Nothing is more exciting than meeting your cat’s new kittens and knowing that she made it through the birthing process healthy and strong. But your work isn’t quite over. It’s time to give your cat a helping hand in the post-natal care for her kittens and her. Keep in mind your cat is still regaining her strength and healing from birth, so read carefully.
Caring for New Kittens
The first couple of weeks after entering the world, your new kittens and their momma are their most vulnerable. To keep them safe, healthy, and thriving there are a few things you can do.
Peace, Quiet, and Security
Post pardon recovery is no simple task, especially when you have several kittens to feed, clean, and care for. To help set your momma cat up for success by giving her a calm, quiet place to recover and bond with her kittens. This room should be shut off to other pets and kids.
If you made a nursing nest, replace soiled towels and bedding with fresh ones. You’ll likely notice that kittens under three weeks old rely on their mother to lick their bottoms to encourage elimination. And keep plenty of clean linens on-hand since these will get messy quickly. Kittens need to stay clean to reduce bacteria and possible infections.
Keep the room nice and warm, too. Kittens can perish if they don’t maintain their body heat.
You’ll also want to locate her litter box nearby, so she doesn’t have to wander too far from her babies when she needs to go.
Kitten Developmental Stages
Your newborn kittens will have closed eyes and umbilical cords. Within three days, your kittens’ eyes will begin to open and their umbilical cords will drop off. They don’t have the strength at this point to crawl, but they will squirm and mew.
Within two weeks, your kittens will begin crawling, and their teeth will begin to show.
At three weeks, kittens can walk and play with one another. At this point, their eyes should be fully open. Once their teeth appear, it’s time for wet food and kitten milk. You can also start gently placing them in the litter box to encourage elimination.
Eat Up, Momma
Breastfeeding a litter of kittens takes a lot of patience and calories. Be sure you’re bringing your mother cat nutritious food. Consult your vet to be sure her diet has the vitamins and nutrition to stay strong and produce enough healthy milk for her litter.
Most vets will suggest a quality wet food. You can ask your vet about sprinkling some kitten milk replacement to her fortify her diet and milk.
Are the Kittens Nursing Enough?
Newborn kittens will nurse about every two hours. They’ll find their way to the nipples and eat until their full, followed by a nap. If you notice one or a few kittens not eating enough or not gaining weight, you will want to help them find the nipple. You should consult your vet, as well. She may recommend bottle feeding.
Keep an Eye on Your Cat and Her Kittens
Always monitor the mother cat and kittens. You can keep a growth chart and weigh your kittens regularly to be sure they’re healthy. If anything looks amiss, contact your vet. Some signs to look for include lethargy, trouble breathing, not eliminating, and weakness.
Get to Know the Kitties
If your momma cat doesn’t get too stressed about it, pick up and handle the kittens often. This will get them used to human interaction from the get-go. Just be sure your hands are clean and dry.
Issues to Look Out For
We hope all of your kitties are healthy, strong, and ready to grow into beautiful cats. Provide your kitten with the best chances by knowing what to look for when there’s trouble.
The major health threats for kittens usually fit into one of these three problems
- Infectious disease: diseases caught from other kittens
- Diseases caused by parasites: worms and fleas
- Congenital diseases: diseases inherited
Common Issues That May Arise
This condition is rather rare, but it can be life-threatening for mother cats. Hypocalcemia results from a lack of calcium during pregnancy and can cause muscle shakes, panting, seizures, and restlessness. If you notice any of these signs, bring your cat to the vet immediately.
Mastitis is an infection in the mother cat’s gland that produces milk, the mammary gland. This occurs when a breast is not emptied, and the breast becomes infected and sore. The teat will be fevery and swollen. This also requires a vet trip.
Endometritis is an infection that results from an interruption in the natural uterine draining process post-birth, which causes a severe infection. If you notice strong-scented discharge, bring your cat to the vet.
Within the first week, you should make an appointment and go in to see your veterinarian. Your vet will prescribe a de-wormer if needed to keep both the momma cat and her babies parasite-free.
Post-Natal Care Considerations
Experiencing your cat becoming a mother is amazing. Remember to trust your gut and consult your vet whenever you think something may be off. Your cat may not be able to say it, but she will appreciate your help with the post-natal care for herself and her kittens.
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— Meow for now —