Despite having full fur when they are born, kittens continue to grow after they leave their mother’s womb. The first week of a kitten’s existence is jam-packed with important growth and transformation. Should you have a litter of kittens, it’s a good idea to be aware of what to watch out for and what you can do to give your cat a good start in life.
Body Growth in a Newborn Kitten
The palm of your hand should easily accommodate a newborn cat. Although it will have all the body parts of an adult cat, including fur, four legs, two ears, and other body parts, not all of them will yet operate as an adult cat does.
A kitten typically weighs 3.5 ounces at birth, which is slightly more than the volume of a deck of cards. These weights are important to keep note of since a kitten’s body weight typically doubles by the end of the first week, reaching roughly 7 ounces. A kitten may not be gaining weight if there is a problem that needs to be resolved.
After two or three days, a kitten’s umbilical cord will dry up and fall off, but its eyes and ears will remain closed for a further few days. Now that it has its mother (or foster adult) for warmth, food, and cleanliness, the kitten is entirely dependent on them. It will be stimulated to urinate and defecate, crawl around on its stomach, scream if it is hungry, sleep, and urinate and defecate when its mother licks it.
Behavior Modifications in Newborn Kittens
Normally, you won’t notice much of a difference development of kitten from newborn to one week old, but as the week progresses, the kitten will start to get more active.
Since kittens are still too small to play with one another, the only social interaction amongst littermates will be a competition for a nipple to suckle from.
Kitten for Healthy Living and Newborn Care
As a newborn kitten is completely reliant upon its mother during the first few weeks of life, you will need to assume the role of mom if your kitten is an orphan or has been neglected by its mother. If the mother is caring for the kittens, you won’t need to do much, but there are still a few things you should be on the lookout for.
- Kittens have a limited ability to regulate their body temperatures at a young age. You might need to use blankets, a heat lamp, a heating pad, and other things to keep a kitten warm. If a kitten becomes extremely possessive, its health may suffer.
- Watch the kittens’ weight to see if it increases or decreases. These indications may point to a problem, such as the kitten not eating enough.
- Be alert for any liquid or bubbles coming from the noses of people. This can indicate aspiration or a hole in the roof of the mouth.
- Keep an eye out for bloated stomachs. Not urinating or pooping can be a sign that a kitty needs your assistance.
- To induce regular pee and defecation, make sure the mother cat is regularly licking the kittens.
- Regularly check the kittens’ gums and tongues to make sure they are a bright pink color.
- Each kitten must be given space to rest and feed. A common kitten crawls on its belly to find a nipple.
- Check the mother’s nipples to make sure she is producing milk to feed the kittens. If you squeeze the nipple gently, milk should come out.
- If the mother cat doesn’t give the kittens enough time to normally nurse, they will need to be bottle-fed. Some mother cats decide against nursing their offspring.
Food and Nutrition for a Newborn Kitten
Cat milk is the only source of nutrition for newborn kittens because they lack teeth. In the first few days after birth, the mother cat will produce colostrum, a very particular kind of milk, for the kittens. This milk’s special maternal antibodies help protect kittens from illnesses until their own immune systems are fully developed. Kittens must start nursing soon after birth in order to guarantee that these antibodies are consumed through the milk.
If a kitten needs to be bottle-fed because it is orphaned, the proper nutrition should be provided using a specific cat milk replacement formula. In the interim, you can use a homemade kitten formula. A young kitten will consume small amounts of food every two hours and needs about seven teaspoons of food per day.
Kittens being educated
At this young age, there is no useful training you can provide a kitten. A kitten will eventually learn to use the litter box on its own, but it shouldn’t begin until its mother no longer needs to coax it to urinate and feces.
Care for the mother cat
If the mother cat is present, monitoring her health is equally as important as monitoring the kittens. Mother cats are responsible for feeding, caring for, amusing, and keeping their kittens warm.
When a mother cat is pregnant, she should start receiving kitten food, and she should keep receiving it until the kittens finish nursing. This will help the mother’s milk, which the kittens will drink after birth, provide them with extra nutrients.
The mother cat must have the appropriate immunizations before becoming pregnant in order to pass on her maternal antibodies to her unborn kittens.
Make sure the mother cat has a quiet area to relax and feed the babies. Because caring for and nursing kittens is so taxing on the body, further stress should be avoided.
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If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your pet.
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