Your cat is expecting kittens. How exciting! Raising kittens can be a highly rewarding and enjoyable experience. What should you expect? What will you need to make sure the little tikes grow up happy, healthy and strong?
Let's dive right in.
A General Overview of Raising Kittens
Raising kittens involves some important steps. Let's start from day one. Most likely, you walk in and find your cat already nursing her new litter. As there will be a bit of a mess where she is, you will want to move her and her kittens somewhere clean and safe.
When it comes to raising kittens mother cats prefer a darkened den. So putting a blanket over her box and lining it with nice clean bedding will do nicely for a nursery. The nursery should be set up in a quiet area, away from traffic.
Too much noise and light can upset a mother cat and she may try to move her kittens if she doesn't feel they are safe.
A Sad Fact about Raising Kittens
A sad fact about raising kittens is that sometimes there are one or two dead kittens born along with the live ones. Remove them immediately along with the rest of the birthing mess. The mother will be unlikely to show any interest in them.
For the first few days of raising kittens the mother will be constantly with them. They need warmth and frequent feedings at this time which doesn't leave much time for socializing.
Raising kittens involves keeping them warm. By the time they are approximately a week old their need for very warm temperatures will begin to subside. The mother will begin to leave them alone for longer and longer periods. They will begin to huddle up together for warmth.
A Ball of Kittens
If you peek into the nursery and find a ball of kittens sleeping peacefully, rest assured they are doing just fine. When raising kittens keep in mind that they will sleep nearly all the time for their first two weeks.
While raising kittens if they are crying constantly then they are ill or not getting enough milk. Call your vet immediately. Sick or starving kittens can die very quickly without your help.
Assuming that kittens and mother are all healthy and content, you will need to do very little during the first month of raising kittens. The kittens' care will rest primarily in their mothers' capable paws. Normally, kitten eyes will open in seven to fourteen days.
Kittens can get Eye Infections
Eye infections are a part of raising kittens. If their eyes stay shut for longer than fourteen days call your vet. Kittens often get a mild eye infection. The infection results in the eyelids being gummed shut. A cotton ball that has been moistened with warm water should be all you'll need to open the eyes again.
When raising kittens, if one gets an eye infection keep a close tab on them. The infection could build up behind those glued shut eyelids and damage the eyeball. The infection usually clears up by itself in a few days. If it turns particularly severe, take the kitten to your vet.
At about one month of age, the kittens should toddle around pretty well and will want to start eating solid food. You may find one of your little tikes standing in their mothers' food dish trying out the food.
Raising Kittens with Good Quality Food
While raising kittens you will want to put down a plate of good quality kitten food for them to nibble on. Kitten food is formulated specifically for the needs of growing kittens, where adult food is not.
Poor nutrition while raising kittens could result in health issues when they become adults. The trick will be keeping the mother out of the kitten food. Most adults find kitten food absolutely delicious.
If you are raising kittens the first planned visit to the veterinarian for vaccinations should come at about two months of age. By about 3 months of age the kittens should be pretty much independent and ready to move to their new home if you are planning to sell or give them away.
Guidelines for Raising Kittens
A general overview of raising kittens has been given here. For a normal healthy litter and mother these guidelines should serve you well. If there are any issues, rely on your vet to let you know the best thing to do in any situation. Enjoy your kittens while they are with you. They grow up so amazingly fast!
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