- The mother cat may not be able to produce milk to feed her kitten. Once she realizes this she will simply abandon the kitten. A pretty sad reality huh?
- One other reason maybe that the kitten may have born with some kind of defect and as such may be unable to keep up with the mother and other kittens and will simply be left behind.
- The mother cat may also have certain behavioral issues which simply makes it difficult for her to properly care for her kittens.
- The mother cat may even be dieing and is just simply trying to find a place to draw her last breath other than in front her little kittens.
Motherless kittens are not that difficult to care for, but it still takes the same amount of patience, love and tenderness from you as the kittens new mom. So what will you need to do to care for these abandon kittens? Let's check it out.
Kittens do need to feed. The most important part of a kittens nutrition is that of feeding from the mother for the first 12 hours. This is important because at this first feed, the milk provides what is called Colustrum. This provides natural antibodoes to fight against diseases and bacteria.
If possible, kittens should nurse from their mother for the first 12 hours of life to ingest something called colostrum. This provides them with antibodies that they need to protect their little bodies. If there is no chance of the mother feeding the kittens then a bottle or tube feeder will be needed. Bottles are the best method as tube feeding is a more specialized job. Commercially available kitten milk formulas are available that are nutritionally balanced to provide everything a kitten needs and there are also recipes to make a homemade version if you cannot get the commercial product.
One such emergency recipe would be to take 3oz condensed milk, 3oz water, 4oz plain yogurt (not low fat) and 3 large egg yolks. Never feed them uncooked egg whites as this contains harmful bacteria. Whether using your own or a commercial product, only make up enough for each feed to stop bacteria breeding in it. Warm it in a pan to 98-100 F and stir to ensure no inconsistencies in temperature.
For the first 24-48 hours, kittens will need around 1ml of milk per house and this increases each day by 0.5ml per meal until they are taking 10ml. On average 9 to 12 meals a day will be needed. In the second week, this should be 5-7ml per feed and by the third week, kitten gruel can be introduced as well as bottle-feeding. By the fourth week, there should be just 4-6 bottle-feeds a day between gruel and they should be on solid food by 7 weeks old.
Sanitation and temperature
Newborn kittens don't urinate or defecate without stimulation from their mothers but this is easy to replicate. Simply moisten a cotton ball with warm water and rub the genital or anal area, simulating the mother grooming the area to get the kitten to go. This needs to be done after every meal and watched for signs of a problem. Normally the stool will be dark brown and partially formed.
Kittens need help keeping warm that would normally come from their mothers. An incubator, warm water pad, electrical heating pads or a heated mat will all do the job and help them keep the right body temperature. Keep a thermometer close by to ensure they don't get too hot, as this is just as dangerous. For the first week, air temperature should be 85-90 degrees and humidity 55-65%. This can drop over the next three weeks to 75 degrees.
Keep in close contact with your vet during this process and refer to them if you think there are any problems. Disease prevention is a big issue at this time and you will also need to work on their socialization whether you have a single kitten or a litter.