Caring for a New Kitten

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In case you ever find yourself caring for a newborn or orphaned kitten, here are important steps to follow to set them up for survival.

Taking in a little orphaned kitten (or kittens) is a very huge task but in the end, the reward far outweighs the hard work.

How to Care for the Kitten

First and foremost, keep the kitten warm and get it to a vet to be checked out immediately. They can show you how to care for and feed it. However, if you feel that you are unable to assume this responsibility, it would be wise to hand the kitten over to the vet or a no kill shelter so that the kitten can be looked after by more experienced rescuer/volunteer so her chance of survival will be higher.

And if you do want to take care of the little kitten now, here are some of the things that you can do…

Bringing the Kitten Home

You need to set up a comfortable nesting box for the kitten. Find a hard and sturdy card box, lined it with old towels or clothes and shredded newspaper.

Newborns cannot regulate their body heat so it is very important to keep them warm. You can fill a bottle with hot water, wrap a towel around it and place it in the nesting box. Or, you can use some uncooked rice, fill it into a sock, and zap it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Make sure to check the temperature so it is not too hot and can burn the delicate kitten.

Kitten Food

Feeding wise, purchase kitten replacement formula from any pet store.  You will also need a feeding bottle or two. Warm her up gently before feeding her by either using the water bottle wrapped with a towel, or by gently caressing her by your chest and allowing your body heat to warm her up.

You need to feed the kitten around the clock, at 2-3 hour intervals. A kitten needs approximately 8 cc’s of formula per ounce of body weight per day.

Tips for Kitten Feeding

Remember to feed the newborn kitten while they are laying on on their stomach on a hard surface or on your lap. Kittens are not newborn babies and should not be fed like one. Cut the bottle nipple with a sterile blade or scissors. Make sure the hole is big enough so the formula will drip smoothly without applying pressure to the bottle.

Also, make sure it’s not too hot. You can soak the bottle in warm water for about 10 minutes to make it warm. Test the temperature by dripping the formula on your wrist.

Go slow when feeding. The kitten will feed on their own space. Make sure the flow of formula is not too fast so the formula doesn’t get into their lungs. If you see formula coming out from their nose, hold them upside down by their feet gently.

After each feeding, make sure you place the kitten on your chest or shoulder, belly down, and give them a pat until they burp. This is important so be sure not to skip this step.

Kitten Bathroom Routines

Newborns are not able to go pee/poop without your help. The mother will usually lick them to make them defecate and urinate. When the mom is not there, it can be your job to stimulate their bowel movement. Wet a cotton ball with warm water and gently rub or pat their bottom. You don’t need to use too much pressure. Just a light tap or rub will initiate the flow of urine and defecation.

General Care for Kittens

Newborn kittens are fragile so when you pick them up, always be gentle. Cradle the hind legs with one hand thus supporting his body weight and hold the front of the body under the chest and behind the forelegs with your other hand. This will make them feel secure and comfortable.

You can also place a ticking clock into the kitten’s nesting box to mimic the mom’s heart beat. Make sure you wrap the clock in a towel or place it inside an old sock. This will help calm baby kitten who misses his mom.

And don’t forget to schedule a vet appointment soon so that the kitten’s health can be assessed. The kitten will also need to be de-wormed and receive it’s first round of vaccinations.

Consider Investing in Kitten Insurance 

Looking for more ways to protect your kitty?  Consider investing in a kitten insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Get your free quote today.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.