The new born or very young kittens require lot of warmth and support. If the kitten you bought home is an orphan or adopted from rescue center, they require intense nursing to make them feel at home.
Warmth and bedding
Younger kittens require enough warmth to keep them safe. For their safety, they should be kept in a cat-carrier and use a heating pad designed for pets. You can also use cat-friendly blankets. Do care to provide a carrier which is large enough for your kittens to more around. You can turn off the heating pad if it’s too hot. Younger Kittens may require constant warmth and bedding until they are 3 to 4 weeks old.
Bedding should be changed at least once a day, more often if the kittens soil the bedding.
The nutrition and dietary requirement for a cat differs from humans or dogs. A kitten’s weight increases double or thrice its size during the first few weeks. Hence, to support this continuous growth you must feed them proper meal with enough protein and other nutritious values.
You should never feed cow’s milk to kittens, as it does not have the proper nutrition for them. Most cats tend to be lactose intolerant, hence it may cause diarrhea. Only feed your kittens an approved kitten formula. Hoskins, a homemade formula which is also a replacement for milk. Kittens’ require high amount of protein, fat, fatty acids, and vitamins for the growth. A young kitten may have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, and minerals.
Kittens need to be burped, just like human babies. Lay the kitten on its stomach, on your shoulder or in your lap, and very gently pat its back until you hear a little burp.
Weaning is a process of switching kitten’s diet from its mother’s milk to solid food. It’s an important part of the kitten’s development. Weaning may begin at 3 ½ to 4 weeks of age. For a kitten with a mother, it is generally done by mother cat. In case of the orphan or adopted pets, the pet owner must do it at the right time and right condition.
You can start by offering the kittens formula on a spoon, a special food made for your kittens. Once they start feeding more often, you can gradually start adding small amount of canned food to the formula. You can increase the amount of canned food and switch to other basic foods when they get used to solid food.
Keeping their Shelter clean
You should keep their bed or carrier clean all the times. A young kitten cannot discharge on its own, hence you must perform the duty of stimulating them to urinate and have a bowel movement.
When kittens are between 3 and 4 weeks of age, they can be introduced to the litter box. Use a small cardboard box or plastic litter box with just enough clay litter to cover the bottom.
You must consult a veterinarian immediately for kittens showing any of the following symptoms.
- Straining to urinate, or not urinating
- Upper respiratory symptoms: goopy/watery eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing, coughing, wheezing or labored breathing
- Not eating properly
- Change in attitude or behavior
- Hair/fur loss, etc