Newborn kittens are especially vulnerable and dependent. In the absence of their mother, you must provide them with the food, warmth and stimulation necessary for them to grow up healthy and happy.
If you are lucky enough to live with the mother, the process will be much more bearable, although you can always collaborate to increase her well-being and that of her offspring . Regardless of the cause, if you see yourself leading a litter of newborn puppies, what we have to tell you will be useful to you.
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Caring for a newborn kitten
Kittens are born deaf and blind. It is their mother, through her warmth, her smell and her sounds, who is in charge of sheltering and tucking them. Therefore, in the absence of the cat, you can try inserting a watch between the blankets of her bed to simulate the heartbeat of her mother .
Thus, you will not feel alone. Until 6 weeks of age it is not recommended to separate him from his mother and siblings. If your baby cat is an orphan, you must wait until that date to proceed to introduce the changes typical of weaning: the introduction of the porridge and the use of the litter tray.
The puppy’s temperature
It must remain at a stable temperature of 37-38 ºC and protected from soil moisture. Use a cardboard box, basket, or cat bed covered in blankets or towels . Thus, it will be warmer, softer and neutralize the harmful effects of air currents.
At this stage, the drop in body temperature can be fatal. A hot water bottle, heating mat, or heating pad will warm your bed.
Cat baby feeding
The first 3 weeks are decisive to consolidate the survival of the puppies. In this sense, in addition to the ambient temperature, a diet based on formula milk is essential. It will not cost you to acquire it in veterinary clinics or in specialized pet stores.
You should prepare a bottle with warm water and following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you prefer, you can use a syringe. During the first 2 weeks the frequency of feedings will be every 2 hours . From that week you can expand to every 3 or 4 hours depending on your demand.
Place it in a horizontal position, never in a vertical position like a human baby because it could drown. It is also not a good idea to give cow’s milk and other dairy products, since they will cause gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Hygiene is essential for the puppy
After the feedings, you should take it with both hands and place it on your shoulder so that it erupts. Caress her back to ease it . Once achieved, it will be time to relieve yourself. You must replace their mother by stimulating her sphincters with a moistened cloth or cotton.
Rub his genitals until he urinates and defecates. Deposit it in its nest once it is done. Their stools shouldn’t have a strong odor , if so you should check with your vet because it could indicate a health problem.
You should not bathe it by immersing it in water, but by using damp cloths to prevent a sudden drop in body temperature. He makes short strokes to simulate his mother’s licking.
Grooming as learning
When standing it is advisable to stroke it from head to tail to encourage it to walk. This comforting gesture will emulate your mother’s lick and accelerate your learning.
Given the fragility of kittens, you should take extreme care of their nest, as well as yours. Wash your hands before and after handling the puppy, keep his belongings isolated and do not allow other people or animals to interact with him , as they could transmit diseases.
Care from 6 weeks of life
After a month and a half, ethologists advise introducing feed or wet food, always specific for puppies. You should soak the croquettes in milk or water . At 2 months the kitten should eat only dry feed and drink water normally.
The same can be said of the sandbox. We will place it in a quiet place and separate from the feeder. Reward him with petting or a treat suitable for kittens his age to encourage him with positive reinforcement and set those milestones.
Don’t neglect their socialization
From 2 to 8 weeks of age, what specialists in animal behavior call the imprinting period takes place. During this stage it is very positive that you expose your cat to all the stimuli inherent in its environment . Thus, they will be familiar to you and you will prevent stress, anxiety and other behavioral disorders.
Interactive toys in which you must discover how to capture food, those that use sounds and smells or a simple box will help you complete this environmental stimulation. Do not hesitate to resort to catnip , yes, as a sporadic supplement.
Physical activity to play and explore is inherent to a young cat. If you play with him you will have a pleasant time and strengthen your bond. If this routine is repeated over time and it becomes a habit, you will prevent obesity and the health problems associated with it.
- More information on socialization in cats
Deworming and vaccines
Once weaned, your kitten will need to be dewormed both internally and externally. It is an essential preventive measure if you live with other animals. From the month and a half you should deworm it every 15 days until it reaches 3 months of life .
Once this age has been reached, you should do it every month until 6 months of age and from there once every trimester. On the market there are many alternatives (pipettes, sprays, pills or necklaces). Check with your vet if you need guidance.
The 2 months of life, launches its vaccination calendar
The first vaccine will protect you from possible viruses or bacteria that you or your family can transmit to you. Specifically, it will immunize you against panleukopenia, infectious rhinitis and calcivirus (triple feline or trivalent), as well as against leukemia.
These vaccinations require an annual recall . In turn, you should take your kitten to the vet at least once a year to perform routine check-ups and confirm that his health is optimal.
As you can see, making the delicate life of a newborn cat prosper is not an easy task in the absence of its mother, but it is not an impossible mission. These guidelines and your love will do the rest. Do you accept the challenge?