What Are The Basic Considerations When Hand
There are several basic functions to be addressed when hand-rearing kittens. These include the provision of a suitable clean, warm environment, a suitable feeding regimen, attention to urination and defecation , and attention to general health. The major problems encountered when trying to hand-rear kittens are chilling, dehydration and starvation . These three conditions are interrelated and close observation is necessary if they are to be noticed, and if occurring, for prompt action to be taken in time. Kittens are very fragile, hence they can become ill and die very quickly.
Total dedication and commitment is required by the carer at all times.
- Newborn kittens need up to 10 feeds in each 24 hour period
- The carers lifestyle will need to be flexible. Kittens, like babies, need to be with you at all times, wherever you may be
- Carers should not exceed the allotted interval between feeding times
- Kittens when hungry, will move about in search of milk. If left, they will soon get tired and fall asleep again. This is undesirable and certainly not to be recommended. It is important they are fed on time
How To Help Prevent Your Kitten From Becoming Overweight
According to a statistic from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, approximately 50% of cats seen by vets are overweight40% of which likely fall into the obese category. So, how do you know if your cat is obese and what can you do to help prevent your kitten from becoming overweight?
In order to determine if a cat is obese, you can perform a rib check, profile check, and overhead check. A rib check involves running both hands across a cats rib cage, while a profile check requires you to get a side view of your cat. An overhead check is simply looking at your cat from above. If you cant feel your cats ribs, cant see their waistline, or there are heavy fat deposits around the face and limbs, those are signs of obesity.
You can prevent your cat from becoming overweight by making sure youre feeding them a healthy diet. Start by choosing the right food, then carefully measure quantities and stick to a feeding schedule to prevent overfeeding. You should also avoid giving your cat any human food. Consider using cat toys and other objects and activities to keep your kitten active exercise is an essential part of preventing kittens from becoming overweight.
What Human Food Can Kittens Eat
Cats are obligate carnivores, so really your cat can eat plain, well-cooked meat of any kind. Raw or undercooked meat is not good for your cat, as bacteria and parasites can cause serious health concerns in your cat including diarrhea and vomiting.
Cats should only eat up to 10 percent of their daily food requirements as food other than their main balanced diet.
If you choose to feed human food to your cat, it would equate to approximately 1 tablespoon in total per day. As long as the human food is safe for your cat and all treats including human food are kept to a total of 1 tablespoon per day, your kitten can enjoy some human food!
Examples of safe human foods for kittens include:
- Meat, plain and well-cooked
- Fruit , fresh and plain including strawberries!
- Starches, plain and cooked such as rice, potato, bread or noodles
- Popcorn, cooked without salt or butter
Read Also: Iams Urinary Health Cat Food
How Much Food Should I Feed My Kitten
As kittens age their calorie needs change, so it can be difficult to decide exactly how much to feed them. Rather than guessing, its worth calculating your kittens energy needs.
Young, unweaned kittens need 20-25kcal for every 100g of bodyweight each day. You can use the calorie content on your kitten milk replacer label to determine how much milk you should feed your kitten. Weighing your kitten regularly can help to ensure theyre taking enough milk to grow properly.
Once your kitten has fully weaned, usually around eight weeks, hell need to be taking in around 250-280 calories a day. However, this can vary between breeds and individuals, so you should take your vets advice into account. Start by feeding the amount of food recommended on the cat food label, then adjust as necessary to make sure your kitten gains weight at the right rate.
Once your kitten reaches six months of age or is neutered, you can start to reduce their daily calorie intake to their adult requirement. On average, this is 200kcal/day, but this depends on your cats weight. Your vet will be able to advise, or a calorie calculator can help you.
Weeks Two And Three Feeding Schedules
A 2 to 3-week old kitten will still need to be fed every 2-3 hours and it should consume at least 1/2 tablespoon of formula or milk during each meal. If a kitten is nursing from its mother, you’ll have to depend on how much the kitten weighs to know whether or not it is consuming enough food. Between days 8 through 18, its weight should increase to about 10 oz. and it will begin to crawl around shortly after its eyes open.
By the end of week 3, a kitten will be able to stand up and will have begun to interact with its littermates. Playing, ear-biting, wrestling, and exploring behaviors will begin and are important parts of socialization.
Don’t Miss: How Long Is A Cat’s Life Span
How Do I Keep A Newborn Kitten Warm
Kittens should be kept in a cat carrier wrapped in a few layers of towels. Using a heating pad or heat disc for pets alongside a soft fleece blanket can also help keep them warm. Ensure that the carrier is large enough for your kitten to move away from the heater when they want to.
It is very important to keep your cat carrier in a safe, warm room away from other pets. Itâs helpful to go and check on your kitten throughout the day. If your kitten feels cold, you need to warm them up as soon as possible.
How To Feed Kittens With A Bottle
Bottle feeding kittens may not be the easiest option when they are very young. Many people find that an eye dropper or small syringe works best at first. Once kittens are a bit older, you may still need to try several different nipple styles before you find the one that your kitten uses best.
When youre ready to feed, first make sure the kitten is warm. If their ears, feet or mouth are cool to the touch, they could be hypothermic and unable to digest their food. Under normal circumstances, kittens will snuggle up with their mom and littermates, but hand-raised kittens dont have this natural source of warmth. They must be housed in a warm, draft-free environment with adequate bedding and access to a safe, hot water bottle or heating pad.
Next, place the kitten on a towel on your lap in a normal, belly down position. Never feed a kitten on their back because they may inhale rather than swallow the milk! Support the back of the head with one hand while you guide the nipple into the mouth with the other. Hold the bottle in a tipped position so any air inside is at the point farthest away from the nipple. Watch or gently feel the kittens throat to ensure they are suckling and swallowing. Your veterinarian can give you tips on bottle feeding kittens if you run into trouble.
Don’t Miss: Can I Get A Cat If I M Allergic
How To Feed A 1 Month Old Kitten
In short, the diet of a 1-month-old cat will consist of:
- Formula milk for cats
- Start introducing dry cat food or wet cat food
- Always provide them with fresh and clean water
- They should be fed 4-5 times a day
- We do not recommend providing them with food that is always available as it can lead to certain eating and behavioural problems
- When they reach seven weeks, they should be exclusively fed dry food or wet food for kittens
How To Mix Gruel
Small batch : ½ can of wet kitten food mixed with ¼ can of formula .
Large batch: Whisk 8 cans wet kitten food with 4 cans of fresh, warm formula . At this age, kittens like their food a little lumpy so they can chew.
Note: Substitute the warm water for formula in gruel for kittens 5 weeks and older.
Helpful tips when using gruel:
- When introducing kittens to gruel, put gruel in a flat dish and place kittens near the dish. If they do not start to eat on their own after a few minutes, use tongue depressor or spoon to scoop gruel into kittens mouth. You may have to open their mouth and put a little in. You can also put a little gruel on their nose and see if they will lick it off. Sometimes the kittens need to adjust to the new taste.
- Once kitten starts to eat gruel off the spoon or tongue depressor , slowly start to lower it towards the dish of gruel. The kittens should easily transition from the spoon or depressor to the dish .
- During the weaning process, kittens still need to be bottle-fed three times per day to ensure they are receiving proper nutrients.
Also Check: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin And Stomach Wet Cat Food
Feeding Kittens 4 To 5 Weeks Old
By the time a kitten is about 4 weeks old, its often ready to start eating solid food. Introduce solid food slowly into their diet by mixing a little canned kitten food with milk replacer on a tablespoon. It may take a few tries, but eventually, your kitten will be interested enough to begin lapping up the mixture on its own. Sometimes it helps to gently rub a tiny bit of canned food on the kittens lips to give them a little sampling of whats available. Never rush this process. A kitten will begin eating solid foods on their own schedulea timeline that can vary from kitten to kitten.
Meanwhile, keep offering milk replacer in a bottle to make sure the kitten is maintaining their weight and getting all the nutrition they require. Weighing your kitten every day or so is also a good way to be sure your pet is gaining weight and developing properly. Make sure to provide a shallow bowl of fresh water once the kitten reaches 4 weeks of age.
Feeding A Kitten Over 8 Weeks Of Age
Once a kitten has surpassed eight weeks of age, they should be fed twice a day with normal kitten food. Solid food should not be an issue for kittens of this age but they may still try to nurse on occasion. Between eight and ten weeks of age, a kitten should be fully weaned and preparing to leave its mother if you plan to find the kitten a new home. The first vaccinations are typically administered at about eight weeks of age, so when the kittens have a vet visit, you can be sure they have been growing appropriately.
Also Check: How Much And How Often To Feed A Cat
# Clean Up The Placenta In The Mother Cat
Although the mother cat was able to give birth and clean his body by itself sometimes there is still a placenta that is left on the kittens body makes the mother cat does not want to close the baby. You can help clean it by cutting out the placenta so that the kittens to be clean that helps the mother cat to breastfeed as soon as possible.
Also Check: Why Does My Cat Smell My Eyes
What Are Some Best Practices For Proper Kitten Hygiene
Orphaned kittens require you to pay strict attention to their hygiene for optimal health and development. Follow these best practices for proper kitten hygiene:
- bottles and nipples should be cleaned and then boiled in water to sterilize them between uses.
- never prepare more milk replacer than can be used within 24 hours and always keep it refrigerated.
- discard formula after 1 hour if left at room temperature.
- once or twice each week, gently wash the kittens with a moist cloth.
|Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CRPP|
Recommended Reading: What Happens If You Smoke Cat Nip
Choosing The Best Kitten Food
When it comes to kitten food, quality counts. Choose only food that has been certified by Association of American Feed Control Officials , which establishes nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. This means that the food has been tested to make sure it is properly balanced for your kittens growing needs. If youve adopted a kitten from a shelter, find out what the kitten was eating previously and stick with that diet to avoid stomach upset.
How Often Should A 6
6-week-old kittens should eat every two to three hours, but this can vary depending on the cats age and metabolism. A kitten that is just 6 weeks old may need to eat more often than a cat that is 2 years old. Its best to feed your kitten on a schedule, so that it doesnt become used to eating at random times. This will be easier for you and your kitten in the long run.
You May Like: Where Do Microchips Go In Cats
Is It Ok For Kittens To Eat Dry Food Only
According to veterinarian Lauren Jones, feeding kittens dry food only is perfectly acceptable as long as you choose the right food. Dr. Jones says, Dry food only diets are perfectly fine for kittens, provided that you are offering a diet formulated for growth, like a kitten or all life stage diet. Dr. Jones also recommends mixing your kittens old food with their new food for the first five to seven days. The gradual transition makes it easier for your kittens delicate digestive systems to adjust to their new food.
How Often Should I Feed My Kitten Wet Food
When kittens are very young and starting to wean at around four weeks of age, soft food should be available most of the time. This is so that they can explore and try little bits, as and when they like. As your kitten gets older you might decide to keep him on wet food, or change to only dry food, its up to you.
But regardless of whether you are feeding wet or dry, the recommended frequency of feeding is the same. Kittens aged 8-16 weeks will be on four meals a day, at 16 weeks to six months they will be eating three times a day and by six months of age onwards they should be on two meals per day.
Don’t Miss: What Is Cat Years To Human
Kitten Feeding Schedule: How Much Food Kittens Need
Just like human babies, kittens do a lot of growing in the first year of their lives. The kind of food and how much a kitten consumes directly affects their growth rate and development. By making sure a kitten is on a proper feeding schedule, you’ll be able to monitor your kitten’s growth and ensure they are receiving appropriate nutrition.
What Should A 4 Week Old Kitten Be Doing
If you find a 4 week old kitten, try your best to find the mother.
Kittens this young desperately need their mother to help them get big and strong. However, if no mother is found, that is not a death sentence to your kitty. Educate yourself, get the supplies you need, and become the kitty mother of the world!
Remember to have patience throughout this whole process, especially if this is your first time handling orphaned kittens. Everything will come with time and getting frustrated wont help anyone.
The most important things for them right now are warmth, shelter, and food. If they have that and are starting to gain weight as they should then you doing good!
And that means in a few days you will move onto week FIVE!!! WHAT!!!. Are you guys ready for that one?! Soon you will have adult cats on your hands!
Also Check: Home Remedy For Cat Vomiting White Foam
What Should I Track In A Logbook
Maintaining a logbook about the orphaned kittens does not need to be complicated. The reason for the logbook is to simply keep track of how the kittens are doing so you can identify if there are any potential concerns with their development.
Tracking their weights, milestones, and routines are key, so be sure to record details of when their eyes open, when their teeth begin to erupt, their food intake, and stool consistency.
TIP: Individual kittens must be identified in some way, so consider colored collars or nail polish on a few front toenails.
Young Kittens Up To Four Weeks
Newborn kittens will be getting all their nutrition from their mothers milk. However, if you find yourself in the position of needing to hand-rear a kitten then you will need some special kitten formula milk dont be tempted to give them cows milk!
At this age, your kitten will need to be bottle-fed every 2-3 hours. Youll also need to ensure they are toileting by stimulating them with a wet cloth if the mother cat isnt there to do it. If you find an abandoned kitten or if your cat neglects her kittens after giving birth, it would be a good idea to get them checked over by a vet. Raising kittens is hard work, and its best to seek professional advice.
- Newborn kittens: A vets guide to care
Read Also: Are String Of Hearts Toxic To Cats