There is nothing better or healthier for a newborn kitten than being close to its mother during those crucial first few weeks of life. It’s the mother cat that provides its kittens with milk, nurture, and above all, guidance which is important for newborn kitten care. The mother cat licks her kittens clean until they’re old enough to care for themselves, and keeps them warm during those cold nights.
Ordinarily, a mother cat rarely leaves its young to defend itself. There may be times however when the mother falls ill or meets an accident, and is no longer there to take care of her babies. In these cases, it is up to you, the pet owner, to provide the abandoned kitten with a safe and happy home.
When finding an abandoned kitten, the first thing you should do is call your local vet or animal shelter. You may just locate a nursing mother cat that can act as a substitute to the kitten’s original mother cat. This is the best thing you can do for your kitten, for no matter how much you may want to raise it for yourself, giving it up to a mother cat is a better option.
Only take on the task of taking care of abandoned newborn kittens for yourself when there is absolutely no mother cat available. Note that this task is tougher than it may seem, and will require quite a bit of time, energy, and patience.
The first thing you should know about newborn kittens is that they do not know how to regulate their body temperatures, and must therefore be kept warm at all times. Use a clean box or container to house your kitten and line this with soft blankets. Place this box in a quiet area, away from the hustle and bustle of your home. A heat lamp can be used to keep them warm. Note never to place this device too near to the newborn kittens, or they might overheat. If you find a litter of abandoned kittens, keeping them together can keep them warmer as well.
Kittens cry out quite a lot, but when your newborn kitten cries for more than a few minutes, you know something is wrong. Most likely, your kitten is cold, so it’s a good idea to check the heat source right away.
When it comes to feeding your newborn kittens, there is nothing better than kitten formula. Never give kittens cow milk, for these animals are lactose intolerant. Goat’s milk can be used in cases wherein kitten formula is unavailable.
Mix the formula when feeding time comes around. Warm this up, and after checking to see that this is not too hot, pour the formula into a small bottle fitted with a nipple. Perforate the nipple just enough that a few drops come out when held upside down.
Position the kitten on its stomach and hold the bottle towards it at a 45-degree angle. Normally, the kitten will take the nipple into its mouth with some hesitation. If your kitten doesn’t nurse, try rubbing its back or forehead. It is very important to feed your kittens regularly because this both hydrates and feeds them at the same time. Never over-feed your kitten. It is better to give less than to give too much.
Keeping newborn kittens warm and well-fed are two of the most important things you should look into regarding abandoned newborn kitten care. Soon, you will have healthy kittens starting to open their eyes, ready to explore their new home.