Taking Care of Newborn Kittens
Wed, April 21, 2021

Taking Care of Newborn Kittens

Just like human babies, newborn kittens need all the essential care to survive and grow / Photo by: Anurak Ponapatimet via 123RF

 

Just like human babies, newborn kittens need all the essential care to survive and grow. Owners should make sure that they will be provided with the best care possible, as mother cats can’t do this job alone. Raising newborn kittens is both challenging and time-consuming, so you need to be prepared. 

If the kittens are being cared for by the mother cat, she will do much of the work. But, it is also important to have them checked by a veterinarian. After that, owners should provide the mother cat with food and water, at the same time monitor her nursing and attention to the kitten’s grooming. However, this can get complicated if the kittens have no mother. The first thing you need to do is to ensure their basic needs for them to survive. 

Also, kittens that have no mother should be taken to the vet immediately. Orphaned kittens may need immunizations as soon as two to three weeks old. Meanwhile, litters from ferals can suffer from fleas and other parasites. According to WebMD, an online site that provides comprehensive information about pet healthcare and offers nutrition and feeding information, the kittens’ primary needs during the first few weeks of life are feeding, keeping warm, developing social skills, and learning how to excrete on their own. 

The most crucial time for newborn kittens is during their first two to three weeks. Owners should keep them in a place where they will not be disturbed by noise or anyone else. You should also make sure that the room is warm enough since cold temperatures are one of the most critical dangers to them. Aside from that, here are some things you should prepare and remember:

 

Building a Nest

Kittens should be placed where they are safe and warm all the time since they are still blind. Their eyes will only open between 7 to 14 days after their birth. Most of the time, they will curl up with their mom. According to The Spruce Pets, an online site that offers practical, real-life tips and training advice to help you care for your pet, owners can use an oversized cat bed with bumper sides or even just a cardboard box lined with clean towels. Make sure that it has sides to protect them from falling. You can also provide a soft bed of layered materials such as fleece blankets and place it in a cozy, draft-free corner where the newborns won't be disturbed by other pets or children.

Kittens should be placed where they are safe and warm all the time since they are still blind. Their eyes will only open between 7 to 14 days after their birth / Photo by: tan4ikk via 123RF

 

Supplies Needed

Owners should invest in getting the right supplies for the kittens. For instance, putting a hot water bottle near them will help them keep warm and provide a sense of security (like the heat they'd get from their mother). However, owners should always remember to only place the bottle in a pan of hot water to warm it up instead of using the microwave. This is because this poses a threat to them. Aside from that, you will be needing some sort of bottle or syringe for the kittens. The easiest to use would be a syringe since its tip is roughly the same size as a mother's nipple. Using an eyedropper is not recommended because it can't suckle them and are not a very efficient method of feeding. At the same time, liquid in eye droppers can quickly be expelled resulting in too much fluid in the kitten's mouth, which can cause choking. 

 

Feeding Time

For the first four weeks of the newborn kittens’ lives, they will only be needing their mother’s cat milk as it provides everything they need. After that, begin to offer them milk replacer in a shallow bowl. Then, you can introduce the kittens to a moist, easily chewable diet. Prime each kitten by putting a bit of the mixture onto your fingertip, and then leading them to the saucer. Gradually reduce the amount of formula in the food as days pass until they are eating soft, canned food as is. The kittens should be able to chew dry food after six to seven weeks. Like human babies, they need to be fed many times per day and kittens need as many as 12 feedings. 

For the first four weeks of the newborn kittens’ lives, they will only be needing their mother’s cat milk as it provides everything they need. After that, begin to offer them milk replacer in a shallow bowl / Photo by: mirawonderland via 123RF

 

Grooming Newborn Kittens

During the development of the kittens, mother cats perform several activities to ensure their health and bond with them. Most of the time, owners can see the mother encouraging their newborns to move their bowels by washing their bums with her tongue. You can also do the same thing by holding the kittens and gently stroking their bodies with a warm washcloth. Grooming and massaging newborn babies can be a bonding activity with the mother cat. Using a baby brush or towel, clean any dirt or feces from their bodies. In this way, kittens adapt more easily to your presence and their new home. 

 

Health of Newborn Kittens

According to Hills Pet, an online site that aims to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets, owners should monitor a kitten's food intake and take note of any "motor skills and coordination delays or difficulties, [or] lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting." This is because they are prone to several illnesses such as intestinal parasites, ear mites, distemper, upper respiratory infections, and many more.