Taking care of kittens does not ask any specialist knowledge. It is mainly a task for the mother. But is important to watch kittens and queen carefully.
The first two weeks your new little friends do not show much activity. The mother produces milk, the kittens drink it and sleep a lot. That’s about it. Newborn kittens do not stand or walk, only crawl.Cats instinctively know what to do. But a queen is vulnerable after giving birth, and her children are still very weak. That makes taking care of kittens a quite passive but significant duty for cat owners.
The queen takes taking care of kittens very seriously. She cleans her children and licks away any waste matter.
The average litter size is five kittens.
The bigger the litter, the bigger chances are that one or two kittens die shortly after birth.
A possible reason is dehydration. Warning signs are when a baby cat cries or loses weight instead of gaining. To keep an eye on this it is advised to weigh the newborn kittens regularly.
It is possible to hand-feed kittens with a feeding bottle or a dropper. However, you should only do this if the cat is rejected or if the mother is not willing or capable to feed her children.
During the first week after pregnancy the mother might lose a little blood from her vagina. This is nothing to worry about. It should stop by itself.
To avoid any infection you should keep mum and kittens isolated from other cats.
As long as the mother eats well and behaves normally, there is no need to call in the vet.
Kittens are born with closed eyes and folded down ears. It takes five to ten days before they first see the light of day. Then it takes another three days before the eyes are fully open. Only then these young felines start to show more activity.
Don’t forget to give your kitten a name!
At first all kittens have grey-blue eyes, which seems a bit odd when you see if the first time. When they reach the age of 12 weeks the adult colours will appear.
By the end of the first month kittens should have their baby teeth poking through. Around that time you may give them their first small meat feed, such as special kitten food or chopped fish.
During the second month cats start to explore their environment.
They start to run and play with their brothers and sisters. Cats are curious pets, and if you ever doubted this, these weeks will change your mind.
Do not declaw your kitten if they damage some of your goods. Instead, make sure you have cat toys at home.
Good nutrition is essential for both mum and children. There is excellent food available nowadays, developed for cat mothers and their baby’s.
By the time they are eight to ten weeks the kittens should have fully switched to solid food.
They should weigh now as much as 1 kg (2,25 lb), coming from approximately 80 tot 140 g (3-5 oz) at birth.
In this period kittens should also get their first vaccination against feline distemper and other illnesses. Also, check if they don’t have worms.
The kittens will learn to use the litter box. They do this by imitating the mother. Although she will pick up her normal life, taking care of kittens is still her task. Cat owners can help to put the little cat in the right place if it considers urinating or relieving nature elsewhere. Read more about litter box problems.
You can train your kitten to show good behaviour.
A new owner will appear, choosing his favourite from the litter. Make sure that you send your kitten to a real cat lover.
Kittens of three months will usually have left the nest.
They are now firmly on the way of becoming a real cat. Their permanent teeth will appear, they’ll grow rapidly, play like life is nothing but play, and discover their sexuality.
Taking care of kittens belongs to the past. Cat life has begun!