What Should You Expect When Caring For Newborn Kittens
Caring for orphaned neonatal kittens takes round the clock effort, but it can be done if you are willing to put in the time and dedication. You have to be prepared to get up throughout the night for the feedings. Its very much like caring for a human baby in that regard. However, they grow up much faster, so you are not doing it for months at a time. But it still takes a similar dedication. You definitely have sleepless nights and periods of worry. Are they getting enough to eat? Are they growing the way they are supposed to?
It can also be really sad sometimes, because they dont all make it. Some studies say that the mortality rate for kittens can be up to 40 percent. But you definitely create a real bond caring for them through that period.
Feral Mom Returns Do Not Fear
Leave the family outside, and provide food, water, and shelter. The mother will likely move the kittens, do not worry. If she knows this is a safe place with a stable food source, shell return with them. If you are able to commit, the kittens should be taken away from their mom when theyre able to eat on their own . When you bring them inside, handle them often to get them used to human socialization. The kittens should be fixed and adopted out around 8-10 weeks of age. If you cannot foster and socialize the kittens, leave the kittens outside! Dont socialize a kitten that you cannot place they will learn survival skills from their mother that will give them their best chance at outdoor survival as a feral cat.
What Do I Do If A Kitten Becomes Constipated
Constipation is a very common problem in hand reared kittens, due to the difficulty in stimulating defecation sufficiently frequently. Normal faeces have the consistency of toothpaste. If the faeces become very hard, making the kitten strain excessively, or if a kitten does not pass any motions for 23 days, small doses of liquid paraffin or Katalax should be given . Severe cases require veterinary attention.
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How Much To Feed Newborn Kittens
You’ll need to know the weight of the kittens in order to determine how much to feed.
- You can purchase a small animal or baby scale for this purpose.
- Depending on which brand of kitten food you use, the label will give you explicit instructions on how much to feed based on your kitten’s body weight.
- In general, a kitten should have 8 milliliters of kitten formula per ounce of body weight daily.
- Kittens under two weeks of age should eat every two hours, and kittens three to four weeks of age should eat every three to four hours.
- The pet feeding bottle you use should have measurement marks on the side to indicate how much food has filled the tube.
Four Weeks Old Kitten
Its been one whole month! Its amazing how quickly these helpless kittens have grown up over a four-week period. Darling, Denby, Corduroy, Tweed, and Wembley are thriving babies, starting to explore the world around them and play frequently with friends and toys.
At four weeks old, Corduroy is ready to explore!
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How Often Should 4 Week Old Kittens Eat
A question I get a lot is How many times a day should a kitten be fed?
A four-week-old kitten needs to be fed at least 18-20 MLS of formula and water combination every 5-6 hours, but can usually go through the night without having to be fed.
YES! If you have been caring for your kitten since week one or two, then you are fairly sleep deprived. Guess what?! You can sleep through the night now!
Well, as long as the kitten lets you. But feeding wise, they can usually go through the night without feeding so long as they are fed right before bed and right when you wake up in the morning.
When it comes to choosing formula, you can use any Kitten Milk Replacer that works best for you. I usually recommend KMR Kitten Formula, because it is what I use and what I have had success on in the past. With newborn kittens, I dont like to try new things until they are really in the clear.
So whatever formula you do choose, I recommend sticking with it as long as your kitten likes it.
Like in the other weeks, you want to make sure you use kitten formula to replace a mothers milk. Do not use cows milk. You will want to do about an ounce of formula per ounce of body weight.
When feeding a kitten, you want to read the instructions on the formula to determine the proportions of water to formula to get the minimum amount that the kitten needs.
From there, the formula mixture can be placed in a bottle.
From there you are ready to start bottle feeding.
How Often Should I Feed My Kitten A Vets Advice
‘How often should I feed my kitten?’ is a common question asked by many new cat owners. Although the answer might seem simple, it can vary depending on your cats age, growth rate, and even breed. Knowing how much and how often to feed a young kitten the best kitten food is key to ensuring they have a healthy start in life. Lets explore normal kitten eating patterns in more detail.
- Which kitten food is best? A vet’s guide to choosing the best diet for your young cat
- Best kitten toys: Teasers, scratchers and laser pointers for your young cat
- How long should cats eat kitten food for?
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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.
How Often Should I Feed My Kitten Milk
It depends on their age as to how much milk your kitten needs. As discussed earlier , newborn kittens will be getting all their nutrition from milk and will need to feed every 2-3 hours. This lessens as they get older and by the time they are fully weaned they shouldnt require any milk at all. From the age of eight weeks old your kitten should only drink water.
Dont be tempted to give cows milk to your kitten, even as a treat, as it could cause tummy upset.
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Finishing Up The Routine
When you have finished feeding, play with the kitten for a while to encourage movement: this will assist with burping, removing gas that may have entered the stomach.
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It makes sense to carry out other aspects of kitten care at this time. This includes wiping under their tails with a moist cotton ball or washcloth to encourage urination and defecation . As urine and feces are passed, be sure to clean it all up thoroughly.
Remember to thoroughly clean all utensils including bottles and nipples: cleanliness around young kittens is very important as their undeveloped immune systems leave them very vulnerable at this time of life.
Newborn Kitten Care By The Numbers
Kittens are born completely defenseless. Their eyes and ears are shut, and they are unable to even crawl. But they develop quickly. Each stage of newborn kitten care is different, so determining a kittens age is key to his survival.
Heres a handy age-at-a-glance guide :
- Zero to 7 days: Kitten weighs under 4 ounces. Eyes closed and ears flat.
- 1 week to 10 days: Kitten weighs 4 to 6 ounces. Eyes start opening, ears still flat.
- 2 weeks: Kitten weighs 6 to 8 ounces. Eyes opened, a bit of crawling, mostly sleeping and nursing.
- 3 weeks: Kitten weighs 8 to 12 ounces. Teeth begin to emerge and kittens begin to walk.
- 4 to 5 weeks: Kitten weighs 8 ounces to 1 pound. Kittens are on the move theyll begin using the litter box and eating solid food.
- 6 to 7 weeks: Kitten weighs 1 pound to 1 ½ pounds. Super playful.
- 8 weeks: Kitten weighs 1 ½ pounds to 2 pounds. Ready to take on the world and your drapes!
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What Are Some Special Handling Techniques To Keep Them Healthy And Safe
In the first four weeks of their life, minimize the number of people who handle the kitten. During that time, they have not yet built up their immune systems, and they are prone to illnesses and infections. Be sure to wash your hands before and after each time you handle them.
Avoid allowing the kitten to interact with other animals even other cats. You never know how another animal will treat a small kitten, and neonatal cats are fragile in this stage of life.
If you have more than one kitten from the same litter, you can definitely keep them in the same box. They can help keep each other warm. If they are from different litters, you can still keep them in the same box, unless they are radically different ages or sizes. Also, dont mix sick and healthy kittens.
Pick The Right Supplies
For small babies, I recommend a 3cc oral syringe You can find these online for less than ten cents a piece. In a pinch, ask your local veterinarian or animal shelter for a few 3cc syringes they will definitely have some on hand.
Ideally, you will use the 3cc syringe in combination with a Miracle Nipple. The Miracle Nipple is a very helpful tool that fits on a bottle or on a syringe. The nipple comes in both small and large sizes, and is perfect for helping tiny kittens get a good latch. If no Miracle Nipple is available, it may be challenging to get a kitten to latch, and you may want to opt for a standard bottle.
You will also need to purchase kitten formula. Do not attempt to feed a kitten cow’s milk or other dairy products, dairy alternatives, or human baby formula, as this can be dangerous or fatal for the kitten. Kitten formula can be purchased at most pet supply stores, or can be found in rural areas at feed stores. You can also buy it online by visiting the links on my supplies page.
Tip: Be sure to pick up at least a dozen syringes, as you don’t want to use them over and over again, even if you’re sanitizing them. Used syringes can operate less smoothly, making it harder and more dangerous to feed the kitten.
A neonatal kitten with a 1cc syringe
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Cleaning And Flea Control
After each feeding session, you should also give them a full-body, once-over wipe with a barely damp washcloth, using short strokes like a mom-cat would use. This keeps their fur clean, teaches them how to groom, and gives them the attention and mothering they crave. Kittens will often get very dirty and mucked-up in between cleanings. Its okay to wash a kitten with warm water under a sink faucet, but try to focus only on the areas where they need it. A simple butt-bath will usually do the trick, but if you must get a kitten wet over more than half of its body, its safe to dry kittens over one week old with a hair dryer set on low and used very carefully, avoiding their faces.
You should also check their ears regularly for dirt and especially after initial rescue ear mites. Dirt can be cleaned gently with a cotton ball or swab. Consult your vet if you find the tell-tale ear mite coffee-ground type dirt.
If you dont have a safe flea spray, you can wash the kitten with a gentle dishwashing soap like Dawn or Palmolive , or a citrus-based shampoo, and comb all the fleas out afterwards. Make sure water temperature is lukewarm so as not to chill the kitten. Dry the kitten, if old enough, with a blow dryer or you can towel-dry it, then put it in a carrier and aim the blow dryer into it the carrier to gently dry the kitten with warm, circulating air.
Should Kittens Be Wormed Regularly
Since intestinal parasites are common in kittens, all kittens should be treated with drugs to kill the parasites from about 3 weeks of age. Before each dosing the kittens should be accurately weighed, since if too little wormer is given it may not be effective, and if too much is given it may make the kittens ill. In many kittens the worms cause no clinical signs, while in others they can result in poor body condition, soft or bloody stools, loss of appetite, a potbellied appearance and weight loss. Some worms can be transmitted through the stools of infected cats, while others are carried by fleas. Good hygiene and flea control are therefore essential.
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Supplies You Will Need For Newborns And Young Kittens:
- Kitten formula such as Just Born or KMR . The liquid formula is best to use if you are not sure what to do.
- Feeding bottles and several nipples .
- Eye dropper or syringe in case the kitten will not eat from the bottle.
- Several bath towels for bedding and cleaning kittens.
- Kitchen food scale for weighing kittens .
- Digital rectal thermometer
- Have Emergency Veterinarian or Veterinary Clinic number on-hand.
Five Weeks Old Kitten
Showing their independence, Darling, Denby, Corduroy, Tweed, and Wembley are beginning to demonstrate their individual personalities: Darling is a talker Denby is always up for adventure and a good wrestle Corduroy is brave and confident Tweed is sweet and loves belly rubs and Wembley is a cuddle bug and full of silly mischief.
Corduroy, brave and confident!
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Stimulation And Litter Box Training
Kittens should and almost always will urinate during each stimulation. They should defecate at least once a day. One trick is to slowly count to 60 while youre stimulating a kitten. At that point, youll know if theyre done or if somethings on its way out!
When kittens get to be about four weeks old, they are usually ready to experience the wonderful world of litterboxes and youll be liberated from stimulation duty! Youll want to make sure you initially use good old-fashioned clay litter , as small kittens can end up ingesting the clumping kind of litter and it can cause problems internally. After each meal, put the kitten in the box and see what transpires. If they dont get it right away, try taking its paw and showing it how to scratch in the litter. Theyll catch on before you know it!
Recognition And Treatment Of Illness In Kittens
If kittens cry excessively, or fail to suck, they are usually hungry or ill. Common signs of illness include the kittens being cold , lethargic , or regurgitating milk. Sick kittens respond poorly to their environment, they often lay separated from the other kittens, and are often ignored by their mother. They typically have either very empty abdomens from lack of food or very swollen abdomens from swallowing air. Since kittens can die very quickly, they should be examined by a veterinary surgeon as soon as possible to ensure that nothing serious is going wrong.
The most common health problems seen in young kittens are probably hypothermia , hypoglycaemia , dehydration, diarrhoea and constipation. Newborn kittens may die suddenly, or present as poor doers and fade within a few days. Unfortunately, the clinical signs of many kitten diseases are very similar and vague.
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What Do Orphaned Kittens Need For Proper Nutrition
Water is a critical nutrient for orphaned kittens, just as it is for all other stages of their life. Normal water intake is relatively high for kittens, needing 155-230 milliliters of fluid per kilogram of body weight each day.
“Compared to cow’s milk, queen’s milk contains more than twice as much protein, which helps explain why cow’s milk is not ideal for feeding orphaned kittens.”
On average, the total fluid volume fed per day should be approximately 180mL/kg of kitten body weight. Queen’s milk is highly digestible and very calorie dense. Compared to cow’s milk, queen’s milk contains more than twice as much protein, which helps explain why cow’s milk is not ideal for feeding orphaned kittens.
Commercial kitten milk replacers are recommended as they are superior to cow’s milk and home-made mixtures. The milk replacer you choose should meet several key nutritional factors. For every 100g of milk replacer fed, there should be:
How To Select A High
It may take some initial time and energy in determining which food is right for your kitten, but your efforts will be rewarded in a healthy, happy, beautiful kitten.
The best way to find the healthiest kitten food is to compare foods, choose a few possible options, and then talk with your veterinarian about which of those is best for your kitten. Consider the protein source in the food and pick a diet that does not contain a lot of filler ingredients.
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