Immediately after birth, babies receive a special milk concentrate - colostrum, it contains a much higher content of nutrients and protective substances than in milk. It’s impossible to invent anything more valuable than colostrum for newborn kittens. Then milk only gets thinner.
Caring for newborn kittens, if the cat has enough milk, is not required. The cat is a caring mother, she herself knows what her children need. Weaning kittens from their mother occurs naturally and gradually. If the cat and kittens spend together almost 90% of their time together during the first week, by the fifth week they spend no more than 10% on them and try to hide when they see those who are eager to eat their offspring.
She can feed her offspring even up to 12 weeks, just milk becomes so liquid that babies are forced to look for another source of food. The cat practically doesn’t take the grown children up from their breasts - they go away themselves in search of food, since you won’t last long on such grub. Care for newborn kittens is practically not needed, but when they reach 3 weeks of age, they need complementary foods. You can start with chopped boiled beef, chicken, milk porridge.
Arrangement of the place and its heating
It is better to purchase a lounger or incubator for kittens in advance
It is necessary to prepare in advance a convenient place for kittens. For this, an incubator or a special bed is suitable. You can’t place it right next to heaters or a battery, as kittens can quickly overheat. Also, you can not heat a place with crumbs of lighting fixtures. This can affect the eyesight of babies and affect their fragile eyes.
Useful information: A heating pad is best for heating a place. Take a simple bottle and draw warm water into it (up to 35 °), then wrap it with a towel and place it in a bed. In the second week of life, you can gradually reduce the water temperature to 28 °, in the third - to 24 °. Colder water should not be placed.
How to feed a newborn kitten?
At the time of feeding, take the kitten in the palm of your hand and give him a bottle with a pacifier or a pipette
Of course, the best food for newborn kittens is mother's milk. But sometimes you have to feed your kids yourself. However, even if the cat feeds her children herself, then at 4 weeks of age you will have to feed the babies. A few spoons of milk per day will be enough. Kittens can also be fed with milk powder. To do this, dilute it with honey and a spoonful of sugar and pour water.
In the first month of life, it is better not to feed babies with too fat milk. Gradually increase the amount of complementary foods, and in the second month you can start giving liquid milk porridges. If you feed kittens on your own from the first days of their life, then get ready for some minor difficulties. The fact is that this must be done every 2.5 hours, including at night. It is most convenient to feed kittens with a bottle with a pacifier or pipette. It is better to do a little milk mixture so that there is no excess, since it can not be stored in a finished form for a long time. The bottle must be sterilized and cleaned before each feeding.
Useful information: If you feed the babies with a pipette, do not put it deeply into the kitten's mouth, as the liquid can enter the respiratory tract. We advise you to hold them in your arms in a straightened position. So it will be more convenient for kittens to eat, in addition, they will be able to burp air.
In the second month of life, you can also add meat, ideally dietary, to the kitten's daily diet. Moreover, it can be given both boiled and raw. Roll a small ball out of meat and put it in the baby’s mouth. After the kitten tastes the new food, you can introduce into the diet liquid mashed chicken or fish mixed with rice. Beef is also suitable. When introducing new products to the diet, do not stop giving babies milk porridge. Without it, it will be difficult for a kitten to go to the toilet (constipation forms). Feed the kids with cottage cheese, and by the 9th week you can gradually transfer them to food.
At birth, kittens weigh up to 120 g. With normal development, each week they will add 100 g. Moreover, boys gain weight a little faster than girls. If you notice that the weight does not increase for several weeks, consult your veterinarian for advice. Perhaps the kitten is sick and needs help.
What to do if a cat has mastitis
Mastitis can be life threatening for cats and kittens. At the first symptoms of the disease, the kittens must be weaned, and the cat should be shown to the veterinarian
If a cat has mastitis, kittens will have to be transferred to artificial nutrition. This disease occurs when milk stagnates in the mammary glands. To avoid mastitis, the owner of the cat must make sure that the kittens suck from all the nipples in turn. If the disease has already manifested, you need to immediately remove the pain syndrome and in the future make sure that mastitis does not worsen.
For treatment, you can use camphor oil. To do this, apply it on a scalded cabbage leaf and attach it to the inflamed nipples. In advanced cases, septic mastitis appears. It differs in that bloody purulent discharge appears from the nipples. In this case, you must definitely contact your veterinarian: a similar condition can threaten the life of cats and even kittens.
How to care for your baby?
When kittens become active, spend a few hours a day playing with them
It is worth remembering that crumbs are developing very quickly. They first open their eyes at the 8th day of life, and in the second week they begin to hear. At this time, it is important to carefully monitor the cleanliness of the bed, babies and cats. It is important that the ears and eyes of kittens are always clean.
Useful information: With improper care, purulent discharge may appear. In this case, be sure to invite the veterinarian to your home. In no case do not take the kids out of the house, because infectious diseases develop quickly enough in a weakened body.
Of course, newborn kittens need to gain strength so that they grow up healthy and active. Therefore, do not bother them unnecessarily. From the 3rd week they begin to walk independently, and they will have to devote a lot of time. More often play, stroke and pick up kittens. So the kids will grow up very playful and affectionate, they will be attached to their master. Toddlers who have not been given proper attention will become alienated and wild.
Can I wash?
Newborn kitten after washing
Regardless of whether the kittens have a mother or not, you have to wash them yourself. Even if the cat copes with her duties herself, this will be a good help for her. This does not mean at all that they need to be bathed intensively, it is enough to wipe the wool daily with a damp cloth.
Start accustoming kittens to the toilet as early as possible
Accustom kittens to the tray is quite simple. The main thing is to start doing this as soon as possible (you can even when they are not yet excommunicated). From day 8, the eyes of the kittens are already open, and the kids are actively moving. If their bed is located close to the tray, the cat will help them get there to meet their needs. If you are raising your own babies, then you have to take on this care. Until that time, until the baby is 3 weeks old, his toilet must be organized after each feeding. This should be done gradually:
- First wrap the baby in a slightly dampened cloth. Flaxseed is ideal. It will be, so to speak, an imitation of licking a cat. During this procedure, gently massage the kitten’s tummy to improve digestion.
- Massage the inside of the baby's hips as close to the urethra as possible.
Following these tips correctly will not cause any problems. You should know that the stool in newborn kittens happens once every few days. Urination should be more frequent. If the kitten cannot go to the toilet and has constipation, change its diet. Give only liquid milk porridge or food familiar to him. Just finely chop it and mix with warm water.
Make sure that the babies do not eat the filling from the tray. This can be harmful to their health. Many fillers contain chemical compounds, and being dirty, it becomes a source of infection.
There are not so many ways to bring fleas to kittens. These include:
- Combing and mechanical destruction of insects,
- Bathing babies with special shampoos,
- Use of flea drops.
Single preparations that can be used for kittens under the age of two months should be used only after they are weaned from the mother, as well as shampoos. Otherwise, chemicals will be licked by the cat, and then get into the oranism of babies.
Therefore, the most reliable and safe, albeit time-consuming way to remove fleas from babies is combing them with a soft but dense comb with catching and eradicating parasites.
Signs that the kitten was born sick
If the kitten does not open its eyes for a long time, the veterinarian will solve this problem in a few minutes
It happens that the baby is born very weak. To grow it healthy, you need to carefully monitor any changes in its condition. Watch out for the following nuances:
- Eyes. If they did not come off before the 17th day of life, then you need to see a doctor for a simple operation.
- Sky. Sometimes kittens have a congenital malformation - cleft palate. If milk seeps through the nostrils when the kitten is drinking - unfortunately, the animal is doomed. It will not be able to eat normally in the future.
- Limbs. It often happens that newborn babies have hind legs paralysis. This ailment occurs during muscle degeneration.
The problem with the eyes is easily solved with the help of a veterinarian. The last two, unfortunately, are not eliminated. They will interfere with the kitten's normal life. However, if you can look after him, the animal will grow up devoted and happy.
Newborn kittens, stages of growth and development:
Growing kittens has a number of stages.
Stage 1 (this article is about him): from birth to 4-5 weeks
The main characteristics of the initial stage:
- kittens are helpless and need constant attention of a cat
- daily weight control and frequent meals needed
- protect babies from other cats
- a large area is not yet required
What should a healthy kitten look like?
The very first difference between healthy newborn kittens is that they eagerly suckle their breasts, they have a wet oral cavity and tongue.
If the kids are disturbed, they pile up together and try to crawl together to the mother - the source of heat and food.
The skin of a healthy baby is pink and warm. With a light pinch, he immediately returns to its original place. If you pick up a pet, it stretches out and begins to swing actively in the palm of your hand. If the baby is placed away from the cat, he will instinctively crawl to her.
When a kitten has health problems, he moves poorly, his skin is cold, he does not strain when he is lifted up in his arms, and he does not suckle well.
The body of a newborn kitten emits too little heat (it is especially important to take into account the fact of temperature in the sphinxes), it has not yet developed a mechanism of heat regulation. In this regard, he just needs a constant source of heat. This explains why the kids are constantly pressed against each other or the cat.
Hypothermia is deadly for kittens, because along with a decrease in body temperature, vital processes stop. Living heat is an ideal heater for small animals.
If it so happens that the cat is not nearby - the best place for the bosom of the owner. If it is not possible to constantly keep the kitten, you can follow this advice - pick up a bottle of hot water and place it under a natural woolen cloth.
The main thing is to monitor the temperature of the water and change it in time as it cools. The ideal temperature is 38 degrees.
Newborn kittens still do not see anything, therefore they give the impression of complete helplessness. They spread their legs, trying to move, their ears are still pressed to the head, and their weight is only 70 - 130 g.
In the first 2 days after the birth of the kittens sleep, bending their heads to the chest, shudder in a dream, can shake their hind legs and sometimes squeak - this is the norm, and it is called active sleep. This is also the only opportunity for such a crumb to somehow move and begin to develop muscles, which he will later need very much.
Completely healthy kittens squeak extremely rarely. This usually happens when freezing, from hunger. If the cat believes that the weakened kitten will not survive, then he pushes him out of the litter, saving his strength to raise healthy ones.
But with the successful help of a person and the right treatment, the body temperature is restored, the behavior becomes the same as that of other kittens, and the cat again takes the baby to itself.
Meowing, breathing, heartbeat
As already mentioned, completely healthy kittens squeak very rarely and only for an important reason.
Thin babies are very restless - they crawl and seek help, fall asleep away from the cat and their brothers. Often they scream heart-rendingly, without ceasing for a long time.
Normally, blood pressure in recently born kittens is slightly lower compared to adults. Also, babies have a high cardiac output and a fast heartbeat.
The heart rate is more than 20 beats per minute and can increase up to 260. The number of respiratory movements is normal - 15 - 35 breaths in 60 seconds.
Feeding a kitten without a cat - alternative solutions
If the cat itself feeds its kittens, then difficulties with their development usually do not arise. But artificial feeding is a rather troublesome task for the owner. It is required to pay enough attention to the correctness of its conduct, to take into account such aspects:
- the composition of the selected mixture,
- feeding regimen
- way of feeding.
To understand whether a kitten has enough food and if his weight is normal, it is necessary to weigh the babies once a week, keep a diary of weight gain.
The minimum increase should be 50 - 100 g every week.
If in doubt or suspicion of deviations, consult your veterinarian.
As a rule, a mother cat successfully copes with feeding 5 or more kittens. But there are cases that there is very little or no milk at all. In this situation, the owner must find the cat a nurse or independently artificially feed the kittens. It is very difficult.
First of all, patience and proper organization of the daily routine will be required, since such nutrition for newborns is required for 3 weeks every 2 hours, including at night.
If we talk about nutrition itself, then mixtures that are intended for infants are suitable, only you need to breed them stronger than for children. These babies are fed with a pipette.
When a cat cannot feed its kittens, the question arises as to how to replace mother’s milk for pets. Now, in the assortment of pet stores, mother’s milk substitutes specially designed for born kittens are sold.
The milk mixture can be made independently. In composition, this recipe is similar to cat's milk. Required to take:
- four parts of boiled goat milk,
- one piece of egg protein.
Beat the indicated ingredients until smooth. If there is intolerance to milk sugar - lactose, then you can feed a baby lactose-free mixture. Dilute it with water 2 times more than according to the instructions for the child.
Mix the kitten to a comfortable temperature, do not give it hot.
It is forbidden to force feed a kitten. So the risk of food entering the respiratory tract is high.
so that the baby lies in a position in which he sucks the mother’s breast - physiologically, his body absorbs food more easily, burps excess air.
After a month, the kitten is able to digest ordinary food, so complementary foods are introduced.
From the first day of life, with artificial feeding, meals are required after 2 to 3 hours, also at night. For each feeding, you need about a teaspoon of a mixture of 5 ml.
Over time, the interval between meals should be increased. From the third week it equals 3 hours, and from the fourth to four, only daily feedings are left.
You can make stock of milk - but not more than for a day, keep it in the refrigerator, warm it to the optimum temperature, before giving it to the baby.
Special nipples, bottles need to be boiled regularly. The same applies to pipettes, syringes.
The mixture should flow evenly, otherwise the animal will not have time to swallow it.
For the monthly
At the age of 1 month, the baby has not yet fully matured both physically and psychologically:
- he barely learned to stand on his own paws,
- his body is not yet adapted to the absorption of solid food,
- in the absence of a cat, a kitten needs special care.
In fact, the babies are completely ready for the transition to self-nutrition in 4 - 5 weeks, so you can begin to gradually remove the feeding through the nipple. The size of the stomach is still very small, so the portions should be appropriate.
Не следует отказываться от молочки.
Не рекомендуется кормить котенка цельным коровьим молоком, лучше приобретать специальные заменители такого молока в зоомагазинах.
Зато организм малыша хорошо принимает кисломолочные продукты. Питомец не должен переедать. This provokes severe regurgitation, diarrhea and bloating.
Those kids who were taken from the street and who had to starve are prone to overeating. To calculate the amount of food needed, you need to determine the calorie content of the diet - 20 kcal per 100 g of weight.
Here are the basic rules of first feeding:
- Kittens in 1 month can not properly chop the food themselves, so first the owner does it.
- In order not to develop intestinal disorders and allergies - it is recommended to give preference to lean meat of beef, turkey, you can try canned meat, designed specifically for kittens.
- It is allowed to include mashed vegetables with meat.
- It is forbidden to give bread, cereals, pasta. The digestive system of cats is not suitable for these foods.
- At the age of 1 month, it is already possible to equip a pet tray - an open form with small bumpers is great. This will allow the cat to climb into it on their own. For training, you need to put the baby in the tray after each meal.
You should carefully consider the choice of filler.
Coming together do not fit little kittens. Even thoughtless pets can taste it - after getting wet in the mouth, the granules clog the digestive tract.
During training, it is permissible to use disposable absorbent diapers or wood filler, which does not form lumps and is not dangerous if swallowed. Also, compliance with the following rules of kitten hygiene is necessarily included in the care:
- Do not bathe a pet under the age of 2 months. It is enough to regularly carefully clean the ears with a cotton pad, rinse the eyes and monitor the condition of the oral cavity.
- The eyes are wiped with a cotton pad soaked in boiled water.
- If the gums are swollen and hyperemic, you need to show the kitten to a veterinarian who will prescribe an anesthetic gel for teething.
- If the kitten was taken from the street - he needs treatment from helminths. This should be done by a veterinarian who will choose the appropriate remedy for such a baby.
For the newborn
The normal temperature of the cat is 38 degrees, but the thermoregulation is still not fully developed in kittens. In this regard, newborns need a special warm place.
Despite the frequent use of boxes for this purpose, this is not true, because cardboard quickly absorbs odors. It is better to give preference to a basin covered with a soft natural fabric. If you use a heating pad, then it is placed outside the container where the kittens are located so that overheating does not occur.
In the first week you will need to maintain the temperature at least 32 degrees, then reduce to 30. After a couple of weeks you can not lower at least 24 degrees. The nest needs to be slightly covered, leaving receptions for fresh air. A kitten needs peace, you do not need to constantly squeeze it in your hands.
Age 1 to 3 weeks is the most difficult and dangerous period.
Feeding is not an easy task. For this, a special milk mixture is used. Veterinary pharmacies sell special pacifier bottles. It will not work to feed the animal when the baby is fed up - he himself will refuse the bottle.
When feeding a newborn kitten on its own, there are some nuances that should not alarm the owner, because they are a variant of the norm, and not pathology:
- Only one eye is open in the kitten. This is normal, because the process should take place gradually and not always simultaneously in both eyes.
- If the kittens are brought up by a cat - it can periodically fall on them - no need to worry about this. So she tries to warm them, so it is so important to maintain a suitable temperature.
- If the cat decided to move the kittens do not need to interfere. The main thing is that the new place does not cause discomfort to anyone, and is warm enough.
- The kitten needs to be washed until he learns to do it himself. To do this, wipe the muzzle with a clean cloth dipped in boiled water.
Can I pick it up?
You can begin to teach babies to communicate with a person and hands 2 weeks after birth.
If the cat reacts with aggression, you need to return the baby to the place, and try again in a couple of days. As kittens grow older, the mother’s aggression goes away.
A small kitten needs to be handled very carefully. If there are children in the house, they will need to explain that the babies should not be missed, and also forbid to touch kittens without adult control.
When and how to start learning to go to the toilet?
If mom cat is nearby, then she herself will take care of the hygiene of kittens. She helps them go to the toilet by licking their tummy. No need to interfere and impede this process.
If there is no cat, then in the first weeks after birth, be sure to help the pet with urination and defecation. To this end, you need to take a damp cloth and wipe the tummy, genitals, until the kitten goes to the toilet. Before returning the baby to the place, wash and wipe with a dry cloth.
Accustomize to the tray should be from the 5th week of life. To do this, just put it in the tray after each feeding.
The initial stage of growing kittens
For newborn kittens, frequent feeding (every 2 hours), the presence of a heat source (mom-cat and heating pad), the absence of drafts and protection against infections and viruses are important. Experienced breeders are able to organize the living space of their mother with a litter in such a way that it will seem from the side that the cat is raising kittens herself. Indeed, with the right approach, the owner’s task is to do everything for the kittens to be looked after by their mother. Only a caring cat can properly grow kittens.
Why do some cats abandon kittens after giving birth?
There may be several reasons, but the main ones, based on experience, are two:
- eclampsia cats
- the wrong hormonal background of the animal
Eclampsia in cats is very common, so you should not wait for its symptoms, but you should prevent it, and you need to start a week before the expected birth.
How to prevent eclampsia in cats?
The use of calcium preparations will reliably protect the cat from eclampsia. Prevention should be started from the first weeks of pregnancy. It is best to use calcium gluconate from a “human” pharmacy for this. Calcium gluconate must be injected intramuscularly, moreover, heated to a cat's body temperature (37-38 degrees). Throughout pregnancy and all the time of feeding kittens, injections should be done once a week in the amount of 1 cube. If you can’t give injections, use pills such as Osteogenon (from a human pharmacy) - 1/4 tablet 1 time in 2 days (every other day). Just do not overdo it - excess calcium is as dangerous as its deficiency.
After birth, the drug caforsen (veterinary pharmacy) is also very effective - a solution for injection, used once a day at the rate of 0.1 ml of the drug per 1 kg of animal weight.
Why can a cat have the wrong hormonal background?
Most often, such problems arise in first-born, the mating of which took place at the age of 10-12 months. As a rule, when raising their first offspring, such cats are not very good mothers. But this does not mean at all that repeated birth and raising kittens will have the same consequences. With age, the hormonal background is leveled, and the mother cat perfectly looks after the kittens and feeds them.
Food kittens first days of life
If the mother cat feeds the kittens herself, then there will be less problems, although in this case it is also necessary to see if the kitten sucks correctly. How can this be understood? The first sign of proper nutrition is a constant weight gain. To do this, kittens should be regularly weighed in the morning and evening. A kitten should add 5-15 g per day. The second sign of good nutrition is a full sleep between feedings: the kitten does not peep, waking up, finds the nipple, then sleeps again. Healthy kittens that eat right eat almost no squeak. But the kitten may not squeak for another reason. If he is weakened, then he simply does not have the strength to do so. Therefore, the most important criterion for proper growth is weight gain.
Artificial feeding of newborn kittens
There are times when kittens have to be fed artificially. The reasons for this may include:
- death of a mother cat
- blood group incompatibility
- cesarean section of mother
- mother’s disease and taking medications that are not compatible with breastfeeding
- cat's lack of milk
Causes such as cesarean section, maternal illness and incompatibility of blood groups require only temporary intervention from the owners of the cat. If a cat has milk, then their task is to maintain lactation until the period when she herself can feed.
If the cat does not have milk or the cat has died, then the kittens will have to be artificially fed during the period from birth to 4-5 weeks.
The rules of artificial feeding
You can use industrial mixtures to feed kittens, dry mixes for children (Nestle Nestogen, Nestle NAN with bifidobacteria (on the bank there is a green unit in a gold rim), a Nanny mix1 “golden goat” with probiotics, for feeding babies from birth) or make a chat for cats by yourself. The easiest way is to take an industrial mix of Royal Canin. The package will have a bottle, a nipple and a measuring spoon. Mix the mixture clearly according to the instructions immediately before feeding. Unused part must not be stored. An overdose of the mixture can lead to constipation. Incorrect application of the kitten can cause the creation of an air lump. Be careful. Kittens need to be artificially fed every 2 hours, day and night. When using unnatural nutrition, special preparations are needed that facilitate the assimilation of industrial feed by the kitten. For this purpose, you can use the homeopathic product Elvestin.
Natural feeding and weight gain
There are times when a kitten, who first gained good weight, begins to reduce the amount of daily gain, then the weight stops, and if nothing is done, he will begin to lose weight. What is the reason for such dynamics? The fact is that kittens grow and develop unevenly, and for 3-5 days leaders are already determined - the largest and most energetic kittens. It is they who get the most milky and resorbed nipples. They drive away other kittens. As a result, weaker babies get tired of fighting, it is difficult for them to suck from a tight nipple, and without eating enough, they fall asleep. Waking up from hunger, they begin to look for a good nipple, but everything repeats. Kittens without proper nutrition very quickly lose their body temperature, and then the sucking reflex. Therefore, do not wait until the kitten begins to lose weight. If during control weighing, he scored 0-3 grams, then control how he eats. Apply it to the best nipples (they are usually used by the largest kittens-leaders), do not let it fall asleep. If the result is the same at the next weigh-in, then you should not expect a miracle that everything will work out by itself. Most likely, the kitten sucks badly, quickly gets tired and just sleeps on the nipple, losing strength.
How to inject a vitamin bomb for kittens?
At one time, the kitten needs to enter strictly 1 ml of the cocktail. A smaller amount may not have the desired effect, while a larger amount is harmful to the work of the heart. It is necessary to introduce a cocktail strictly subcutaneously between the shoulder blades. This cocktail also helps in those cases when the kitten was born, but an hour and two pass later, and he never managed to suck. After the injection, the kitten is sucked in for 1-3 minutes. Usually, one injection is enough for the kitten to start eating right and gain weight, but it is possible to prophylactically repeat the cocktails several times, no more than 3 per day.
How to organize the space of a cat and litter?
Up to 4-5 weeks, kittens do not need a lot of space, for them the main thing is warm and timely meal. They like to lie all together, they are comfortable. It is best to buy an exhibition double tent for a litter without a partition. In one of its parts, install a plastic pallet in which to lay a soft natural fabric and regularly change it. In another part, the cat can rest, because it is hot with the kittens. There you can install a pot, water and food if you close the cat with kittens when you go to work.