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how to care for a newborn kitten without a mother

how to care for a newborn kitten without a mother

how to care for a newborn kitten without a mother
newborn kitten

During the late spring and early summer, animal hospitals, shelters, and rescue organizations brace themselves for that legendary time of year – kitten season! Yes, that’s right. there's an actual time of year when an awesome number of sweet, baby cats are born into this world.

While the lovable factor is high during this point, so is that the stress of caring for these kittens, many of whom find themselves at DoveLewis or at a shelter without a mother. and searching after these orphaned, adorable creatures is tough work! very similar to caring for newborn humans, newborn kittens need constant attention, feeding, and help during the primary stage of their life.

Ever wonder what it wishes to act as a mother for these tiny creatures? Dr. Erika Loftin, DoveLewis relief veterinarian, shares details on the ins and outs of kitten care. 

What do you have to expect when caring for newborn kittens?

Caring for orphaned neonatal kittens takes around the clock effort, but it is often done if you're willing to place within the time and dedication. you've got to be prepared to urge up throughout the night for the feedings. It’s considerably like caring for a person's baby therein regard. However, they get older much faster, so you're not doing it for months at a time. But it still takes an identical dedication. you actually have sleepless nights and periods of worry. Are they getting enough to eat? Are they growing the way they're supposed to?

It also can be really sad sometimes, because they don’t all make it. Some studies say that the death rate for kittens is often up to 40 percent. But you actually create a true bond caring for them through that period.

How often does one feed newborn kittens?

Neonatal kittens got to be eaten up a daily basis day and night. For the primary week of life, they have to be fed about every two to 3 hours. then, you'll usually stretch it bent every four hours.

These kittens should be bottle-fed using kitten milk replacer (or KMR), which comes in either liquid or powder form. It’s the like formula that you simply would use for a bottle-fed baby, except it’s formulated for cats. The formula, bottles, and nipples are all available over the counter at the most pet supply stores. You don’t need a prescription. The instructions will offer you a suggestion on what proportion to feed supported the load of the cat.

When preparing the bottle, take care of milk flow. If you create the opening within the nipple too big, the kitten can actually aspirate or drown. The bottles accompany instructions on the way to prep the nipple for milk flow. However, if you're struggling, I might advise you to hunt help from your veterinarian. Never stop the whole tip of the nipple, as this is often what causes cats to aspirate.

What about bathroom time?

Orphaned neonatal kittens need help urinating and defecating. Generally, a mother cat would do this together with her rough tongue. Without the mother available, use a warm, damp plant disease or cloth and rub gently over their genitals and anal area. If they're well-hydrated, which is your goal, then you ought to stimulate them after every feeding and pee should begin. This stimulation usually must occur for the primary three to four weeks of life. make certain to wash and dry the world after they’ve done their business.

Do newborn kittens need special bedding?

You can use an easy box with soft blankets to contain the kitten. For warmth, I might suggest employing a warm bottle wrapped during a towel. Simply put it between two blankets that line the whole box. I might discourage people from employing a hot pad because it’s easier for the kitten to overheat that way.

how to care for a newborn kitten without a mother
newborn kitten

What are some special handling techniques to stay healthy and safe?

In the first four weeks of their life, minimize the number of individuals who handle the kitten. During that point, they need not yet built up their immune systems, and that they are susceptible to illnesses and infections. make certain to scrub your hands before and after whenever you handle them.

Avoid allowing the kitten to interact with other animals – even other cats. You never skills another animal will treat a little kitten, and neonatal cats are fragile during this stage of life.

If you've got quite one kitten from an equivalent litter, you'll definitely keep them within the same box. they will help keep one another warm. If they're from different litters, you'll still keep them within the same box, unless they're radically different ages or sizes. Also, don’t mix sick and healthy kittens.


When should I take kittens to the veterinarian?

Overall, it’s an honest idea to stay in-tuned together with your veterinarian during the primary four weeks of the kitten’s life in order that they can assist you monitor their progress and answer any questions which will arise. Your veterinarian will presumably see them once, but they'll request more check-ups counting on the progress you report along the way.

tips to Take Care of a Newborn Kitten Without a Mother


Environment and Shelter

Newborn kittens cuddle up with their mother and siblings to remain warm. If your kitten has been abandoned, you will need to stay her warm. Wrap a hot pad or predicament bottle during a blanket to make a warm bed, but position it in order that your kitten can move far away from it if she gets too warm. Keep an eye fixed on the hot pad to make sure that it's working properly which doesn't get too hot or malfunction.

Nutritional Requirements

Before hand-raising a kitten, contact local veterinarians, animal shelters, and rescue groups. they could be ready to find a foster mother cat to feed the kitten. If you cannot find a foster, buy a milk replacer designed specifically for kittens. Don't provide a kitten cow's milk, which may cause gastrointestinal upset. Kittens need constant feeding to remain nourished. Newborn kittens typically nurse all to 2 hours. At 3 to 4 weeks old, they'll get to eat between four and 6 times each day.

How and When to Wean

You can start to transition your kitten far away from the bottle at 3 or 4 weeks aged. Begin by offering formula during a shallow bowl that's easy for her to drink from. Then start the shift to an adult diet by mixing canned or dry cat chow with warmed formula. When your kitten is around 6 or 7 weeks aged, you'll switch her to a dry diet.

Elimination and Potty Training

Kittens can't urinate or defecate on their own until around 2 or 3 weeks aged. Until then, their mother stimulates elimination by licking around the anus and genitals. you'll simulate this action by taking a warm, moistened towel or piece of gauze and punctiliously rubbing it around the kitten's anal and genital areas. do that after every feeding. At 4 weeks aged, you'll start training your kitten to use a litter box by placing her in it every after feeding. Use a shallow box with low sides or use a cardboard box and cut one side low.

how to care for a newborn kitten without a mother
newborn kitten

10 Crucial Steps to require to save lots of an Abandoned Newborn Kitten


1. Assess things.


Don’t assume that a litter of kittens is orphaned simply because you don’t see the mom. It’s common for the mother to go away her babies, so give the kittens a touch of distance and see if the mom returns. If she does – great! The mom is that the best suited to worry for them, so leave them together with her (unless you’re ready to take the entire family in and look after them.) If the mom doesn't return within an hour or two, it's time for you to step in and help.



2. Don’t take the kittens to a shelter.


Unless your local shelter specifically features a program for neonatal kittens, bringing an orphaned kitten to a shelter may be a death sentence. the bulk of shelters don't provide care to unweaned kittens, so if you would like them to possess an attempt, it’s getting to be your responsibility to assist them yourself, or to seek out someone who can.

3. Don’t panic – but do act quickly.


When it involves orphaned kittens, time is of the essence. Panic never helped anyone, but you are doing got to treat this as a situation that can't wait. Gather the kittens and quickly make an idea for subsequent 24 hours of care – you'll always change your plans afterward, but immediately you only got to believe their immediate needs. If you observe any serious health concerns like gasping for air or bleeding, take the kitten to a veterinarian.



4. Gather acceptable supplies.


You’re getting to got to quickly gather supplies so you'll get them warm, stable, hydrated, and fed. inspect my “Preparing for Fostering” supply checklist to seek out out what supplies you’ll need. found out a comfortable, safe space for the kittens far away from any potential hazards.

5. Get them stable.


Before you'll do anything, you would like to form sure the kitten isn't hypothermic or hyperthermic. Kittens cannot control their blood heat, so help them regulate their blood heat before trying to feed them – especially if they need to be been exposed to cold temperatures. A hot pad on low, a warm bottle, or maybe a sock crammed with rice and put within the microwave can all provide a gentle but mild heat source to a chilly kitten.



6. Feed the kittens.


If it’s your first-time bottle feeding, don’t panic! you'll roll in the hay, but you’ll want to understand some tricks so you don’t hurt them. Watch my YouTube video on the way to Bottle Feed a Kitten for recommendations on proper preparation and feeding posture. And please, never feed cow’s milk to a kitten, as this is often extremely dangerous to their health and may cause death. Instead, you'll get to purchase kitten milk replacer, sold at the most pet stores or feed stores.

7. Stimulate the kittens to travel to the toilet.


It comes as a surprise to some folks that newborn kittens actually don't attend the toilet on their own – their mother licks them to stimulate elimination and urination, and to stay them nice and clean. you'll get to mimic this behavior by stimulating the kittens with a warm, wet cloth at each feeding. Watch my video on the way to Stimulate Kittens to ascertain how it’s done.


how to care for a newborn kitten without a mother
newborn kitten

8. Wash, rinse, repeat.


Orphaned neonatal kittens require around-the-clock care, so you’ll want to determine a routine of care every 2-4 hours (the younger they're, the more frequent the intervals.) Between feedings, it’s normal for the kittens to sleep, just confirm they're during a safe and confined space.



9. Foster for success!


Fostering kittens is fun, rewarding, and lightning-fast if you are doing it right! Plan on caring for them until they're sufficiently old to be neutered – right around eight weeks old. In the meantime, look for the right forever home, get all of them their standard veterinary care, and luxuriate in watching them grow. It’ll be over before you recognize it!

10. Spay and neuter any cats within the area.


Don’t forget – if you found kittens in an alley, meaning there are unsterilized cats round the corner. look for an area TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) group to assist you to get what you would like to sterilize any free-roaming cats in order that you'll prevent a subsequent round of kittens!


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