Taking Care Of Newborn Kittens
Some Good Advice In Case Mom Cat Is Gone And You Need To Nurse Newborn Kittens.
Did you ever imagine that you would someday need to take care of newborn kittens? What would happen if the mother cat was missing or worse yet, found dead? Could "YOU" take care of these new babies? Would you have any idea at all what to do to help these tiny creatures? If your answer is no, please keep reading. These new kittens don't have to die.
So you have one or more kittens to tend to. Their lives depend on you. What should you do? First keep them warm. Babies cannot produce enough body heat on their own to keep them alive until they are 3 to 4 weeks old. Do this by putting them in a sturdy box or plastic tote. The plastic containers work nice as you can wash them up. Line this with a soft warm blanket or towel.
Fleece blankets works great. Do you have any old baby warming blankets around? Put a warm but not to heavy of a towel or light blanket over the top. You could place some warm water bottles in amongst them. Not too hot as these could burn their skin. Put the bottles under the blanket so the kitten isn't lying directly on or next to it. Maintain temperature at about 80 degrees.
Do not let the bottles get cold or it will really drop the temperature of the kittens fast and this could mean death. It might be a good idea to set a timer or alarm clock to help you remember when to change them. A heating pad could be used in place of the bottles if you have one. Set it on LOW under the blanket.
These newborns have to be feed from a special baby bottle. One with a very small nipple on it. They will need a special kitten formula to eat. This formula should be fed every two hours for the first week of life and every three to four hours thereafter. You can find these at your veterinary office or a pet store. Directions and amounts will be on the container of formula. Follow the manufactures directions. Each kitten will eat differently so use your judgment on amounts. Do not force feed to get the recommended amount into the animal. If it seems healthy and is growing then it will eat what it needs.
Before and after each feeding you will need to massage their tummies and genital area to encourage them to go potty. This stimulates the organs and is needed for survival. Do this with a cotton ball or pad or tissues moistened with warm water. Their mother would have licked them to stimulate this to happen. I bet you just thought mom was always cleaning them if you had ever seen a mother cat with her young.
If your kitten begins to aspirate formula into its lungs, immediately hold it upside down until the choking subsides. You can rub it on its back as you would with a child tapping lightly and frequently to help the milk expel from its lungs. If the kitten is not responding to this you can hold it firmly in both hands using your index fingers to support the neck, "sling" it downward several times. Please be very careful with this procedure as you could throw the kitten from your hands or break its neck. This method is used during a c-sections delivery to get the fluid out of their lungs until they cry and start breathing on their own.
The crying of a new born animal is truly a wonderful and rewarding sound.
I unexpectedly found myself mother to two baby raccoon. I picked up a few baby bottles from the local dollar store. The hole in the nipple was too large. The male coon would eat like crazy then choke. I had a few panicky moments while trying to save his life. It would not breath, it grew week and the eyes started this weird stair and seamed to start rolling back. (Or was this just my panicked imagination?) I held him upside down and began rubbing his body. When this wasn't working I stared the slinging method. This works with gravity and forces the fluid up and out of the lungs. I would Slink 2-3 times, rub like mad. Sling some more, rub, rub. Tears started in my eyes as I thought I was going to lose him. Finely, movement and breathing. Yes he's going to be alright. Then I notice myself trembling, tears streaming down my face. "Darn coon" I thought. What the heck am I doing? But I would do it all over again if they needed my help to survive. Alright, back to the kittens.
Kittens will cry when they are hungry or in some other distress. Be sure to listen for their cries. A much too quiet kitten could also be a sign of something wrong. Do not ignore this sign.
Take immediate action. Ask yourself,
- Is it cold?
- Has it been going potty?
- Has it been eating enough?
Check the kitten over. Is it week and listless? If you're just not sure what's wrong or you're not able to fix what you might think it is call a veterinarian immediately. Get ready to go and keep baby warm on the way.
If a baby starts to get a bit listless you could give it a drop or two of Karo syrup to stimulate it to eat. Often times this bit of sugar can do the trick. If not, take it to the vet.
Keep your kittens clean and dry.This is a very important step for their health and well being. You'll need to change their blankets at least once a day. Mom's not there to wipe up all the little messes. It's up to you. Keep their eyes and faces wiped off every day. Just use a warm wet wash cloth or rag for this.
If your youngsters have been healthy till about four weeks with no trips to the vet you might want to start thinking about taking them in for a visit. Most vets will give a discount for a litter of kittens. You'll have to ask them what their policy is.
Vaccines and de-worming will be on the list of things for "your babies." You made it this far, don't make the mistake and ignore the future care of these wonderful playful companions. By this time they should be getting a lot easier to care for and you could even start litter training.
I wish you and your new babies the best of luck and health in your future years together.
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