Dear readers, these tips are primarily intended for those who find an orphaned kitten or are having kittens for the first time and do not have enough experience to deal with possible problems or simply want to ask the most important things. This blog post will give you every detail about what to feed newborn kittens in an emergency.
The advice listed below will NOT replace a veterinarian!
Use this to find a veterinarian near you – Vet Finder.
Tips for Rearing of Newborn Kittens in an Emergency
- In the event of sudden problems with kittens, it is necessary to act quickly, so be sure to go to the vet or the nearest veterinary clinic immediately.
- Alternatively, you can contact the animal protection association or animal shelter, since these institutions usually also serve veterinarians, or competent people can check the state of health of the “emergency” and provide practical advice.
- A baby absolutely needs fluids! A kitten dries out within a very short time (hours) without hydration and is thus in a life-threatening condition. As soon as a baby refuses to eat for several hours (for whatever reason), the veterinarian should immediately place amine depots or life-sustaining infusions to stop the loss of fluid.
- In the event of refusal to eat and/or digestive problems, a kitten must be presented to the veterinarian immediately.
- If there are problems with more than one kitten, the entire litter with mother (if available) must be thoroughly examined by the veterinarian.
You can also check another one of our very detailed posts about this topic – Things to Remember While Taking Care of Baby Kittens.
What to Feed Newborn Kittens in an Emergency?
A baby cannot be cared for without the mother it always needs breast milk. Just the same way newborn kittens need cat milk (NEVER cow’s milk).
- Cat milk is generally available in pet shops or from the vet. The milk is usually fed in a rearing bottle or in a disposable syringe without a needle.
- It is important that a long, pointed teat is used as an attachment that comes closest to the shape of the mother’s teat. The opening in the teat should be as small as possible so that the baby has to suck and cannot choke.
- Mineral water or boiled water with the addition of glucose (dextrose – available in any drugstore or supermarket, even in the emergency pharmacy) can be fed as an emergency solution for short-term bridging.
- In the case of bloating and constipation, a spoonful of milk sugar (drugstore or pharmacy) is added to the rearing milk. The ready-made rearing milk is fed lukewarm.
What to Feed Kittens up to the Age of 4 Weeks?
In the first 2 weeks of life, kittens must be fed every two hours (day and night). If the baby does not report itself with hungry shouting, it must be woken up. From the 3rd week of life, you need to feed the newborn kittens every 3 hours a day, at night every 4 hours is enough.
From the 4th week of life, you can take nightly food breaks of 4-6 hours. At the same time, the kittens are switched to “solid food” (canned food). Kittens up to the age of 4 weeks should be weighed daily, then a weekly weight check is sufficient, provided the kittens develop well.
The weight of the newborn kittens must be noted. The daily weight gain in the first weeks is about 10 grams per day, should always be weighed at the same time of day. Low weight loss over a period of max. 48 hours not critical. In addition, an immediate visit to the vet is indicated.
In the case of motherless rearing, the belly is massaged with a warm, coarse terry cloth (washcloth or similar) after each feeding. Furthermore, the anus and the genital area are gently massaged after the food intake, so that the baby can remove feces and urine. Applying “white petroleum jelly” beforehand prevents wounds.
Kittens under 3 weeks of age urgently need (nest) warmth. Since they are not yet able to maintain body temperature independently. For “only children” it is necessary to use a red light lamp several times a day. A hot water bottle in the basket can also be a good replacement.
What to Feed Kittens over the age of 4 Weeks?
From this age, a baby can be switched to solid food, but still receives additional rearing milk like a suckling kitten. Feeding takes place 5-6 times a day.
Possible solid foods are wet cat food (available from feed stores or supermarkets), dry food soaked in water, raw ground beef (NEVER mixed or minced pork), cream curd (no lean), cottage cheese and yogurt.
Vitamin preparations such as multivitamins paste (available from pharmacu stores) or nutritional, calopet and nutriplus paste (available from the vet) are recommended.