While you’ve taken good care of your cat while she’s pregnant, as a responsible cat owner, you’ll need to know what to do after the kittens are born. At this vital time, your capacity for observation is essential.
Check out some tips on how to care for a mother cats and young kittens, as well as warning signs of illness and developmental milestones for kittens.
A check-up by a doctor
If you haven’t done so previously, take the mother cat and the kittens to the vet for a checkup after a week. The mother cat should get her vaccination now, if she hasn’t already. For her own protection and the protection of her kittens, she might also be given medicine for roundworms.
Taking care of mother cats and young kittens
The first two to three weeks are crucial for a mother cat and her young kittens. The kittens should be developing swiftly at this period, and any postpartum problems the mother may be having will manifest itself at this time.
Your attention should be directed toward the mother cat’s pace. If she has been your pet for some time, she may like your visits. A stray or adopted cat could prefer that you stay away from them. As long as the kittens are nursing often and appear to be doing well, everything will be fine.
Ideally, keep the mother cat and her kittens in a separate room or another tranquil area of the house. Make sure the room is warm enough because kittens cannot regulate their body temperature until they are a few days old. The mother cat can keep the kittens warm, but if she leaves to eat or go to the restroom, they could get cold. Chilling is one of the most dangerous threats to newborn kittens. Provide blankets, a heat lamp, or a heating pad to keep the kittens warm.
Use a box that can hold the mother cat and her young in comfort. Line it with a stack of fresh towels. The towels will quickly get dirty because the kittens will urinate on them. To reveal a new layer, simply remove the top towel.
Food, drink, and litter boxes for the mother cat should be kept close by. Make sure you are giving her high-quality canned kitten food that is KMR-fortified (Kitten Milk Replacement). These carefully crafted foods provide the nutrition a nursing, postpartum mom cat needs.
Kitten Developmental Milestones
Three days after birth, a kitten’s eyes open, and the umbilical cord begins to separate. You might notice them twitch when they are asleep because their neurological systems are still developing. This twitching is quite normal and demonstrates how the child’s muscles and nervous system are developing.
By the time they are two weeks old, the kittens will start to crawl about and try to stand. They will start to erupt teeth at this time. If you put your finger in their mouths, you can feel the teeny-tiny teeth nubs.
For the first three weeks after breastfeeding, the mother cat will lick each kitten to encourage waste evacuation in the anal and stomach areas. However, a discharge that smells bad should cause concern.
By three weeks, the kittens should be playing and moving around. You can give them wet food while supplementing with KMR. They should still be actively nursing. They can be instructed on how to use the litter box as well. At this age, stay away from clumping clay litter. The World’s Finest Cat Litter or any high-quality non-clay litter is the best option for young kittens.
Young Kitten Health Concerns
Intestinal parasites most frequently afflict kittens. Young kittens can also experience congenital diseases and infectious conditions including respiratory infections.
Fading kitten syndrome occurs when a kitten doesn’t thrive. If you notice one of the kittens is generally more lethargic and sleeps a lot more than its siblings, it may have the syndrome. The kitten has to be seen by a veterinarian with experience in kitten care straight away.
Postpartum Health Concerns
The pregnancy, labor, and days after delivery put a lot of strain on the body of the new mother. A new mother’s hormone levels rise, milk production begins, and the recovery process from childbirth is in full swing. There are frequently a few critical conditions to watch out for when it comes to your mother cat.
When the mother cat’s mammary glands swell and impede the flow of milk, mastitis, a bacterial infection of the milk ducts, occurs. If the teats become warm and swollen with what seems to be “bruising,” the mother cat may stop letting the kittens nurse. Mastitis is a veterinary emergency. The infections of the cat are often treated with antibiotics. The kittens may need to be fed by hand until the mother cat is healthy once again.
Despite being rare in cats, hypocalcemia, also known as “milk fever,” is a medical emergency. This condition may be brought on by inadequate calcium consumption during pregnancy and lactation. Among the symptoms include seizures, stumbling, muscle shaking, restlessness, and excessive perspiration. While the mother is recuperating, the kittens will need to be fed by hand.
Infection in the uterus
Animals who have metritis, a dangerous uterine infection, risk losing their lives. Usually, after giving birth to her kittens, the mother cat would suffer the usual vaginal discharge. You’ll have to perform this task without her using a warm, damp washcloth. Additional symptoms include fever, lethargy, and a decrease in milk production.
The mother cat might need medical attention in a hospital and prompt spaying. Up until the mother cat heals, you will be in charge of feeding and caring for the kittens.
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