There is a yellow-black female feral cat that likes giving birth in my attic. I work directly below the attic, so I can hear the sounds of the newly-born kittens. A few months back she had a litter. On a rainy Sunday morning, when I went back up to the workroom after a coffee break below, there was a dripping wet kitten right below the cutting board. It was deposited there by the mother.
After some reading up on the topic, I found that mother cats regularly abandon their kittens. Some kittens get rejected right after birth. The mother would give it no attention. Some kittens get killed by the mother. Some are deposited near humans in the hope that the humans would take care of it.
The wet white kitten was barely a week old because its eyes have not yet opened. It was very feeble, having been meowing a long time without food. It just kept meowing. I see no way to keep it alive. So I decided to give it a swift end. I put on some disposable gloves, and going out to my balcony, threw it up high into the air. It then dropped some 20 meters onto some roof tiles below and was never heard from again.
Today, there was incessant meowing behind the door that opened to the attic. I opened it and saw a tan kitten. It looked me in the face for a moment, then scampered away. I chased, but it went into a dark through that I couldn't reach.
It was still meowing a few hours later. It was obvious the mother had abandoned it. The mother's litter was elsewhere in the roof -- this kitten had been segregated and left to its own fate. One of its eyes was severely infected -- it was only half open and covered in green pus. Otherwise it looked quite healthy, and is at least 3 weeks old.
I had to do something about it because otherwise it would die in the attic and smell really bad. It would also be death by dehydration or starvation -- not a good way to die.
But this was an energetic kitten that could see. It hid from me. It saw me as a threat. I had to bait it so I could capture it. I fetched my laptop, went on youtube, and played some videos of cats meowing. Did it respond! It meowed right back! I had to play a few videos of cats meowing but saw that the kitten responded strongly to a vid of another 3-week old kitten meowing. I played it on loop. The tan kitten meowed the whole time in synch with the vid, and started coming closer. Eventually it came so close that I could reach out and catch it.
It was immediately obvious to me that I cannot kill this kitten. It was healthy, it was conscious. So I went on the internet to find out how to care for abandoned 3-week old kittens.
The last 4 hours I have been preoccupied with the kitten. I hand-fed it with some milk injected via a contact lens solution bottle. I bathed it in a warm tea tree oil soapy water -- the water was brown with dirt! I also saw that it suffered from lice infestation -- its skin was covered in lice. I dripped contact lens solution onto its eyes (the solution is antiseptic) -- the infected eye cleared up rapidly, within hours, and looks normal now.
The kitten is now sleeping in a Muji silicone laundry basket with some wrapping paper over it (kittens, I found out just now, like to be under something, they dislike being in the open all exposed).
^3-week old feral kitten sleeping in a silicone laundry basket