Knowing that your lovable kitty cat now has kittens of her own is exciting. But with great joy comes great responsibility. So whether or not you're acting as a substitute parent or working closely with mother cat, here are some of the most important things you should know about newborn kittens care.
Newborn kittens are born blind & deaf and must always be kept warm. Normally, they will curl up together with other kittens in their litter and with their mother cat but you can use soft blankets as bedding to keep them comfortable and cozy 24/7. To make sure the heat inside the whelping box is enough to keep them all warm, you can also add heating pads under the bedding/blankets.
Typically, kittens will feed every 2 hours. You will know when they're hungry because they will start crying and moving around.
Although still blind, they can find their way to their mother's teats, on their own! This is because of their tactile perception. Still, you should assist them in locating their mother's teats and help them take turns feeding, allowing the smallest ones to go first.
In the case of the mother cat rejecting her kittens, dying from giving birth (we hope not) or not having enough milk, you can consult your veterinarian on what special formula to use. In bottle feeding, make sure bottles are sterilized before and after feeding.
In taking care of newborn kittens, maintain a good hygiene. Keep the newborn kittens away from all soiled materials inside the whelping box. Use a washable whelping pad that you can change out regularly. This will keep the kittens away from taking a bath on their own pee or poop. Dog diapers are a great option for the mother cat, too! This will prevent her from be soiling her young and the bedding.
Cats are easily stressed. Especially the weeks after giving birth. Make sure that you place the whelping box somewhere far from whatever easily causes stress on your cat - stray animals, other pets at home, or house guests.
Taking care of newborn kittens can be hard work but once you see them grow up as healthy and happy kittens, it will make all the difference in the world and be completely worth it!