Whether you’re nursing orphaned kittens or helping a cat mom raise her babies, caring for newborn kittens requires a lot of preparation, time, and dedication. To help you learn more about the process, we’re going to discuss the steps you need to take to prepare for the kittens’ arrival and care for them after they’re born.
Before we talk about preparation, it’s important to mention that the best way to care for a kitten is to have a mother cat do it, so if you find orphaned kittens or your pregnant cat rejects her kittens for some reason, the first thing you should do is contact your local veterinarian or animal shelter to see if there is a nursing cat who can take on some more kittens.
If that doesn’t work out, you will need to care for them yourself. There are some steps you can do to prepare for them and ensure that things go as smoothly as possible.
Once you’re all prepped and the kittens are here, the hard but ultimately rewarding part of the process begins. Just like human babies, cats need round-the-clock care and attention for the first part of their lives.
If they’re with their mother, she’ll handle the feeding for the first few weeks of life, but if not, the responsibility falls to you. For the first week and a half or so, you should feed the kitten every two hours, and after that you gradually decrease the frequency until, by week four, they’re eating 3 or 4 times a day. Follow the instructions on the box to mix up the amount of milk replacer you need. Then put the solution in a bottle and warm it up by heating it in a pan of water.
Before feeding, test the temperature on your wrist, making sure it’s warm but not hot, and then you can begin feeding. When you do, make sure not to feed them on their back, instead holding them upright, as otherwise they could aspirate.
After each feeding, you’ll need to take a warm, damp washcloth or cotton ball and massage the kitten’s anal region to promote excretion, as kittens aren’t able to go to the bathroom on their own for the first few weeks of life.
One of the most important parts of caring for newborn kittens is ensuring they are developing properly. That’s why you should take the kitten to the vet immediately if you notice that something’s wrong.
If you live in Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, or areas nearby Ventura County, Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency is happy to help you with all of your kitten and animal care needs.