There are several possible reasons for hand-raising kittens: death or illness of the mother, inadequate milk supply, and rejection of the kittens. We here at Four Seasons Animal Hospital are here to help you with this very rewarding experience, from feeding to bedding and more.
Feeding Kittens may be fed by bottle or syringe. KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) or another milk replacer for kittens must be used. Do not use cow milk, as it is inadequate in protein and fat. Newborn kittens should be fed 6-8 times daily. The frequency should be gradually reduced to 3-4 times daily by 2-3 weeks of age. You can determine how much to feed an orphan kitten by considering its weight and age. The general total daily requirements for kittens fewer than 4 weeks of age are:
1 week (equals 4ozs. body weight) Feed 30ml divided between 8 feedings 2 weeks (equals 8ozs. body weight) Feed 60ml divided between 6 feedings 3 weeks (equals 12ozs. body weight) Feed 90ml divided between 4 feedings
4 weeks (equals 16ozs. body weight) Feed 120ml divided between 4 feedings
** Solid foods should be introduced as a thin, pan-fed gruel at about 3-4 weeks of age. Over the next 2 weeks, the gruel should be gradually thickened, reaching a normal solid consistency when the kittens are 6-8 weeks of age.
Kittens need a warm, draft-free environment during the early weeks of life. Air temperature in the immediate vicinity of the kittens should be 85-90ºF for the first week of life, 80ºF the next 3-4 weeks, and 70-75ºF at six weeks. The higher temperatures during the first few weeks may be maintained with heating pads, light bulbs, or heat lamps, but great care must be taken not to overheat or burn the babies when they are too young to move away from the heat source. Clean paper or cloth is suitable for bedding. A tall-sided cardboard box makes a safe nest and keeps the kittens inside until they are several weeks old.
Kittens must be helped to urinate and defecate by gently stroking the genital area with a cotton ball or tissue moistened with warm water after each feeding. Constant crying by the kittens indicates something is wrong. Contact your veterinarian if this occurs. Also, the kitten’s weights should be monitored. Consult a veterinarian if the kittens fail to gain weight. Kitten should be wormed at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of age with Strongid T at a dose of 1/4CC. They should visit your veterinarian for vaccines at 6 weeks of age.
Have Fun & Good Luck!!