Kittens are usually orphaned when they are abandoned or separated from her mother. This may happens because mother cat was died when delivering them, she is agalactia (cannot produce milk), she gets injury, or has hard time for raising her babies. Otherwise, maybe you find orphaned kitten when you are in your way to home, and you see it and will to take it home. It is a big step for saving other’s life.
Successful rearing an orphaned kitten needs many requirements, so if you had decided to take orphaned kitten home you should be in charge of taking care of it. Orphaned kitten deserves love, affection, and proper life as well. There are several requirements you have to do, namely a regular schedule of feeding, visiting the vet, playing, elimination, sleeping, and staying in a safe and healthy place. The principles of rearing orphaned kitten is different one with rearing kitten with mother. Kitten with mother does not totally need your help for growing up as she still its mother who will be taking care of it. On the other hand, orphaned kitten will need much your help for growing up even you will be its mother. Rearing an orphaned kitten exactly spends much time, but in the you will be so proud of what you have done. You should hand raise your orphaned kitten from birth or young with the same success rate as its natural caring mother. Here are 4 must know tips for raising orphaned kittens:
Kittens need feeding in the first 12 hours. If possible, ask the mother to nurse the kitten for getting colostrum. Kittens need proper antibodies from colostrum. They are only able to absorb colostrum for the first 24 hours of life. On the other hand, if the mother is unable to nurse them. Kittens need to be bottle or you can find nursing mother. For finding nursing mother, you can contact the vet or breeder. Nursing mother will always accept kittens that are similar in size and smell of hers.
If you do not find nursing mother you can give bottle-feeding. Bottles for kitten are available in pet store or many in online. When doing bottle feeding, you seriously should be careful since the tube may be inadvertently passed to lungs and may cause chocking when the formula is transferring. However, bottle-feeding is very recommended for feeding orphaned kitten. In some cases, kittens may be too weak for nursing from a bottle. Therefore, you should consult to the vet for asking information and demonstration for bottle-feeding. Make sure you do the right thing for feeding orphaned kitten.
Do not use cow’s milk as the formula replacer. You can use commercial kitten milk formula replacer or it is better to use Hoskins (homemade formula) than cow’s milk. Here is how to make Hoskins:
- 3 oz. water
- 3 oz. goat’s milk
- 4 oz. plain full-fat yogurt
- 3 egg yolks
Mix them all. Then, put in refrigerator. If you refrigerated, the formula will be still good until 48 hours. The formula cannot consume, if the formula has left out from the refrigerator more than two hours. Make sure to check the temperature by dropping on your finger to be sure it is too hot or not before feeding your newborn kitten.
Here are several diet menu for feeding orphaned kitten. The type of food you give for the kittens should depend on their age.
- One week old or less kittens: bottle feeding with kitten formula milk every 2-3 hours in amount of 3-4 cc per feeding.
- Two weeks old kittens: bottle feeding with kitten formula every 3 hours in amount of 5-6 cc per feeding.
- Four weeks old or more kittens: decrease the amount of formula, begin to give them dry kitten food (feed them 4 times per day)
Keeping your newborn kittens warmthis an essential thing. When kittens are new born, kittens cannot produce their own body heat. Their queen works for maintaining body temperature. When kitten is separated from its queen, you should replace its queen job for maintaining its body temperature. If your kitten has not already had a place to sleep yet, you should provide it. You can create a box or nest with towels or blanket. Make sure the nest should be warm, dry, and away from potential predators. Complete the nest using a normal heating pad, a bottle of warm water, or heated sock filled with uncooked rice. Keep the heating pad at an appropriate temperature as it is so important to ensure the heating pad won’t burn the kittens. Moreover, you should make sure that the kittens can get away from the heat if they become too warm. Check on them often to see if they seem comfortable. You should monitor the nest temperature, keep the kittens warmly.
3. Visiting vet
Orphaned kitten is at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases. This is exactly true as kittens do not receive colostrum from their mother. Colostrum is rich in antibodies. The function of antibodies is creating immunity. If orphaned kitten does not receive it, their immunity will be very weak. Due to lack of immunity, the will be very susceptible developing infectious diseases. Therefore, you should visit the vet for consultation. The vet will recommend you to do vaccination earlier of the age. Vaccination can prevent from any diseases. For example, deworming kitten can decrease the risk of having roundworms and hookworm. Deworming can be started effectively at 3 weeks of age nd repeated at 5, 7, and 9 weeks.
4. Early handling
Start by gently holding and stroking your newborn kitten in a day for a few minutes can influence kitten’s friendliness toward animals and people around when your kitten grows up. It is important to start handling them after they are two weeks years old.
- When your kittens are over 3 weeks of age, you can continue handling your kitten every day, so the kitten becomes comfortable and get used to held and picked up. If your kitten shows fearful or unhappy, stop handling and start again latter until your kitten in good mood.
- After 4 weeks of age, you can start introducing your kitten to interactive toys such as stuffed toys or toys they can begin to chase.
Those are 4 must know tips for raising orphaned kittens. The best thing you do, the best result you get. Just be a good parent rearing orphaned kitten, you will see your kitten grow well.