How Do I Feed A Newborn Kitten
Kittens under 4 weeks of age cannot eat solid food, whether itâs dry or canned. They can drink their motherâs milk to get the nutrients they need. The kitten will rely on you to survive if their mother isnât around.
You can feed your newborn kitten a nutritional substitute thatâs called kitten milk replacer. Itâs essential that you avoid feeding a kitten the same milk that humans consume. Typical cowâs milk can make cats very sick. If youâre unsure of which kitten milk replacer to choose, talk to a veterinarian. They can help you select the right one.
For many dry milk replacers, refrigeration is not always required. But if extra milk is prepared, it should be stored in the fridge. To feed your kitten, follow these steps:
Prepare the formula. Warm the kitten formula to slightly above room temperature. Test the temperature of the formula right before you feed your kitten. Do this by placing a few drops of the formula on your wrist to ensure itâs not too hot.
Keep things clean. Before and after each feeding, you should wash your hands and the bottle that you used to feed your kitten. Itâs also recommended that you use a âkitten gown.â This could be a robe or a shirt that you only wear when youâre handling or feeding your kitten. Using a kitten gown helps reduce the possibility of spreading germs.
If for any reason you canât get your kitten to eat, contact your veterinarian immediately.
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!
Heres What To Do If You Find A Litter Of Kittens
You’re likely to hear them before you see them.
They’re alone and afraid. No mom in sight.
The sound of kittens meowing.
With springtime just around the corner comes the warmer weather, the flowers, the showers – and, unfortunately, litters of unwanted kittens.
It’s the time of year when unspayed cats give birth. Rescue groups and shelters nationwide become overrun with litters of unwanted kittens who are often euthanized due to lack of space and not nearly enough people to foster and adopt them.
“We are embarking on kitten season,” Eric Brown, cofounder and vice president of Arizona’s Homeless Animals Rescue Team , told The Dodo. “The biological clocks of cats have realized that it has started warming up, and cats are now in heat or already pregnant. There is a 64-day gestation period. And we are almost there. There will be throngs of kittens any day.”
So what should you do if you find a litter of kittens? For starters, it depends on how and where you found them, whether their mother is around, and how old they are.
Approximately 3.4 million cats enter shelters nationwide every year and 1.4 million cats are euthanized yearly.
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Where Do Cats Hide Their Kittens Inside
That answer depends entirely on how much your cat trusts you. If youve established a strong bond, you may find that your cat is perfectly comfortable hiding her kittens on a blanket in your bedroom. Less trustful kitties may hide them in a closet, under a bed, or any other secure place thats out of the way.
Do you have experience with a cat having kittens outside? Share below!
Ben is an animal lover, blogger, and all around geek. He divides his love equally between his family, his animals, and his video games. In his spare time he is attempting to get a blog off the ground. Boy, are they heavy!
What If The Kittens Are In Danger
If a kitten is sick or injured, contact your local veterinarian right away if your kittens show these signs:
- Signs of a sick kitten include:
- Thinstomachsand gaunt faces, visibleribs and spine
- Coldears, bellies,andpaws
- Pale gums and tongue
- Excessively crusted eyesor nose
- Diarrheaor vomiting
Signs of an injured kitten include:
- Visible wounds or sores
- Crying out in pain
There may be rare circumstances in which the kittens current environment places them in immediate danger. This is not a common scenario, so use common sense. For example, kittens may need to be removed if they are in an area that isabout to be flooded or is close to a fire.
If possible, move the kittens to another outdoor spot as close to their original nest as is safe so their mother can find them.
If you believe mother and kittens are in more long-term danger, such as extreme weather or disaster conditions
- Bring the whole family inside to a quiet, small room . You can also use a large dog crate, covered with a blanket.
- Provide the mother cat and kittens with a carrier as a hiding place. Provide foodand water, and a litter box placed as far away from the sleeping and eating area as possible.
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Preparing To Move Newborn Kittens
When Rescuing The Kittens
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I Found Kittensthere Is No Mommom Cat Abandoned These Kittensi Rescued These Orphaned Babies
During high kitten season in the spring and summer, its not unusual to discover a nest of unattended kittens or a single kitten seemingly abandoned by the mother. You want to help, right? Before jumping to the rescue, consider these recommendations.
First: Wait & Watch
Stand far away and wait. A Mother cat will leave her kittens for hours at a time. She will NOT return if you are standing over her kittens.
The mother cat offers her kittens best chance for survival, so wait and watch as long as you can. The best food for the kittens is their mothers milk. Remove the kittens only if they are in immediate danger.
Quiet, warm, dry kittens are typically fed and cared for and mom cat is probably just out hunting. Noisy, cold, wet kittens may need to be rescued, but always assess the situation thoroughly.
If mom returns and the area is relatively safe, leave the kittens alone with mom until they are weaned. You can offer a shelter and regular food to mom, but keep the food and shelter at a distance from each other. Mom will find the food but will not accept your shelter if the food is nearby, because she will not want to attract other cats to food located near her nest/kittens.
For more tips on caring for neonatal kittens check out Kitten Lady’s resources:
Female cats can become pregnant with a new litter even while they are still nursing, so dont forget to get the mother cat spayed or you will have more kittens soon!
When Should I Take Kittens To The Veterinarian
Overall, its a good idea to keep in touch with your veterinarian during the first four weeks of the kittens life so they can help you monitor their progress and answer any questions that may arise. Your veterinarian will most likely see them once, but they may request more check-ups depending on the progress you report along the way.
Try To Verify The Age Of The Kittens
This is important because you dont want to take a nursing kitten away from their mom or leave a kitten with their feral mom too long if you want to socialize them.
- Under one week: Eyes shut, ears flat to head, skin looks pinkish. Part of umbilical cord may still be attached.
- 1 week-10 days: Eyes beginning to open, ears still flat. A kitten this age is smaller than your hand.
- 3 weeks: Eyes are fully open, ears are erect, and teeth are visible. Kittens this age are just starting to walk and will be very wobbly.
- 4-5 weeks: Eyes have changed from blue to another color and/or kittens have begun to pounce, leap, and are more mobile. Kittens this age will begin to eat gruel or canned food.
Where Would A Kitten Hide Outside
Look at places where, like in trees, sheds, under decks, a frightened cat could hide. As cats prefer high places and could be hidden in the roots of a tree or on the top of a store or shed, note to look up too. Searching at a peaceful time of day is a smart idea. You can search with a flashlight after dark.
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Where To Look Indoors
If you suddenly cant find your indoor cat or her kittens, there are a few places that you should look first. All these locations are assuming your cat cant get outdoors, though, so keep that in mind.
Closets and underneath beds are two of the most likely spots. These places usually have clothes or other fabric that can be used for warmth, and theyre generally low-traffic areas.
Any enclosed space is appealing as well. This includes drawers, cabinets, the washer or dryer, and any boxes you might have lying around.
The good thing about losing a litter of kittens indoors is that you know youll find them eventually. However, until you do, you need to be careful about where you step or sit. Also, dont just blindly throw shoes in closets or start appliances without checking them thoroughly first.
Generally speaking, though, your biggest fear should be that your cat found a hole or something that allowed her to escape outside before giving birth.
Editor’s Note: For Assistance With An Abandoned Kitten Please Contact Your Local Veterinarian Or Animal Rescue Organization
Kitten season is around the corner, and if youre anything like me, you might soon find yourself crossing paths with a little mewing orphan or two Im Hannah Shaw, founder of a rescue and advocacy project called Kitten Lady and Im here to give you my top 10 tips for what to do if you find kittens outside!
1. Assess the situation.
Dont assume that a litter of kittens is orphaned just because you dont see the mom. Its common for the mother to leave her babies, so give the kittens a bit of distance and see if the mom returns. If she does great! The mom is the best suited to care for them, so leave them with her If the mom does not return within an hour or two, it is time for you to step in and help.
2. Dont take the kittens to a shelter.
Unless your local shelter specifically has a program for neonatal kittens, bringing an orphaned kitten to a shelter is a death sentence. The majority of shelters do not provide care to unweaned kittens, so if you want them to have a shot, its going to be your responsibility to help them yourself, or to find someone who can.
3. Dont panic but do act quickly.
4. Gather the appropriate supplies.
Youre going to need to quickly gather supplies so you can get them warm, stable, hydrated, and fed. Check out my Preparing for Fostering supply checklist to find out what supplies youll need. Set up a cozy, safe space for the kittens away from any potential hazards.
5. Get them stable.
6. Feed the kittens.
8. Wash, rinse, repeat.
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Wait For The Mother Cat To Return
You want to help, and your first impulse may be to swoop up the tiny kittens and bring them straight to a shelter. However, a mother cat will periodically leave her nest to hunt for food.Please dont take her babies!
If you see young kittens without their mother, it is likely she will return. The mother should return to the nest within a few hours- if you watch quietly from a distance .
- Sprinkle flour or baby powder around the nest to see the paw prints of a mother cat who may be coming and going from her kittens. Check it throughout the day.
- Dont put food by the kittens: Do NOT place food near the kittens to lure mom. Mom almost always purposely hides her litter away from food sources as she knows that food will attract other cats and even bigger predators!
- Continuing to wait for mom if the kittens are warm, clean, plump, and quiet. These are indicators that they were recently groomed, fed, and warmed, and are therefore comfortable and not hungry.
Assess the kittens apparent health
While you are observing from a safe distance, pay attention to the kittens appearance and their surroundings. If the kittens appear healthy, and in a relatively safe location, they can survive without mom longer than if they are sickly, and in the middle of a muddy yard.
- Does their fur look healthy, full and fluffy? OR Are they dirty? Sickly? Eyes crusty?
- Are they sleeping quietly? In a heap? OR Are they crying? Squalling?
- Are they dry? OR Are they wet/soaked?
Assess the environment
Why Do Cats Occasionally Pick Unsafe Locations
The simple answer to that is that the cat doesnt know the location is unsafe.
For example, a house cat may move her kittens to an area like a basement that isnt used often.
That basement could have lots of nooks, crannies, and items in it that present a danger to her kittens.
However, in her mind, it is safe because its quiet and away from lots of noise and commotion.
If an outdoor cat had kittens, she might pick a location that seems safe to her but that really isnt.
Moving her kittens under an old car in a barn or outdoor garage, for example, might look safe to her, however, she has no way of knowing that the car was scheduled for towing the following day.
Other examples are areas such as warehouses.
In general, any area that may seem initially quiet but has sporadic but intense bursts of activity are unsafe.
The mother cat will not understand this, however.
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Wait For The Mother To Return
Before you do anything, we recommend waiting for the mother to return if she isnt already with the kittens. Feral cats are usually frightened of humans and would normally run, but since she is protecting her kittens, she may be aggressive towards you at first. Feral cats are usually quite thin, and their fur may be matted and dirty. In contrast, house cats are usually well-fed, have groomed fur, and are usually friendly. They are also more likely to be a specific breed, like a Siamese or Maine Coon. Determining if the mother is feral or not will set the path you should follow next.
Moving All Of Them Or Just One
If you see that a cat had kittens out to move a kitten to another location or just to get away from her other kittens, you might see an instinctive drive to kill a sick kitten.
It is a vicious reality of the animal kingdom that only the strong survive. Mother cats can feel that their kittens are unhealthful.
If the kitten is feeble, unable or unwilling to cling on for feeding, or too tiny, the mother cat often leaves the kitten to save her energy for her healthier babies.
Often, people will see a cat moving one of her kittens, assuming the rest is close behind. Later, they discovered that the kitten was not the first to be taken to a new location, but rather was killed.
People often go to a new destination, sometimes only a few feet away to check on the mother and her kittens just to find out that the kitten has been abandoned.
If you see a mother shifting her kitten, keep a close eye out for the rest of the kittens to pursue. If you dont see a mother or more kittens relatively quickly, pick up the kitten if possible and take it to your rescue center immediately.
They have a resource to rehabilitate the kitten and adopt it. If you want to take the kitten yourself, just take it to your local vet for proper care.
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