Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to Care for a Day-Old Kitten

Kittens are usually cared for by their moms. However, like all things in nature, Darwin kicks in and only a few of the offspring will survive. I have encountered twice the particular case of a cat that simply will not care for her babies, being equally disinterested in whether they live or die. So, for the best part of the next four weeks I acted like a nursing cat mother for three little kittens. Needless to say, when they're a few hours old, each of them is hardly bigger than a very small mouse.

There are two things they need to survive: warmth and food. You can solve the first issue with a couple of 2 liters plastic bottles filled with hot water that you put it in their nesting place. A shoebox will suffice for that. Also, try making them comfortable by adding a towel or any cloth you won't need ever again, so they have a soft floor. The water will need changing every few hours, depending on how fast it cools.

Next issue is a bit of a nuisance. You'll have to buy a baby bottle for kittens. There are many available at pet shops, you cannot improvise around it, trust me on that, I've tried. The thing that came nearer to a baby bottle was a 2ml syringe, but you run the risk of pumping too fast and choking them. Plus, they can't draw from it. So go get the baby bottle. Then to the food: you can either buy special powder milk that has all the surplus they need from a lactating mother, just ask the veterinarian for it, or use your own milk from the store. Either way is fine, the powder milk is pricey but better, but they won't die for the lack of it. Next buy eggs, a whole basket of eggs, you're going to need them. Break an egg and clear the yolk. Only the yolk! Put the yolk in a cup. Add a bit of milk and mix. Then add a spoon of honey and mix. Pour milk up to about 200ml and mix. Honey helps the kittens' digestion a lot, it's not just for the taste of it. When you have about 200ml of mixed product make sure it's warm and fill up the baby bottle. Then pick each of the kids up and start feeding them. You'll have to be patient, although at first they're probably be starving and will draw like there's no tomorrow. You will have to repeat that every three hours and two times per night.

My advice is to have more food mixed so you only have to warm it, it saves a lot of time not having to mix it all each and every time they need feeding. After four weeks they will probably learn to drink by themselves and you're off the hook, although there's no timeframe guaranteed about that. I had one crazy kitten that refused to let go of the baby bottle for three months!

If you follow these steps it will be hard on your part but your kittens WILL live. Constant feeding and warmth is all there really is to it. And patience.

Oana is a member of Lacartes.com - an online community where people can meet new people and stay connected to friends, families and share photos, updates, reviews and more. Oana regularly writes articles on different topics that interested her. She always had pets around her,from when she was a little girl and her sister has nine cats. Come join us for FREE. This article can only be reproduced in its entirety when the link to lacartes.com is live at all times.