In the initial few weeks of his life, the newborn kittens are more concerned about how to survive and learning the survival skills. His activities include feeding, keeping himself warm, pooping by himself, and to interact with the world all around.
During this stage, the mother will take care of the kitten while the owner simply watches the cat perform her motherly duties.
However, in case the newborn kittens are separated from the mother or the mother has rejected the baby or is unable to feed him, the onus of raising the kitten falls on you.
What to feed a Newborn Kitten?
Like any newborn child, the primary food of the newborn kitten is the milk of his mother for the first four weeks. If you are to take care of the newborn by yourself, the best course of action is to find a good foster care or shelter home or any veterinarian doctor who will be able to find another cat who will be able to feed and nurse the kitten along with her own kittens.
However, if you are unable to find any such option, consult a veterinarian to get to know the proper way to feed a newborn kittens using a feeding bottle. There are commercially available milk replacers which you can feed the little one. Remember, you should never give cow’s milk to any cat of any age. Cow milk is difficult for the cats to digest and results in diarrhea.
Pet Ag has come out with perfect kits and milk replacers for those who have to take care of newborn kitten. Easily available on Amazon or other online stores, PetAg Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) Emergency Feeding Kit is extremely helpful if you do not own a feeding kit and have to take care of the kitten. The KMR Liquid Milk Replacer for Kittens and Cats can be used easily whenever you need to. Also, safety sealing ensures hygiene.
If you have trouble storing the liquid milk or have to carry it over long distance, the KMR Powder for Kittens and Cats will be a better replacement.
What Do Kittens Eat Besides Milk?
You should remember that newborn kittens will never be able to digest anything besides milk. After three or four weeks you can slowly get the kitten to adapt to drinking milk from a shallow bowl by offering the milk replacer in such a bowl. Along with the milk you can now slowly introduce some easy to chew and very soft food. You will get canned wet and dry food for kittens.
In order to keep the kitten hydrated and for ease of digestion wet foods are best. If you check the online stores or any pet store near you, you will find a number of wet canned kitten foods. Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Gourmet Wet Cat Food pack available on Amazon is a great product.
You will be able to choose from different flavors as well. As the kitten becomes six to seven weeks old, you will see that it is able to chew dry food as well. You can buy dry cat food too from the online store. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Kitten Food will be a good buy. You will have to remember that by eight weeks your kitten will be completely weaned.
If you are raising a kitten for the first time, keep in mind that energy requirement for a kitten is about two to three times that of a fully grown cat. You will have to ensure that his diet contains enough protein, preferably minimum 30% protein. Specifically formulated food can take care of this requirement.
You will get such food in the online store as well. Purina Pro Plan Focus Canned Cat Food available on Amazon will take care of your kitten’s diet requirements. The food contains 40% protein, which is great for the growth of the little one.
With so many kitten food brands available in the market, it is natural to feel confused. In short, you should take into consideration a few factors while selecting the best kitten food brand. Read the nutritional information provided on the pack to get idea about the product.
It will also contain details about the age of the kitten for which the product is best suited. Read best kitten food brand review to know about the top brands in details.
How often should I feed the kittens?
This is probably the nest question that comes to the mind while raising a newborn. Depending upon the age, the frequency of feeding the newborn kitten or small cat will differ. Here is a brief guide:
- The newborn kittens will have to be fed every 1 to 2 hours.
- Once he is three to four week old, you can feed milk replacer from a shallow saucer and small portion of wet kitten food about four to six times in a day. Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Gourmet Wet Cat Food pack will be a good choice. You can check out more options at “Best kitten food for newborn kittens six weeks old.”
- As the kitten becomes eight to 12 weeks of age, you will need to provide it food about four times a day. However, you will not have to get it off the habit of drinking milk replacer. Dry food will be a good alternative. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Kitten Food is a great product. You can check out “Best kitten food for newborn kittens from 12 weeks old” for some more information.
- Once the kitten reaches 3 months of age, you should provide it meal thrice a day, till the age of 6 months.
How to keep the newborn kitten warm?
Besides food, a newborn kittens needs to be kept warm as well. When it is taken care of by the mother, this is no issue as all. However, if you are taking care of a newborn kitten, you will have to ensure that the kitten is kept warm and comfortable at all times. A hot water bag or bottle wrapped in towel or a heating pad will do fine.
You will have to mind the temperature though. Consult your veterinarian for information about the ideal temperature. Also remember, the kitten must be able to move away from the heat source at will on his own.
There are quite a few innovative products available which will help keep your kitten warm and comfortable. Snuggle Safe Pet Bed Microwave Heating Pad is a non-toxic and non-electric consuming soft pad which can be heated in the microwave and then placed under your kitten’s bed and will keep the little one warm and comfortable up to 10 hours.
If you do not like the idea of putting the pad in microwave oven, you can get an electric heated cat house where you can keep your kitten. FrontPet has a wonderful 40Watt cat house which will keep the kitten warm and cozy in any weather.
What should be the weight of newborn kittens?
We always judge the health of a newborn by the weight. For a kitten the average weight should be 3 ½ ounces at the time of birth. However, this varies depending upon breed and size. In the first week itself the weight of the kitten might double or even triple. In general, there should be ¼ to ½ ounce of weight gain per day till weaning. Gaining enough weight during this initial time is crucial for the survival of the kitten.
How to catch a kitten?
If the mother is taking care of the kitten, it is best not to handle it too much, since this upsets the mother. If you are the one who is taking care of the newborn kitten you will have to consult a veterinarian before handling the kitten too much.
Ideally, it is best to handle the kitten beginning from the second week and continue it till the seventh week. This will allow the kitten to get socialized with human beings.
Take extra care while handling the newborn and little kitten. They can easily be injured during this time. If you have kids at your home, teach them the proper way to handle a kitten and also tell them not to handle it too much. It is best if you can keep very small kids away from the kitten, especially during the earlier stages. You will have to supervise at all times.
How to train the kitten to use a bathroom?
Raising any pet includes teaching him using the bathroom properly. If the kitten is being taken care of by the mother, you will notice that she will always pay special attention to the anal region of the little one after feeding to stimulate the excretion process as the kitten will not be able to excrete on his own till second of third week.
If you are raising the kitten on your own, you should use a soft gauge, wet it in warm water, and use it to gently stroke the anal region of the kitten. This will be similar to the mother licking the kitten and will stimulate the kitten to excrete.
Once the kitten is four weeks old, you can make a litter box and place the kitten in the box after the meal. This will make the kitten habitual to use litter box. Cutting one side of the box will allow the kitten to get in and out of the box with ease.