Your cat just gave birth to a litter of kittens. Hooray! Now, what? Know what to do by reading this guide on basic newborn kitten care. These fragile newborns need more attention and a special type of care. This is also applicable if you had just adopted a very young kitten. This guide is applicable if the young one has been separated from its mother and its care is relying on you.
Newborns rely on their mother’s milk to sustain them during the first four weeks of their lives. If the mother is absent, the first thing you should do is to consult a veterinarian to assess the health status of the newborn and to get some ideas as to the type of milk you should give to it. There may be even foster homes who have milking moms that can accommodate another kitten. The last resort is to bottle-feed the newborn with a commercial milk product. Avoid cow’s milk as that can cause gastrointestinal complications like diarrhea.
Newborns can eat other things other than just milk. Opt for soft foods that are very easy to chew. Serve the food in a shallow bowl. Feed the kittens a few times a day. You can expect them to be accustomed to this new diet by their fifth week. They can also handle hard food by the sixth to the seventh week. You no longer have to moisten their food at that time. They can achieve full independence by the end of two months. As they need a lot of energy to be playful and for their developing bodies, make sure to stick to a high-protein diet and it should be specifically made for young kittens.
Newborns eat every one to two hours. By their fourth week, they should eat four to six times each day. They are free to eat only three times a day as they reach their third month of age.
There are other needs you should attend to. For instance, make sure to keep them warm at all times by cuddling or providing them with a bottle filled with warm water. Others even place a ticking clock beside the bottle to give the illusion of a heartbeat because this is comforting for very young kittens. Watch over them and do not let them get into danger by playing too much or with harsh interactions with other cats. Kitten-proof your house by rearranging your things and furniture and making sure there won’t be anything to harm the kitten.