Why is it difficult to care for a newborn cat without a mother?

Every year there are several people who find one or more newborn kittens on the street that have been left without a mother. The vast majority of them, although it is hard to believe, are left in plastic bags or cardboard boxes next to garbage containers. Many die shortly after being abandoned as if they were an old pair of shoes.

If they are lucky enough to be found by someone who sympathizes with them, and who also assumes the – great – responsibility of taking care of them, they will have a better chance of survival. But do not be fooled: no matter how well they are, sometimes they do not succeed, hence the title of the article is why it is difficult to care for a newborn cat without a mother . If you want to know, don’t stop reading.

They do not control their body temperature


Kittens until they are 5-6 months old, which is when they reach sexual maturity (more or less), are very delicate animals, especially during their first eight weeks. And it is that they are not able to control their body temperature. If we add to that that they are very babies, they lose heat quickly. Therefore, we must ensure that they are always covered with blankets and / or that they have thermal bottles nearby.

They do not have a developed immune system

And sometimes, they haven’t even had colostrum , which is the first milk their mother gives them, which contains a lot of antibodies that protect – or should protect – them for the first two months. Without this natural medicine, the survival of the little ones will depend solely and exclusively on how well we take care of them .

It is normal for them to have parasites

The newborn kittens that we meet are usually full of parasites, both external (ticks, fleas) and internal. We can remove the first ones by hand with tweezers , and we also have a spray antiparasitic that can be used from 3 days of life (consult your veterinarian about this product), but to eliminate the worms we will have to wait for Let them grow a little more to give them a syrup.

They need to drink several times a day


My kitten Sasha drinking her milk, on September 3, 2016.

And not just any type of milk. The ideal is to give them a replacement milk for kittens , which we will find in veterinary clinics and pet stores, since they contain practically everything they need. We will give them every 2 or 3 hours during the first days of life, and from the third week we will be able to give them every 3-4 hours .

Many will tell you that you also have to give them at night; I tell you that if you see that they eat well, are increasingly active and healthy, do not wake them up when they sleep because rest is also important for their health. We never bottle-fed my cat Sasha when she was a baby, and she’s never scared us. Also, kittens aren’t dumb – if they’re hungry, they’ll let you know.

It can take some getting used to solid food

If they were with the mother, or even with adult cats, there would be no problem since the kittens would imitate them. But when they are alone with us, it is sometimes difficult for them to get used to solid food. But it is not very complicated: from the third or fourth week you have to start leaving them well chopped little cans for kittens.

In the event that they do not eat, we will take a little bit and we will put it in their mouth with care, and we will close it firmly but delicately. By instinct they will swallow, and the normal thing is that afterwards they already eat by themselves. But if not, you will have to do it again, or give the food with a syringe without a needle for a short period of time.


I hope this article does not put you off . That is not my intention. You have to be realistic: taking care of newborn kittens is not easy and sometimes they do not succeed. But many times it does work out, and that’s what matters.



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