If you end up on this page, you must have had an uninvited kitten repeatedly meowing at your house; or your own cat has apparently been pregnant and has given birth recently. Instead of worrying yourself at having a kitten, you might want to keep and pet her/them. Therefore, you may wonder how to take care of kitties, especially when it comes to feeding them.
Most mother cats are very persistent in keeping and nursing their cubs during the first few weeks after they are born—for kittens are really weak and prone at their early age. They always preserve them with warm, lick to clean them and breastfeed them until their offspring can sustain themselves. Kitten eventually set off their own lives when they hit adolescence. At this time, they have completely been able to walk and climb. Most importantly, they have learned how to hunt on their own, given that their mother had taught it early.
The kitten you found at your doorstep is likely has reached the stage. However, if it seems either the stranger kitten or the offspring from your adult pet to be rather skinny; they would need someone to support them gaining their weight. Hence, it is best for you to take the role. Take your time and learn the ways below to fatten up a skinny kitten safely and fast.
Prologue: Know anything about mother milk
The importance of mother cat milk
Mother cat milk, along with environmental warmth and other issues that follow, is the utmost thing when kittens have not yet reached the age of three weeks after birth. The milk mother cats provide consists of colostrum as property capable of producing antibodies. These antibodies can keep kittens’ delicate bodies away from many illnesses and give enough nourishment they need. Given the importance of this motherly feature, you should recognize the basics of related matters as follows. Hence, it is possible to fatten up kittens when they reach further stage after the weaning, in the fast but healthy way.
The period of kittens’ dependency of its mother milk
As kittens begin to grow, mother cats gradually decrease the amount of milk supplied. It happens around two to three weeks when their offspring are able to stand. During this time, they also start developing their first teeth (also known as milk teeth).
When the young have reached the age of four or five weeks, they can sustain the whole body. They begin to walk although a little bit shaky. Seeing that, the mother cats start to introduce kittens to cats’ natural food. They would bring the fresh prey they recently caught. By directly showing the dead animal before them, kittens could then stimulate their inner hunting nature from only the smell and the appearance alone.
Around six to seven weeks, the kitten would develop adult teeth that replace all the milk teeth. At the same time, they are completely weaned and get to eat solid food from the hunt accompanied by their mother.
The remaining of eight to twelve weeks would be used for social development between their families. Afterward, a mother cat would separate herself from her fully-grown kitten and set them off as complete individuals. Wildcats might reach this stage much later; around the age of 14 weeks.
The mother milk substitute
Mother cats’ milk for the kittens truly important in the early stage of their lives. Despite that, an unlikely event might occur whereby the mother leaves their kittens alone. The cause may be the mother cat who unfortunately dies in an accident, or for some reason, she simply cannot nurse its kitty.
If this issue happens when the kitten hasn’t reached four weeks of age, you have to take the place of its mother. If you cannot make sure the exact age of the young you find, just remember that a newborn kitten is unable to stand or walk. There are three things you should do to keep the newborn alive:
- Make herself warm by putting her in a cardboard box with enough blanket. Be sure that it is located in a quiet place.
- Massage the area around or right on the kitten’s genital. This can stimulate the excretion and urination, which cannot be done alone by the newborn kitten. The young could empty her bowel by themselves when they reach the age of three to four weeks.
- Kittens lose the access to colostrum since the absence of their mother. It is your duty to choose the substitute properly. Feeding the newborn kitty would be quite difficult, as you should frequently do it every three hours or eight times per day. It can even be shortened to two hours if the kitten appears to be ill or small compared to its siblings.
- Some pet shop provides the replacement formula for mother cat’s milk also known as kitten milk replacement formula (KMR). Be careful though when buying it. The milk substitute might cause harm to the kitten. Check the expiration date; do not take if it gives off an unpleasant smell and put it immediately on refrigerator once the product has been opened. You could use some ingredients in the kitchen as the temporary food in case you haven’t gotten any KMR within 24 hours. Kitten’s belly can tolerate goat milk that holds less lactose than cow’s. The mixture of this item with vegetable oil egg yolks may be able to fulfill some nutrition for the kitten.
The six ways to fatten up kitten post-weaning period
After the mother cat fully stops feeding its offspring, the kittens would begin to supply their own need for food. Some cats can manage their daily needs of nutrient while others can’t. It often results in the skinny body to the latter kittens. Hence, you should know how to help kitten increase her weight safely and fast.
1. Give ‘only’ the kitten food.
Most manufacturers selling cat food divide their product into the kitten, adult and senior food. The food separation based on cats’ life stages is not made for no reason. They adjust the intake of nutrients that vary between different ages. Kitten food holds the larger amount of essentials protein and fat than any adult product. Therefore, it is necessary for kittens since they spend the wake time consuming so many energy.
2. Pay attention to the nutrition of the cat food you choose.
Instead of protein, some food may consist of many carbohydrates. Only take the high-quality cat food that composed of 30% protein and 20% fat.
3. Give variation to kitten diet.
Sometimes cats need the change in their diet and kittens are not the exception. Feeding the same product in a long time may get the kitten bored and lose their appetite. You may serve a wet food occasionally as the change to the usual diet dry food. This food may become your best option to fatten up kitten as it tempts their appetite and is easy to digest. Don’t forget to warm it first to give off the similar sensation of a fresh prey.
4. Give the food in the most suited environment.
Cats prefer eating their own food in a solitary place. Putting the food in the room surrounded by a lot of disturbance may cause the kitten to feel uneasy and reluctant to consume its food. The similar thing can happen when you place foods supplied for many kittens in the same location. The most dominating cat in the group may steal others’ food and leave them unnourished.
5. Provide the food regularly in a small portion.
It is quite unlikely that your kitten wouldn’t empty her bowl of food in one sit. She may wander and play around the house instead, releasing much energy as any offspring does. The best option to overcome this issue is by dividing the one large portion of a meal into the smaller portions that provided frequently.
6. Visit the veterinarian.
If you have tried giving a proper meal to your kitten and she doesn’t gain any weight yet, there might be some underlying issues. Either it relates to the diet you provide or your kitten has developed an illness, you should ask the vet for helping you solve the problem.