Orphaned kitten feeding and care
Orphaned kitten feeding and care . I have taken in and cared for nine abandoned kittens over the course of the past 15 years. When their mother was slain, four of the kittens were two weeks old; three others were only hours old; and two more kittens dropped out of the nest in our barn when they were only a day old. All of them were only hours old when their mother passed away.
It is not a tough process, but it does need patience, time, and enough of tender loving care to successfully raise motherless kittens.
The following are some pointers that might assist you in caring for your orphaned kittens:
1. Make a nest.
In a normal situation, a mother cat would spend a significant portion of each day curled up in the womb with her young, which allows her to better regulate the temperature of her offspring. It is essential that the kittens be kept warm because, if they are not, they will not eat and, in fact, all of their body processes will slow down. If they are not warm enough, they will not want to eat.
Make a nest for your orphaned kittens in a small box and line it with towels, old t-shirts, or old sweatshirts to assist the infants retain their body heat. This will keep your orphaned kittens safe and comfortable. To block off the light, place a cloth over the top of the box. Dark places are preferred by female cats to roost in. If you don’t have access to a heat lamp, you may assist keep the kittens warm by placing a tiny desk light with 40 watts of power several feet above the container in which they are housed.
If the box is large enough, another option for maintaining the infants’ body temperature is to use a jug or similar large container that has been filled with hot water. Put the jug in the box, and then use the towels to create a nest next to the box. After it has cooled down, you should refill the jug. You may also use a quart jar as a “hot water bottle,” but keep in mind that it will cool down very rapidly if you use it in this capacity.
2. When you are feeding the kittens, you should use an eyedropper or a syringe.
When I initially started taking care of orphaned kittens, I quickly learned that the little nursing bottles that are sold at veterinary clinics are far too large for the kittens. The nipples were too difficult for the kittens to get their lips around. In the beginning, when the kittens were just born, I used an eyedropper. As the kittens grew older, a syringe, the sort of syringe that is used for administering injections (but without the needle, of course), worked really well. When the kittens became older, I switched to larger needles even though I had started off with the 3 cc size. My kittens ultimately sucked hard enough on the end of the syringe to bring the plunger down on their own. The tip of a syringe is around the same size as a cat’s nipple, so it wasn’t difficult for them to do so. Check with the veterinary clinic where you get your pet’s treatment to see if they have any old syringes available for purchase or if they sell new syringes.
It is important to remember that regardless of whether you are using an eyedropper or a syringe to administer the liquid, you should only provide a few drops at a time. My doctor warned me that there was a risk of the kittens inhaling the formula if they were given an excessive amount of formula at once (more than they were able to swallow). Your kittens have a much increased risk of developing pneumonia if they inhale formula.
Along the process, I also learned that it is ideal to feed the kittens as much as they want to eat, regardless of how much food you give them. If they are receiving an adequate amount of food, they will be able to relax and sleep until the next time they are fed. When they are first weaned, little kittens will probably only take one CC at a time. They will consume around 12 CCs at one sitting when they are fully grown (usually in several different helpings).
Kittens learn very fast that the syringe you are holding in your hand is where their food is stored. Let them nuzzle in the palm of your hand for a few seconds or let them suck on your fingers if you are having problems getting them to take the formula from the syringe. Then you should present them with the syringe and let them to sucking on it as you slowly press down on the plunger of the syringe.
3. Give the kittens either KMR or cat formula that you have personally formulated for them.
KMR, which stands for canned cat milk replacer, may be purchased in either a premixed or dry form at the majority of veterinary clinics nowadays. This food has been developed especially for kittens to ensure that they receive all of the essential nutrients. Always make sure you follow the instructions on the label. The amount of food that should be consumed is based on the body weight. Because each of my newborn kittens weighed three ounces, they required only a half of an eyedropper’s worth of KMR at a time for the first few days after they were born.
The veterinary hospital that I went to also provided me with a recipe for “kitten formula.” Following the introduction of the first can of KMR, all of my kittens have been grown on this diet.
The recipe for Kitten Formula is provided below.
1 cup of undiluted milk
1 teaspoon of corn syrup in its white form
1 egg yolk
a little bit of salt
Use a blender to combine the ingredients, and make sure to do it in enough of time for the air bubbles to deflate before serving.
Bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Bring the formula up to temperature until it is just barely warm to the touch. When the liquid was either too warm or too cold, none of my kittens would even attempt to take a sip of it. The same could be said for KMR.
4. Make sure to give your kittens food at set times each of the three times a day.
Every couple of hours, the mother cats feed their young kittens milk. The veterinarian that I visited advised me against feeding them on such a regular basis. He explained, “They won’t eat properly, and you will get irritated, and they will get frustrated, and it will be worse on everybody.” Indeed, he was correct. The decision to feed the kittens three times a day turned out to be a very good one.
5. Use a warm, damp towel to gently groom your kittens, and then assist them in defecating and emptying their bladders and intestines.
You will need to assist young kittens in defecating and urinating since they are unable to control these bodily functions on their own. Use a rag that’s been warmed and drenched in water to clean beneath their tails until they have either emptied their bladders or moved their bowels. Be ready to use anywhere from two to four different washcloths on each of the kittens. If all they need to do is empty their bladders, then you won’t require as many of them. If they need to empty their bowels, you might want to watch out since it can get nasty. The most effective washcloths are those that are small enough to be wrung out with one hand while simultaneously holding a wriggling cat with the other. I fill a bucket with hot water, add the washcloths, and place the bucket in a location that is convenient for me to get it.
In addition, young kittens do not know how to clean themselves, and after a day or two of consuming kitten formula, they get sticky because the formula often dribbles down their chins, causing the formula to adhere to their faces. Make use of a warm, damp towel on occasion in order to remove the formula, but take care not to get the kittens TOO wet, as this will make it difficult for them to maintain their body temperature.
6. When they are four weeks old, you should give them a litter pan.
When they need to empty their bladders and move their bowels, cats have a strong inclination to utilize material that they can scratch about in. This is because scratching helps cats move their intestines and bladders. When the kittens are four weeks old, they will already be thinking in this manner, and giving them a litter pan will assist them acquire the concept in their heads that they are supposed to use it. It’s possible that you’ll have to continue assisting them with a washcloth for a bit, but it won’t be long until they start using the litter pan instead.
Using kitty litter in an aluminum pie dish as a base is a good way to get started. When the kittens are old enough, you should switch to a litter box made of a larger container.
7. When the kittens are around six weeks old, you should begin giving them solid food.
Kittens that are cared for by their mothers would most likely begin feeding earlier than six weeks, but you will be able to supply more milk for them than their mothers would be able to produce on their own.
You may start giving your kittens solid food after all of their teeth have erupted. If you want to give your cat dry food, a high-quality kitten chow is an excellent option. The kitten food provides all of the essential elements, including protein, for the kittens’ continued development. Additionally, bite-sized bits of kitten chow are created when the food is prepared. You might also try giving them a small amount of canned cat food once in a while as a “prize” and to pique their interest in eating. Also, be sure to provide your kittens access to clean water so that they may drink it. In addition to this, continue to give the kittens kitten formula as a dietary supplement until they are consistently eating solid food. At this point, you won’t be need to feed them with a syringe any more. You may give them the formula in a little saucer, and once they find it and realize what it is, they will drink it on their own.
8. You should brace yourself to be startled and surprised.
Kittens mature quite rapidly; in fact, there will be days when you will feel as though you are witnessing their development before your own eyes.
When they are around 10 days old, kittens’ eyes fully open for the first time.
As early as 6 days of age, kittens will begin to make their characteristic purring sound.
When they are about two and three weeks old, kittens will begin various “kitty activities” such as shaking their heads, attempting to groom themselves, and lifting a rear paw to scratch behind their ears. These actions are typical of cats.
When you are trying to feed a young kitten, they may develop a case of the hiccups.
To some extent, young kittens are analogous to infant humans. Their days consist of little more than eating, sleeping, and relieving themselves of the contents of their intestines and bladders. When you put the kittens back in the “nest” after they have had enough to eat and have had their bodily functions attended to, they will sleep or rest peacefully until you are ready to feed them again. This will take place between the times that you feed them. If cats are irritable, wailing, and meowing, it is possible that they are hungry, that they need to empty their bladders or move their bowels, that they are feeling chilly, or that all three of these things are happening simultaneously.
As the young cats mature, they will begin to stay awake for longer stretches of time and will ultimately begin to interact socially by playing with one another.
When the kittens are four weeks old, you will most likely need to change them into a bigger box, if not sooner, because the first one will be too tiny and they will know how to get out on their own! If you don’t move them sooner, you will have to relocate them when they are four weeks old.