Getting your newborn kitten care correct is one of the most important things to learn about in this early stage. There will obviously be a lot of excitement and oohing and ahhing, but it is vital that you don’t get distracted and inadvertently neglect the little thing.
For the first four weeks of their life, a newborn kitten can live off its mother’s milk. This provides everything that they need.
If your kitten has been separated from the mother, the best move is to try and find a temporary foster mother who has just given birth to a smaller litter of babies, and see if she can feed your kitten initially.
The more likely option though, is that you will bottle feed it. You should definitely consult with a veterinarian about the best way to do this. The milk you use should be cat milk replacer, not regular cow milk or that of another animal.
Newborn Kitten care is something that should be taken seriously, so do not skip any steps or choose inappropriate substitutes.
After a few weeks, you can begin to wean them off the milk and add food designed for kittens. This will usually be moist and easily chewable. They should be fed more than an adult cat, about four to six times per day in small servings.
Around six to eight weeks old, they should be used to this new diet, and you will be able to just feed regular dry food. Make sure it is still designed for kittens though, as kittens need more energy than regular cats (at least double) and a large amount of this should come from protein (around 30 percent).
As they get older, reaching around twelves weeks old, you can reduce the amount you feed them to four times per day, and reduce the milk replacer (they will have stopped feeding from the mother a few weeks previously) until they gradually do not need it.
After three months, you can reduce it again to just three times per day, until they are six months old.
Other Newborn Kitten Care Requirements
As well as closely monitoring their feeding, you should also make sure they are keeping warm. If the kitten is orphaned, or without its mother, many people enjoy success with a hot water bottle (wrapped in a towel or similar cover).
It is important that the cat can free itself from the heat whenever it wants, so do not position it in a place that it cannot get away from.
It’s best to consult your vet about the optimum temperature.
Holding And Petting
If a kitten is very newly born and still being raised by the mother, do not hold it for too long or the mother will get upset. The second week onward is a great time to handle the kitten though, as it helps them get used to living with humans.
Taking care of your kitten requires research and dedication, but is not a particularly difficult task. As long as you are attentive and understand the needs of your kitten, you will be fine. Always consult a vet over any issues you are unsure of.