RAISING A HEALTHY KITTEN
At some point, you may find yourself in a situation where you are raising and nurturing an orphaned kitten. This Kitten Page will focus on basic care, and guidelines for feeding. Page 2 focuses on emergency considerations. Page 3 provides a dental chart, health indicator chart and a vaccination schedule. Page 4 provides detailed information on pregnancy and delivery. Page 5 is where you'll find our Kitten Shop. If you are ever in doubt about how to care for a newborn or older kitten, please never hesitate to contact your vet for help and resources.
NORMAL KITTEN VITALS
In the first 2 weeks of life: 95Â°
At 2-4 weeks of life: 97 - 99Â°
To maturity: 101 - 102.5Â°
At birth: 90 - 110 grams
Growth weight per week: 90 - 110 grams
NOTE: This is an approximate weight range for newborns. A gram scale can be a helpful tool to keep a daily/weekly monitor of your kitten's weight to ensure she is developing at a normal rate.
Can lift head:
Can maintain upright posture:
Eyes begin to open:
Ears begin to function:
Startle reflex to noise:
Start to play/interact:
Can voluntarily eliminate:
Able to graduate to solid food: at birth
at 2-3 weeks after birth
5-14 days after birth
6-17 days after birth
as early as day 3
by 4 weeks of age
at 1-10 days after birth
at 14 days after birth
at 2 weeks after birth
at 3 weeks after birth
28-50 days after birth
NOTE: This is a basic guideline for developmental stages. Not all kittens will develop at this rate, but should be approximate to this guide.
* * * Please remember, newborn kittens do not develop a shivering reflex until
they have reached at least 7 days of age. It is very important that your kitten
is kept in a warm environment at all times * * *
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Your kitten is depending on you to provide her proper nourishment. If your kitten is a newborn, or has not yet reached 4-6 weeks of age, the following is a helpful guide to keeping her nutritional status as healthy as possible.
A good kitten formula is fortified with essential nutrients needed for proper growth and development. Additional supplementation is only necessary when an emergency situation warrants it.
KMR Kitten Formula is an excellent milk supplement for feeding newborns until 4 weeks of age or older. This formula is available in both a pre-mixed liquid form and a dry powder form to be mixed with water (you can order KMR Here). Although the pre-mixed canned formula is convenient, it must be refrigerated upon opening and kept no longer than 48 hours. The dry powder is easy to measure and mix, and it has feeding directions for kittens on the label. After opening, the unmixed dry powder can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Once mixed, it should be refrigerated and stored for no longer than 24 hours.
NOTE: KMR Kitten Formula is available at any pet store or veterinary clinic. Also available are other formulas such as Havolac, Unilact, and Veta-Lac. KMR Kitten Formula is the most popular formula and the most available. Please read all mixing directions carefully and consult your vet should you have additional questions.
PRECAUTIONS: DO NOT feed raw or unpasteurized cow's milk, goat's milk, or other forms of whole milk products to your newborn kitten. These milk products can cause diarrhea, bloating, constipation, severe intestinal gastric upset and imbalances, as well as enzyme overload, toxoplasmosis, hypoglycemia, and other serious health concerns.
Pet-Ag manufactures great kitten nurser bottles, and can be purchased as kits that include extra nipples and bottle cleaners. These kits are available at any pet store or veterinary clinic.
NOTE: Most nipples supplied with a nurser bottle or kit are not pierced. Please remember to pierce the nipples before feeding. Make sure you can squeeze out a sufficient amount of formula from the bottle, this will ensure your kitten can adequately receive the proper amount during each feeding. Also remember that mixed formula should be lukewarm, never hot. Use care when using a microwave oven to heat formula, as the formula can be very easily overheated. Take special care in keeping kitten's bottles and nipples clean and sterilized before each feeding.
In most cases the kitten formula will have feeding directions included on the label. Please follow them carefully and consult with your vet if you have additional questions or concerns.
NOTE: It is important to realize that each kitten is an individual and one kitten may need more or less nourishment than another. DO NOT overfeed a newborn. In most cases a kitten will alert you when she has had enough at individual feeding times. If you overfeed her she will then be predisposed to constipation, gas, diarrhea, or other serious gastrointestinal complications. In newborns, these can be fatal. Typically, newborns should be fed every 2-3 hours until 2 weeks of age, and then the feeding schedule can be gradually reduced to every 4-6 hours, depending upon your kitten's individual needs. Equally important with newborn kittens is that they need to be stimulated to eliminate after each feeding. This stimulation is extremely important and is normally provided by momma kitty, but in her absence it is up to you to provide this function to ensure your kitten has healthy and normal urination/bowel functions. This can be accomplished by gently rubbing the penis/vulva area for urination and the anus for defecation with a soft dampened cotton ball or gauze pad. Kittens should urinate after each feeding and should have a bowel movement at least once daily. If you notice that your kitten has not urinated or produced a bowel movement in over 24 hours, you will need to contact your vet. He may suggest a warm water kitten enema, but never attempt to do this yourself as it should be done at your vet's clinic. Unless you are experienced and have the necessary equipment, never attempt a kitten enema on a very young kitten. Never use human products, such as Fleet enemas, in cats as they are too dangerous.
* EMERGENCY KITTEN FORMULA *
(The following is to be used only in emergency situations where a kitten formula is not available. It is NOT meant or formulated to be used long term)
HOMEMADE RECIPE FOR KITTEN FORMULA
3 oz. condensed milk
3 oz. water
4 oz. plain yogurt (NOT low-fat)
3 large or 4 small egg yolks
ANOTHER KITTEN DIET
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg yolk
1 drop mulitple infant vitamins (Please ask your vet)
Mix well or blend together in a blender for smoothest consistency.
DOSAGE(Divide and feed 4 times daily)
AGE (In Weeks) ml / 100 grams of body weight / per day
1 Week 13 ml
2 Weeks 17 ml
3 Weeks * 20 ml ( * encourage solid food )
4 weeks 22 ml
NOTE: Always remember to consult your vet if you are ever unsure of feeding amounts or requirements. Never use these homemade diets for long term use.
KITTEN REHYDRATION FORMULA
This formula can be used for kittens suffering from dehydration and diarrhea. This mixture is thick but drinkable. It is just as effective as glucose-based oral solutions
in preventing and treating dehydration and has the added advantage of reducing the volume and duration of diarrhea.
Cereal-based oral rehydration solution can be made by mixing:
Â½ cup dry, precooked infant's rice cereal
2 cups of water
Â¼ teaspoon salt.
NOTE: This solution should only be used temporarily. If you think your kitten is
suffering dehydration and/or severe diarrhea, do not hesitate to see your vet immediately. Dehydration and persistent diarrhea in young kittens and cats can lead to serious organ failure, fever, shock, malnutrition and other serious health conditions.
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