|Purred: Fri Jun 1, '07 8:00pm PST |
|Do you know how old the kitten is? If you're unsure, here's a good way to tell.
1-3 days old: umbilical cord is attached
1-2 weeks old: eyes are still closed
2-3 weeks old: open eyes, attempting to stand, teeth look like nubs
4-6 weeks old: standing, walking, some playing, teeth begin to sharpen
If the kitten is 1 day - 2 weeks old, it is considered a newborn. Newborn kittens require milk/formula feedings every 4 hours. Your local petstore should have kitten formulas, as well as bottles. If you're in a pinch you CAN use goat milk. That is what I used on a feral newborn and she thrived. When you're feeding the kitten, do not hold him on his back like a baby. Set him in your lap on all fours and tilt his head up so he can reach the bottle. He should take to it naturally. Make sure the milk isn't cold, but warm, like their body temperature. Be sure to keep the kitten warm, as without the mother their temps. can drop to dangerous levels. Clean his area and yourself before every interaction and regularly. Since he is not getting his mother's milk, with built-in antibodies, he will be susceptible to bacteria. At this age you'll also have to stimulate his bathroom time. Take a warm rag, usually after feedings, and rub his backside until he goes. If he doesn't, just try again later.
If he is 4-6 weeks, formula feedings every 6-8 hours is good. Same rules apply with warmth, etc. If he seems to be around 4 weeks, you can also begin the weaning process, though I would wait for that since he is obviously an orphan. Feed him formula for a week and then begin introducing softened kitten food. If he doesn't respond well to the solid, make sure you keep supplementing his formula so he gets his nutrition. He can also be introduced to the litter box at this time. If you have some extra litter and a shoebox from your existing cat, you can set him up a little area. Just stick him in the litter and rub his bottom with a rag and let him go. You may even want to take his paws and rub them through the litter, just to get him scratching.
Anything older than 6 weeks and he can be free-fed. Leave out a bowl of fresh water and fresh kitten food and let him eat as he wishes.
Good luck with your little guy!
sarah & jack
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