cats, and the idea that you're saving them from something is debatable.
    – user3799
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 23:32
  • @T.E.D. Some cats are more picky than others. One of the cats I've had mostly played outside, but when a litterbox was required he wouldn't go on the box again after having pooped. It had to be cleaned at least once a day to avoid problems.
    – Mast
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 0:08
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    @3799 if you check the comments, you’ll notice that the asker claims that this is not about feral or stray, but a whelp that got dumped and is not used to street life.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 19:13
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    @3799 sounds like you don't have much experience with properly socializing kittens. There are probably millions of happy pet cats out there whose mothers were fully feral. Here's a great video you can start with on fostering "feral" kittens :) youtu.be/Yw1wPeNajV8
    – Allison C
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 13:44

4 Answers 4

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No, it's a bad idea.

Why would you want to adopt the kitten now if you cannot takle care of it now? Why not wait the few days until you're back?

It's not nice not to clean the litter box for 3 days. Cats are very clean animals and this might actually cause the kitten to not use the litter box, because it's too dirty.

You don't know if the kitten will eat your food. Your question is missing the information about how old the kitten is, so I'm not sure what kind of food is appropriate. If you're not there to take care of it, you won't be able to intervene if the kitten refuses to eat your food.

Besides, you have no idea what the kitten might do, where it might go or climp or jump. Cats that are locked in an unknown room will usually try to escape and they will try all the ways to escape they can possibly find. If the kitten hurts itself trying to escape or gets stuck, you won't be able to help it. In the worst case you might come home and find it dead.

Where I live it's common for windows to tilt, so they are opened just a gap at the top but are closed at the bottom. Many cats have actually died because they tried to escape through the gap and got caught in the window. They either die by strangulation or they struggle and slide deeper into the narrowing gap, which causes internal injuries and bleeding.

Other people report that their cats drowned in the toilet bowl. I assume the cat wanted to drink from the water in the toilet and slid into it. Again other people report that their cat got stuck in a place that seemed to be too small for a cat to ever get in there. There are also stories about cats sticking their heads into things like jars or cans and then they cannot get their head out. If this happens to your kitten and there's no-one there to get it out, it cannot eat or drink.

There are so many possibilities for a frieghtened kitten to get into trouble on its own that I wouldn't leave it alone until it got used to this new situation.

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    @rbhat I do understand your concern, but my answer stays the same. I assume this is a feral kitten that was born "in the streets", so it would have learned from its mother not to walk on play on a busy street. If you have no-one who can look after the kitten for 3 days, it's safer to let it live in the streets for 3 more days before taking it in. Cats who are locked in an unknown room will try to excape and that can put them in dangerous situations you haven't even thought about. Many cats have been trapped in narrow gaps of windows or doors and have died from internal bleeding.
    – Elmy
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 19:49
  • Nope, some irresponsible a-hole didn't like the kitty and dumped it in front of my parking because they noticed that I feed other "street" kitties.
    – rbhat
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 21:40
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    While that means that the street is particularly dangerous for him, it doesn’t make the bathroom one jota safer.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 12:31
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    @rbhat there are a ton of dangers beyond the ones Elmy listed in leaving a kitten alone for three days, especially when it's immediately after introducing him to a new space. Find a local rescue; if they're full, ask if they can take the kitten until you're back and then you'll foster-to-adopt or directly adopt afterward. Even as an experienced cat owner, I put off adopting a kitten when I had to be gone for three days because of the risks; the foster held her for me until I was back home.
    – Allison C
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 14:10
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No, it’s not a good idea.

A lot of reasons regarding the environment are explained in @elmy‘s excellent post.

There are other factors on top, all related to the change in environment and the risks and pitfalls associated with it. Taking him in and not being there for the initial stage (even if you could manage to fully “kitten-proof” the room) means you

  • won't catch potential health issues he may already have (symptoms can easily be missed outside, especially with parasites and infections in the early stages) or develop (diarrhea is common when changing foods and can quickly turn lethal),
  • create negative associations (he will likely see the bathroom as something he’s trapped in, not a safe place),
  • create psychological trauma (in addition to being dumped and possibly being separated from his mother too early).

If he’s really just weeks old, he may even need help / stimulation to defecate.

To summarize it - treat the kitten like a baby or small child. You wouldn’t leave them unsupervised with a supply of food and water because the risk is just too high and potentially fatal. I applaud your initiative, but you need to find some temporary solution (a babysitter, a rescue organization, a shelter, possibly even a vet) for the three days. Or take him with you (I know one user that did so when they found a deserted kitten while traveling already), but that obviously has its own set of challenges.

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Not a good idea, the reasons why have already been answered, so I'll just propose possible alternative solutions, as I agree with your sentiment that the streets aren't particularly safe for a young kitten that has been dumped by someone in a possibly unknown territory, and might have been born inside a house.

  • leave the kitten with a friend or relative for the 3 days, providing all necessities and a cake or similar to compensate the caregivers for their troubles
  • contact local TNR groups or similar, and ask if there is a place for the kitten to stay for 3 days, stressing that you are concerned about his safety and absolutely want to keep him, offer compensation for expenses
  • leave the kitten at a local shelter, same as above, stress that you absolutely want to adopt him and are only concerned about his well-being for 3 days, offer compensation for expenses
  • bring him to your local vet for his first check-up, some vets offer to shelter animals for a few days, this will come at a price though
  • find a local pet hostel, some cities have them so you can safely drop your pets there while traveling, also comes at a price and might be a problem with unknown vaccination status
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Why add yet another answer? Well, unlike the other ones, I actually did leave a little feral kitten in my bedroom for 3-4 days unattended.

I did this because some neighbors see these kittens are a potential infestation and one of them even suggested to poison them.

Anyway, I bought special food for kittens (dry not canned), self-dispense water container, deodorant sand (in 2 recipients), some toys and a little bed.

Basically tried not to let things on plain sight and the kitten was good when I arrived (some mess but ok).

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    Welcome to pets.SE! Maybe you can enlarge your answer with some more facts, to make it more valuable for others with the same problem. How did you prepared the room? How old was the kitten? What kind of mess did you find afterwards? Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 6:08

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