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How To Nurse A Kitten Back To Health

Postnatal Care Of A Mother Cat And Her Newborn Kittens

Harford County community nurses kittens back to health

Franny Syufy is a cat expert with over two decades of experience writing about feline anatomy and medical conditions. She is a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association, won the prestigious PurinaOne Health Award for her writing, and authored two books on cat care.

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The Spruce / Bailey Mariner

While you’ve been an attentive cat owner, meeting the needs of your pregnant cat, after she has the kittens, you need to know your next steps. During this delicate time, your observational skills are essential. Take a look at some guidance on how to handle the mother cat and her kittens as well as warning signs of health issues and kitten developmental milestones.

Watch Popular Tiktok Couple Mr Gardeners Adopt Nurse A Blind Kitten Back To Health

These TikTok stars known mostly for their home and landscape renovations took on an entirely different kind of DIY project recently: nursing an abandoned kitten back to health. Meet Joshua and Jose from Tampa, Fla., and their adorable, newly adopted blind kitty named Whiskers.

Whiskers’ transformation from a sick kitty to a lively, playful petminus a small recent setbackhas attracted the interest of millions on TikTok. So far, the nine videos featuring the growing kitten have generated roughly 65 million views.

Giving their paint brushes and nail guns a break, Joshua and Jose began posting videos about Whiskers on June 28 after they first discovered him sleeping on their driveway. In the video Joshua says, “The other day we found a kitten against the garage and we couldn’t find his mother anywhere, so we took him in.”

But Joshua and Jose quickly realized Whiskers was experiencing major vision problems. After cleaning his eyes and giving him plenty of food, water, and love, they took him to a local veterinarian. The vet diagnosed Whiskers with a serious eye infection and sent him home with medication to hopefully restore his vision. On top of that, the little family added a follow-up visit with a feline ophthalmologist to its calendar .

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What Will A Veterinarian Look For During My Initial Kitten Care Visit

We’re going to look at things like behavior and temperament, so we can have a conversation with you to make sure that that’s consistent with how they’re being handled at home. Sometimes I’ll have a family come in with young kids, and we need to make sure that the kitten’s being handled properly. So we’re also going to give the kitten a complete physical. Eyes, ears, and nose are important in kitties. We see a lot of upper respiratory viruses in kittens. We’ll listen to the chest to make sure that the lungs and the heart are good, so it’s an overall exam.

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Tlc For Your Cat At Home

Tender loving care is hard to quantify, but provision of a warm, soft bed in a quiet area of the home and regular doses of petting and soothing voice does wonders. Your cat relies on you for care, and praising him for taking medication or tolerating bandage changes will make everything easier. Keep the cat near the family when possible so the amount of family contact is maximized.

What Should I Ask My Veterinarian At My Kitten’s First Appointment

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If you have any specific questions, save them till the end, because they may answer them before you even get there. We like to spend at least a good 30 minutes with clients that have a new kitten and make sure that all their questions are answered, and that they have access to information that they’re going to need from home also.

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Heat & Bedding For Newborn Kittens

Kittens can get the chills easily, which can be life-threatening. From the moment you find them, keep the kittens warm and watch out for signs of chilling . If you have nothing else on hand, use your own body heat to warm up a cold kitten, and rub her gently to aid circulation.

Neonatal kittens cannot control their own body temperature until they are at least 3 weeks old. And its very important to hold off on bottle feeding until the kittens have completely warmed up.

At home, build a soft nest with a heating pad that is completely covered with a blanket or towel. Make sure that kittens can move away from the heat if they want. Change the bedding daily or when they have accidents. A kitten can chill if she gets wet, so never submerge kittens in water.

If a kitten needs to be cleaned up, wash only certain parts of her little body with a washcloth. Be sure to always fully dry with a hair dryer and towel.

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.

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A Clean Kitten Is A Happy Kitten

After feeding, clean any formula, urine, feces or other messes off the kitten using a clean, soft, warm, damp cloth. This action simulates how the momma cat would clean the kittens. If more cleaning is required, you may use a wetter washcloth dipped in warm water to loosen up caked-on messes in the kittens fur. Do not use soap or pet shampoo directly on the kitten. If you must use a shampoo to clean the kitten, add one or two drops of shampoo to a cup of warm water, then use the cloth dipped in this mixture to clean the kitten. Rinse the cleaned area with another cloth dipped in clear, warm water. Gently dry the kitten with a soft towel. Do not allow the kitten to become chilled. Once the kitten is clean and dry, place her back in the carrier on the covered heating pad, which should be covered in clean layers of bedding.

Kittens ears should be clean and dirt-free. If the ears are dirty, gently clean the area with a Q-tip you may need to dampen it in warm water. Do not use ear-cleaning solution because it could be harmful to the kitten. Only clean the outer area of the inside ear, just the part that you can see do not push the Q-tip down into the ear. If the ears are extremely dirty or you see signs of ear mites , contact your medical staff about treatment options.

What To Feed A Neonatal Kitten

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Stick to kitten formula, such as kitten milk replacer , which can be purchased at most pet supply stores.If you find yourself with a kitten and pet stores are closed, this emergency kitten formula can be made at home. Only use it in emergencies.

  • 8 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 beaten egg yolk
  • Mix all ingredients well and strain. Warm before serving. Keep refrigerated.From Feline Neonatal Care DVD from the Loudoun SPCA.

Should you feed newborn kittens goat milk?

Never feed kittens cows or goats milkthis causes diarrhea.

Feeding Frequency

10 days or younger every two hours around the clock

11 days to 2½ weeks every three to four hours

2½ to 4 weeks every five to six hours

4 weeks and older two to three times a day. Weaning occurs around this age.

Mix formula with wet food so kittens can begin to lap it up, or put the mixture in a bottle. Then mix with dry food and begin providing water. If you are having trouble getting a kitten to latch onto the bottle, try pulling on the nipple when they start to suck, this will encourage her to suck harder and latch on.

You can also try moving the nipple back and forth in the kittens mouth. If your kitten is too ill to suck on a bottle, you may have to resort to other methods like tube feeding. In this case, consult a veterinarian.

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Its Been A Few Hours No Mom In Sight

The kittens appear to be abandoned, what can you do to help?

Once you remove the babies, you must keep them at an appropriate body temperature. Using a box with clean, soft towels, and warming bottles make a nest and place the kittens in the box. Keep them away from drafts and out of humidity. They need a room that stays close to 90 degrees for the first two weeks of age, then the temperature can be lowered to 80 degrees. Unweaned kittens need round-the-clock care and monitoring.

The kittens will need to be bottle fed with milk replacer every 2-3 hours and kept warm and dry.

  • 1 4 weeks old: will need to be bottle-fed kitten formula.
  • 5 weeks and older: can be offered canned food for KITTENS ONLY but they may still need to be bottle-fed. Canned food must be creamy texture with no chunky food or big pieces. Please try to find the best quality canned kitten food from the pet store.
  • If you, a neighbor, friend, or relative are able to take on this responsibility, you can give these abandoned kittens a shot at life! If your schedule does not allow for it, there may be resources in the community to help. Be aware that most local shelters do not have the staff to feed kittens around the clock and mortality rates in these kittens are very high.

Cat Covered In Tar Burns Nursed Back To Health

Grace was unable to eat after tar caused chemical burns to her tongue, mouth and throat

A stray cat had to be fed through a tube and nursed back to health after sticky tar caused chemical burns to her tongue, mouth and throat.

Dedicated RSPCA staff spent three months nursing Grace back to health after she was rescued by an inspector on 1 August having been found in North Shields covered in what her finders initially thought was oil.

Cattery supervisor Catherine Neasham, from Felledge Animal Centre, Tyne & Wear, who have been taking care of Grace, said: Grace was brought in one Sunday whilst I was working and was covered in a black sticky substance. We arent 100% sure what it was, but it looked like tar or anti burglar paint.

At the time we couldnt look in her mouth properly and when she tried to eat her jaw looked lopsided so initially we thought she may have had a broken or dislocated jaw. She was also hyper-salivating and was covered in drool.

After watching her try to eat we put some gloves on, opened her mouth and were hit with a horrible smell. We could see burns on her tongue and the roof of her mouth and rushed her back to the vets.

Catherine said: We started to give her soft food and, after eight days, we were able to remove the feeding tube.

We continued to bathe her daily and stopped her pain relief. It took several months for her mouth to heal and now were thrilled that Grace is back to full health and ready to find a loving home.

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Stray Cat In Need Of Help

A cat in Kelowna who’s had a bit of a rough go as of late is in need of someone with a big heart.

Comet was recently spotted by a good Samaritan in downtown Kelowna, cold and barely able to walk. He came up to me very clingy and limping, says Rachel, the good Samaritan.

The woman noticed the cat was in discomfort and decided to call the Okanagan Humane Society for help.

OHS had her rush the feline to the vet for x-rays, and discovered his leg was broken in two spots. He also had ear mites and was very dirty but friendly. They quickly checked for a collar, microchip, or tattoo to find the cats owners, but unfortunately there was no identification linked to the cat.

Sadly, Comets leg cannot be saved and he will need amputation along with other medical procedures including resolving his ear mites, neuter, vaccines, deworming, and of course a chip for identification.

Once, we are able to ensure all of Comets medical needs are handled, he will receive the appropriate medical rehabilitation he needs and then we will place him up for adoption to his new loving home, said Romany Runnalls, the President of the Okanagan Humane Society.

OHS says it will cost approximately $2,600 to help Comet. This will include surgery, medication, treatment, regular health check, and daily care for him until hes ready for adoption.

How Can I Tell If My Kitten Is Happy And Healthy


Happy and healthy kittens have fun and energetic behaviors. They’re curious and constantly playing. You don’t need a television anymore when you get a kitten, as they are so fun. It’s mostly about setting them up for correct boundaries in the household so that we can make sure that their behaviors are consistent with a happy life for everybody.

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How Often Do You Feed Newborn Kittens

Neonatal kittens need to be fed on a regular basis day and night. For the first week of life, they need to be fed about every two to three hours. After that, you can usually stretch it out to every four hours.

These kittens should be bottle-fed using kitten milk replacer , which comes in either liquid or powder form. Its the equivalent to formula that you would use for a bottle-fed baby, except its formulated for cats. The formula, bottles and nipples are all available over the counter at most pet supply stores. You dont need a prescription. The instructions will give you a guideline on how much to feed based on the weight of the cat.

When preparing the bottle, be cautious of milk flow. If you make the hole in the nipple too big, the kitten can actually aspirate, or drown. The bottles come with instructions on how to prep the nipple for milk flow. However, if you are struggling, I would advise you to seek help from your veterinarian. Never cut off the entire tip of the nipple, as this is often what causes cats to aspirate.

Stimulation For Urination And Defecation

Mother cats groom their kittens to stimulate urination and defecation on a regular basis. If you are acting as their foster parent, you get this important duty. Very young orphan kittens will not be able to urinate and defecate without your help, so this is a crucial part of neonatal kitten care. Before and after each feeding, gently rub the kitten on its lower abdomen, as well as the genitals and rectum with a cotton ball/pad dipped in warm water or a fragrance free baby wipe. Make sure to rub only enough to get the kitten to eliminate because overstimulation will irritate the area. Keep an eye out for chafing and lingering dirt and do not let the kitten get chilled. Kittens should urinate during each stimulation. They should defecate at least once daily.

General guidelines are:

  • Kittens need to be stimulated until about 3 weeks of age.
  • Kittens should be stimulated before and after each feeding.
  • Kitten should urinate every time and defecate at least once daily.

When kittens get to be 3 4 weeks old, they no longer need help eliminating body wastes. Place a litter box in the crate or cage and fill with non-clumping litter or shredded newspaper. Clumping litter can create litter clumps in their stomachs and respiratory passages and should not be used with young kittens.

for a video from Maddie’s Institute on how to stimulate a kitten to urinate and defecate.

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S To Bathe An Underage Kitten

  • Get a small sink or a basin ready with some warm water. If the kitten is really dirty, a small amount of Dawn or baby shampoo can be used in the water. Make the water a nice warm temperature like you were taking a bath.
  • To keep the kitten from getting chilled, have towels ready to immediately dry it off. If possible, warm the towels in the dryer beforehand.
  • You may want to wear long sleeves and gloves. Kittens may panic and start to scratch. Gently hold the kitten by the scruff and support its body with your other hand. This may help calm and control the kitten.
  • Give the kitten a quick but thorough bath to get any food and feces off them. If only its butt is dirty, then only immerse the butt, not the whole kitten.
  • Rinse the kitten off with warm water and immediately wrap it in a towel.
  • Rub vigorously to get the kitten dry. If the first towel becomes wet, switch to a clean, dry towel.
  • Keep the kitten with you and do not put it back until completely dry. If needed, wrap a heating pad around the outside of the towel while the kitten is drying.
  • for a video from Maddie’s Institute on bathing orphaned kittens.


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