Tips for Taking Care of Kittens
Adopt a Kitten and Gain a Lifelong Friend!
She's cute, isn't she?
Everyone loves kittens. Nothing can charm the heart like a cute kitten with it's little kitten meow and its playful antics. There are some things that the new kitten owner should know about taking care of kittens, so that the experience will be a positive one for all involved, whether feline or human.
A great way to bring a cat into your life is to adopt a kitten. The local humane society is one place you can go for a cat adoption. Another place is the want ads in the newspaper. While you could opt to buy a pedigreed kitten, there are usually cute kittens offered for free. Perhaps you want a black kitten, or a pair of funny kittens who will keep each other entertained. You can find them in the paper.
While it is fine to choose a pedigreed kitten for the prospect of breeding and entering in shows, chances are you will choose an ordinary house cat. The first thing to do to insure kitten health and be a responsible pet owner is to schedule a visit with a veterinarian. He or she can tell you all you need to know about kitten care, as well as giving your new baby kitten its shots (vaccinations are usually done around month 2 or 3). You'll also want to schedule the neutering or spaying operation (usually done between month 5 and 8).
A kitten litter can contain 3 to 6 kittens. The first weeks kittens are totally dependent on their mother.
There are several kitten growth stages a baby kitten will go through:
From birth to 10 days old: The kittens are helpless and need complete care from their mother. The mother helps them to keep warm, stimulates them to urinate and defecate and feeds them with her milk.
After 1 week: their eyes and ears will open and they can start to be held gently. In the beginning the kitten's eyesight is very poor, their eyesight is only fully developed at 3 months of age.
3 or 4 weeks old: the kittens will begin taking a little solid food. They will begin to walk and play with their brothers and sisters.
From their third week until they are about 3-1/2 months old, kittens need to be socialized with other cats, people, dogs, and any other creatures they are likely to encounter. Until about the 14 th week, the kittens have been growing fast, but growth will now slow down.
6 months: the kittens reach sexual maturity, so it is important to have the neutering or spaying done soon to avoid related problems. Usually neutering or spaying is done between month 5 and 8.
If something happens to the mother or you happen to run across a litter of orphan kittens, then you will have to play the mother-role and take care of the baby kittens. It is possible to raise them into fine pets, however, newborn kitten care requires diligence on the part of the human. A mother cat is usually a model cat care provider when it has babies, and the human will have to provide the same high quality attention.
One thing mother cats do when caring for their babies is to help them eliminate, at least during the first ten days or so. If you find yourself providing cat care for baby kittens, you will need to fill this role. You can do this by wiping the kitten's anal area with a warm wet washcloth several times a day.
One of the most critical aspects of raising kittens is to make sure the kitten is warm. A heating pad is a good way to provide warmth and comfort the baby cats.
Of course you'll have to feed the kitten. You need to buy a commercial kitten formula, which you can get in either liquid or dry mix-it-yourself forms. When you don't have this and the stores are closed, you can give your kitten a special formula as an emergency feeding (Pedialyte for example) with a tiny bottle. As an alternative to Pedialyte you can give 1 part boiled water mixed with 5 parts evaporated milk, until you can get to a vet or a pet store to get the real thing.
Don't give your kitten solid food until it is 3 or 4 weeks old and don't give him or her cow milk. An eye-dropper can be used for a nursing bottle if you don't have a tiny baby bottle. You could also use a syringe or one of the little squeeze bottles used for drops of medicine. Cat care experts recommend feeding kittens every four hours or more, but don't feed it more than it wants. Hopefully these cat care measures will help you save those orphaned baby kittens.
If your kitten has problems eating, make up some beef broth:
-Start with some lean beef. Cut the meat up into small cubes of an inch or less in size. Put them in a jar that does not have a cardboard liner in the lid. Screw the lid on loosely.
- Set this jar in a kettle of water filled to the level of the meat, and simmer the water. You will eventually be able to see beef broth in the jar.
- Simmer, adding water as needed to the kettle (not to the beef broth itself) until you have extracted all the beef liquid you can. -From time to time remove the lid, stir the meat, and extract the liquid.
This recipe takes hours of attention, but the resulting liquid is a very nourishing cat care formula, and can be kept indefinitely in the freezer.
If the kitten has fleas, try to remove them with a comb. Absolutely do not give newborn kittens a bath or use any sort of flea powder on them.
If your kitten gets sick, it's important to seek professional help. Call the vet ASAP. When they have diarrhea it's very important to keep them hydrated.