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Raising Orphan Kittens
When the kitten’s mother is dead or abandoned, the kitten may need to be hand-raised. For feral cats, the reason they are adopted is probably for neutering. Kittens should only be taken from their mother after 6 weeks of age if possible. In managing wild chicks, about 4 weeks because weaning becomes more difficult as they grow. Young kittens need their mother’s milk for protection and nutrition so it is best if the mother feeds her kittens for a long time. The immunity lasts for about 6-14 weeks. Orphans are the most vulnerable to disease because they lack that protection.
Find a mother cat
Orphans need a nurturing mother to give them a good chance at life. Cats often eat kittens outside so try to find them by calling vets, animal shelters, breeders or cat people you know.
You need to spend a lot of energy and time caring for the kitten if you decide to feed it yourself before it is weaned. However, that does not guarantee survival as the smaller the chick, the weaker it is. She may not survive no matter how good the care is without the baby’s mother to feed her.
Warmth and First Aid
When you find an abandoned kitten, the first thing you should do is protect it from the cold. Put him under the blankets or next to your skin to keep him warm. The kitten’s energy is needed to grow and cry for more food so there is not much left for heat production. In the beginning, the mother and siblings used to warm the chick. In their first week, they should be kept at 88-92 degrees F. The next week, around 80 degrees or so will be fine. When they reach 5 weeks or more, the lower room temperature is tolerable.
Take the cat to the vet if possible, his general condition should be checked. Without a mother, a kitten can become dehydrated quickly and may need fluids under its skin. A sign of dehydration in a cat is when it has little energy and appetite. This may be due to dehydration or diarrhea. The stool should also be tested for parasites or worms. Your vet can have lots of advice on raising kittens and supplies so you don’t skip this step.
When you get home, prepare the kitten to warm up by placing it in a secluded, comfortable and warm place. You can feed him using an eyedropper or a nursing bottle available from your vet. Be very careful not to strain the kitten when using the eyedropper. Let him absorb the liquid at his own pace so as not to fill his lungs with milk and cause pneumonia. The bottle method is best when she is old enough to breastfeed. A company called Catac even designed a cat nurse that keeps air bubbles out of a baby’s tummy.
Don’t forget to disinfect all dishes before feeding the kitten. To feed a small baby, place his belly down on a towel or something made for him to hold on to. With the tip of your finger, carefully open her mouth, then insert the nipple between her jaws. Keep a gentle pull every now and then and encourage him to breastfeed vigorously. If the kitten suddenly wants milk in its lungs, immediately hold it upside down until the choking stops. Seek help from a veterinarian if the kitten is not strong enough to suckle.
Kittens should be fed every 3 to 4 hours and the milk should be warmed to body temperature. For recommended serving sizes and servings per day, check the package. The amount of food a cat should receive per day is determined by the age of the kitten.
Signs to look for when a kitten has received enough formula, its belly will be round and bubbles around its mouth. Hug him by putting him on your shoulder, patting him lightly on the back. Like people, kittens need to poop after every meal. Never overfeed cats because it can lead to diarrhea or other problems.
Anemic or anorexic kittens may need vitamin and mineral supplements such as Pet-Tinic, available at pet stores and grocery stores. This will rebuild his systems and stimulate his interest. Just follow the directions on the bottle and give it by dropper or by adding it to his food.
To make sure your puppy is growing well, measure it regularly. If you are growing at an amazing rate, it is a sign that you are fertile!
A baby chick’s mother cares for it in more ways than we know. She stimulates her kitten’s bladder and bowels by licking her belly. A pregnant mother cat should rub the baby’s belly with a cotton ball soaked in warm water. Don’t overdo it, rub just enough to stimulate the cat to poop. Note the chafing that indicates you are rubbing too much.
Keep the kitten and the area clean. Wash all their fur as a mother would, using short strokes with a damp cloth. This gives them a feeling of being cared for and well-being. If the cat has stool caked in its fur due to diarrhea, it is best to wash it with warm water. Do this quickly so the kitten doesn’t get cold. Anoint him.
A kitten may feel discouraged by the absence of its mother’s breast and cause it to suckle on its partner’s body parts which can result in irritation. Satisfy his oral needs by stroking his mouth with a soft cloth or your finger.
Once abandoned kittens are found, they should be cleaned and flea-free to prevent Flea anemia. Flea anemia can interfere with your efforts to save any abandoned cat and fleas carry tapeworm eggs. There are flea sprays at the vet that can be used on kittens. Adams spray has been found to be safe for use on cats and effective in killing fleas. Once the puppy has removed the fleas, wash them in warm water with mild soap or surgical soap if there are flea lesions. Dry immediately to avoid freezing. You can use a hair dryer if the kitten is 1-3 weeks old. Be careful not to blow on their face and keep the temperature tolerable. Older kittens tend to be afraid of the noise of a hair dryer, you can just towel dry them and then put them in a bag in a warm place like next to the fridge. You can also place a dry cat towel inside the pet carrier and then use a hair dryer to blow hot air into the bag.
You can start weaning the kitten when it is 4 weeks old if necessary. You can start by giving him powdered milk in a bowl. Later, gradually introduce solid food. Other baby foods that work well are powdered baby food or Hill’s brand. You can dilute dry cat food with water or formula because young kittens cannot chew dry food. This takes time so don’t expect to be selected right away.
Reduce bottle feeding as he eats more often from a bowl. You can give canned cat food to introduce solid food to the cat. See the instructions on the container. Most of what is sold in supermarkets is junk food so try to buy high quality food from a vet or pet food store. A change in diet or diet can cause diarrhea which can be life-threatening for the kitten so it is important to keep an eye on it.
Liter Box Training
The best time to introduce a kitten to the litter box is at its 4th week of age. Place him in the litter box after each meal. Show him how to scratch the litter by taking his nails and start digging in the sand or litter. You will definitely catch on quickly.
Love and attention
A kitten needs emotional intimacy in addition to the food and warmth it provides. Let him stay with you and pet him often. Experts say that kittens who raise their hand show great loyalty, deep love for their owners, and show high intelligence. Lots of handling of kittens makes them easier to train.
Kittens usually weigh 2 to 4 ounces at birth. He should double his body weight by the end of his first week. On his 8th day, he should open his eyes for the first time. In two more weeks his eyes will remain blue. True eye color will only be visible until they are about 3 months old. The ears will begin to stand up in his second week. He will try to walk in his third week. In the fourth week, the kitten will begin to play with its companions and grow teeth. About the time of necessary vaccinations, go to your veterinarian. By week 8, the kitten should be ready for adoption and if it is in good health it can be spayed and bred.
Adopted orphan cats are more vulnerable to disease. Take them to the vet immediately at the first signs of unusual behavior or reluctance to eat. Upper respiratory infections and colds are caused by viruses that cause many babies every year. Chlamydia is one of these organisms that causes permanent eye damage to a cat’s eyes. Blindness may result if the bacteria enter the infected eye. The eyeball can be severely damaged by even a minor infection.
Worms, diet changes, and overeating can lead to diarrhea. The result of this is dehydration if not managed properly and can be fatal. Feline distemper is a constant threat to kittens as well, especially those babies who don’t have their mother’s antibodies. It is an airborne, highly contagious disease.
The Last Word
Raising and caring for an orphaned kitten is hard work, and even the most conscientious mother can lose a cat. A foster mother should not blame herself when a kitten dies, and she should not accept praise for the kitten’s growth. Kittens usually die at birth, in the first week, or when they are weaned. But you have a good chance to raise poor orphans with the right knowledge and ability to care.
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