Caring for newborn kittens is a great joy that takes some effort and knowledge. Meanwhile, kittens grow up fast, so you won’t be doing it for so long.
Kittens are usually considered newborn from the moment they are born till about their fourth month. Their primary needs include feeding, staying warm, learning how to use the bathroom, and socializing during this period.
Below are some tips to guide you through caring for newborn kittens.
If you own a pregnant cat as a house pet, you should prepare for her kittens’ birth. Help her set up a box cushioned with fabric, a blanket, or a cat bed in a quiet space. The carton should be low enough for the mother cat to climb out but high for the kittens.
Kittens need to feed every two to three hours. This will change as they grow up and get introduced to a new diet.
If the mother cat is there to nurse the kittens, then you needn’t worry about their nutrition for the first 7- 8 weeks as they will get it from the milk. Mother cat’s milk is rich in antibodies and nutrients that protect the kittens against diseases in the early weeks.
If for some reason the mother rejects the kittens or they are without a mother, you may need to bottle feed them yourself or find a foster mother. There are special formulas designed to meet kittens’ needs. Consult a veterinarian to choose the right one and get bottle-feeding done correctly. You can then introduce the kittens to solid food when they are about 7-8 weeks.
Litter Box Training
If the mother cat is present, it’s up to her to teach the kittens how and where to use the bathroom. A mother cat would use her tongue to stimulate the kittens’ stomach to encourage digestion. If the mother is absent, you would need to do it yourself using a warm cloth or cotton ball to stimulate them after feeding. You can then teach them how to use a litter box themselves when they get to four weeks old.
Socialize The Kittens
Start holding and playing with the kittens when they are about two weeks old. Socializing them with humans will help them get ready to live as pets. Handle them softly as kittens are prone to injury if roughly handled. Also, if young children are around, supervise them.
Caring For a Newborn kitten’s Health
You should check to see if the kittens and the mother cat (if present) are healthy. If you notice a kitten doesn’t look healthy or appear to be sleeping a lot more than the siblings, get the attention of a vet.
It is also recommended to have your kittens visit the veterinarian during the first four weeks of their lives. The vet would check for their overall wellness and recommend treatment and vaccinations essential to protect the kittens.
Need help caring for your kittens? Get in touch with Catonsville Cat Clinic. We understand the need for kittens to stay healthy and our facility is designed to provide quality care for your felines. Our services include wellness exams, vaccinations, surgery, dentistry, counseling, and other services your cat may need.