5 essential tips to raise healthy kittens

Raising healthy kittens is a timely exercise, that involves careful planning, preparation, and care. This is reflected in their heightened vulnerability at this age, with 9% on average dying before they're 8 weeks old. Understanding how to care for them will ensure that they’ll grow into healthy adult cats.

Understanding how to care for them will ensure that they’ll grow into healthy adult cats

Newborn kittens may be unbelievably adorable but it's actually a risky time of life for both kittens and mother cats. There are some illnesses and problems that kittens face like Fading Kittens Syndrome, which affects 20 to 40 percent of all domesticated cats.

This is why it’s so important to go through all of the steps to make sure that mother and babies are healthy.

  1. Feeding pregnant cats
  2. Proper care for a feline mother is essential for a healthy pregnancy. A typical gestation period for cats is 63 to 65 days. During this time, cats need increased levels of nutrients that aren’t present in normal adult cat food.

    Malnutrition can mean that kittens are born with a lower birth weight and can also place them at risk for developing other health conditions. To ensure that kittens are born healthy, it’s essential to provide the pregnant cat with a higher energy intake.

    This can be provided in the form of a special pregnant cat and kitten food, which includes rich essential nutrients that support development. A fresh supply of clean water is also a necessity.

  3. Mother and kitten socialisation
  4. Once the kittens are born, it’s important that both the mother and babies are socialised with people. This will make sure that they trust humans and grow into friendly and confident adult cats. Just remember that young children should not be left unsupervised with small kittens.

    The first few weeks of a kitten’s life should include some interaction with people however try to avoid introducing them to other pets such as the family dog until they can walk on their own.

    As a socialisation routine, you can start by handling kittens and weighing them every day. They should be handled gently and if either mother or kittens seem anxious then you should reunite them. Signals from both your cat and kittens will alert you to when it is best to put them back together.

    A kitten's eyes and ears will be fully functional around four weeks of age. This is the best time to introduce them to new experiences like new sounds, smells and sensations.

    With older kittens, you can begin to introduce toys, scratching posts and soft bedding for them to snuggle in.

  5. Kitten nutrition
  6. In cases where a mother may be absent or has stopped feeding kittens too early, you'll need to be more proactive about a kitten's nutrition. This means that you'll need to use a kitten milk replacer like Di Vetelact.

    Kitten milk replacer provides essential nutrients in an easily digestible form. This will most likely need to be hand fed to a kitten through a syringe.

    During weaning, at around 4 weeks, a kitten begins to depend less upon their mother and begin to eat solid food. At this point, they need to be offered a premium quality kitten food in ratios that are appropriate to their age and weight. Tailored kitten food from brands like Advance helps to promote healthy growth, giving them the best start in life.

  7. Keeping kittens clean and sanitary

    One of the most important steps to raising newborn kittens is human hygiene. You should always wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling any kittens.

    It's important to disinfect the area and always keep a clean litterbox for mum and kittens to use. To keep your kitten's nesting area as clean as possible, these supplies are also recommended:

    • Newspaper
    • Heavy-based water and food bowls to prevent tipping
    • Clean towels
    • Newspaper
    • Big litter box for mother and a small litter box for kitten
    • Non-clumping for kitten litter box
    • Heavy-based water and food bowls to prevent tipping
    • Heating pad
    • Clean towels

    These supplies will provide a hygienic and safe atmosphere for kittens to grow.

    If mother is not around to clean her kittens you can wipe them down with a warm, damp cloth. Pay attention to their eyes and rear end as this is where dirt can build up and become unsanitary.

  8. Ideal temperature for kittens
  9. With newborn kittens, it's imperative that they always have a warm place to sleep and cuddle. If the mum is not around, keeping the kitten warm during the day and night will be a priority. Room temperature should be at 25 to 27°C. A comfortable nesting area with bedding and a heating mat for colder days and nights is the best solution to keeping a kitten warm. Heating pads should always be set to low and one side should be left unheated in case a kitten wants to lay on a cooler surface.
Always look for signs of illness, discomfort, stress or malnutrition

The most important thing to remember is that you must always look for signs of illness, discomfort, stress or malnutrition. If kittens shake, cry or exhibit symptoms of extreme laziness, they need your attention.

The advice above is provided as a guide only and it's always best to consult your veterinarian for how to take care of your specific kittens and mother cat.

Posted by My Pet Warehouse