Volunteering with the local animal shelter and the rescue groups, I have sadly come across orphaned kittens more than I want to think about.
The kittens have ranged in minutes in age on up. Depending on exactly how old they are, the first thing I do is start with an anti-bacterial bath. It is good to get whatever they might have on them OFF! This is especially important when getting them from the shelter. If they are newborns, I wait until they are a bit older.
Always keep the kitten warm and dry using licking like rubs. Have you ever watched a mama cat clean her babies? I try to intimidate the same process. Small strokes over and over again even around the face. I do this quite often throughout their growing stages. Not necessarily the bath but the cleaning process. And this can be replaced using a damp warm rag.
Most important is feeding them.
The formula is very simple and cheaper and healthier than buying pre-made mixes.
1 can of evaporated milk
2 small jars of meat baby food (stage 2)
1 plain yogurt
2 egg yolks
1 T of Karol syrup
Mix all together and add enough water to make 1 quart. Keep refrigerated. Luke warm for feeding.
Depending on the age of the kittens they will need to be feed every 2 hours. But like any mother will tell you eventually you can get them to sleep through the night and feed first thing in the morning and regularly throughout the day.
I actually use a surrogate mama cat that happens to be one of my own. She didn't start out that way. She was my first pregnant foster mom from the shelter. She is like 100 years old, rotten teeth and not exactly what I call eye candy. Even though she does not have milk, she tends to all of the other needs like bathing, and trust me, the first time you notice the mom cleaning the hineys of the babies you might re-think using one too.
But if this is not an option for you here are a few other tips:
· They need their mama, and in this case that is you - be there.
· Carry them around, especially when very young inside your shirt next to your skin, let them feel you and smell you. Keep them warm.
· Clean and sterilize your hands in between other pets in the home. You do not want sick babies! And remember to even have clean clothing when being around them.
· If you do have a sick kitten, it is very important to see your vet
· I used a bottle so that my kittens got to experience the sucking just like mom. But in some cases a small syringe will do the trick.
· Use a damp paper towel to "lick" the back ends and tummies of the kittens to stimulate the potting process. Do this after every meal.
· At about 4 weeks, you can introduce kitten food and the litter box. Use unscented, un-clumping brand. Your kitten's health depends on it. You do not want them to lick anything with too many chemicals in it.
I loved the changes that occur right down to watching them learn to walk, and soon explore my home.
If you want to experience kittens, instead of allowing your cat to have kittens, foster a pregnant mom from the shelter. There is no short supply of them unfortunately. And they are happy to move them out to a safer, cleaner atmosphere. Not that our shelter is by any means, not clean. But you have animals coming and going. And you don't know anything about them or what they are bringing in to the shelter.
Most of all enjoy the process. They will be excited to see you. And before long you will be saying goodbye to your babies as they find their first real forever home.
Coylynn Reynolds has been volunteering and foster many cats and dogs over the years. Hundreds of animals can thank her for their second chance at a better life. You can see her blog at http://coylynn.blogspot.com/ - Her subject matter offers advice from other authors about care on both dogs and cats. And her tidbits as well.