The great challenges faced by animal lovers are the negligence of individual owners, who, by their irresponsible behaviour, lead to an increasing number of stray animals, especially newborns, leaving them to fate, throwing them away, and denying them the right to life. So, if you happen to find stray cats in containers, boxes, or on the road, and you love these wonderful creatures and want to help them, this is a short guide on how to do it.
What to do when you find cubs that still need to be with the mother breastfeeding them?
The first step is to determine the age of the kitten.
* When the eyes are closed, the ears are closed, the kitten is 1-10 days old; if he has an umbilical cord with it, he is 1-5 days old.
* When the eyes are open, the ears are still closed, the kitten moves slowly around but sways and is clumsy; it is 2-3 weeks old.
* When the eyes are open and blue, the ears are raised, and he walks around; he has small teeth, the kitten is about 4 weeks old.
* When a kitten runs around, and it is harder or impossible to catch, it means that it is older than 5-6 weeks.
Then, try to find their mother or a surrogate cat with kittens and trick her babies into feeding them. This will only work if the surrogate mother cat does not have too many of her own kittens and if the kittens and her cubs are found to be approximately the same age. How to do it? Lure mom out of her place (with food), and rub the new kittens with a blanket/towels that smell like her kittens. Mix the kittens and wait for the cat to return. As soon as she starts licking new babies, it means she has accepted them. If you fail, here are instructions on how to feed the litter:
1. How to warm kittens?
Wrap them in a blanket and towels, and put them in some smaller space (cardboard box, conveyor). If you have a hot water bottle, put it on them, and if you don’t have one, it will be placed next to the radiator, and a “quasi hot water bottle” (a two-liter plastic bottle filled with hot water and wrapped in a cloth), a towel or a lamp. This is very important because babies need a mother because of her heat; they can freeze quickly. Do not separate them if there is more than one; they heat each other and need each other. Even if it is summer, kittens need additional heating. Note: your body temperature cannot well warm kittens because their normal temperature is around 38-39 degrees.
Kittens must always be in their “nest” and warm. Only take them out when you feed them.
VERY IMPORTANT: If you find kittens, and they have been cold, in water, or wet for some other reason, before feeding, it is important to dry them well, warm them with a hairdryer, and massage them to stimulate their digestion and become active. Lethargic and hypothermic kittens do not have the strength to pull a pacifier, nor can their digestion process milk.
If the kittens were wet or cold, it is good to give antibiotic therapy immediately and preventively: 0.01 ml of Clavocin syrup every 12 hours, 7 days. Be sure to add a probiotic to the bottle 2 hours after the antibiotic.
2. How to feed kittens?
If kittens have open eyes and you’re not sure how old they are, make sure they have teeth. If they have, offer them purchased food for kittens (the simplest: pate) or boiled chicken. If they don’t eat, try putting pieces of food in their mouths and teaching them how to eat. If they don’t have teeth, it means they still need cat milk.
If they have their eyes closed, they are younger than 2 weeks; they definitely need milk (powdered, replacement milk for kittens). Feed them as soon as possible, and feed at smaller intervals (maximum 2-3 hours). As they get older, the interval between feedings will increase. It is necessary to feed at night (gradually increase the gap every 3-4 hours)
Get milk and a bottle for kittens as soon as possible. It is available for purchase in veterinary clinics, pharmacies, and Pet Centers. If you are not able to buy milk right away, you can buy milk powder for children or make your own milk:
Recipe; (this recipe is a first-hand formula only, get replacement kitten milk as soon as you can)
- 250 ml of milk
- 4 teaspoons sweet cream (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar (or, better yet, powdered sugar)
- one egg yolk
Heat the milk. It should be lukewarm/warm, never hot (try it on your hand). Instead of a bottle, use a syringe, pipette, or anything else you can give them milk in your mouth. At first, they will probably spit and grumble, but be persistent and drip a little into their mouths. Just be careful not to choke. Later, they will grab the bottle with their mouths and pull it. They need a few days to get used to it.
Kittens are fed by lying on their stomachs, with their heads slightly raised, as if they were sucking their mother. Do not feed kittens as if they were human babies, and do not roll them on their backs when feeding. This can cause a choking hazard.
1st week of age – feed them 8-10x in 24 hours with 2-4ml of milk per meal.
2nd week of age – feed them 6-7 times in 24 hours with 5-10 ml of milk per meal.
3rd week of age – feed them 5-6 times in 24 hours with 10-15ml of milk per meal.
4th week of age – feed them 5 times in 24 hours with 15-20ml of milk per meal + offer pate for kittens.
Kittens are weighed every few days so you can track your progress.
Normal kitten weights:
Day 1. 90-110 grams
Day 7. 160-220 grams
Day 14. 220-280 grams
Day 21. 280-330 grams
Day 28. 330-390 grams
If the kittens are regressing or stagnating for too long, it means that something is wrong. Diarrhea is a common problem in kittens and most often occurs due to a change in diet. Try to use the same kitten milk all the time. If you are changing the milk brand, mix the old and the new before switching completely to the new. In diarrhea, add baby linex or Florentino (a probiotic for cats) to the milk.
3. How to teach kittens to use sand?
Such small animals also need a mother for cleaning. Licking stimulates digestion and allows you to defecate. After feeding, take a cotton ball or pad, soak in warm water, then drain. With such “imitated mother tongue”, you cross your buttocks and genitals as regularly as you can. It will be harder initially, especially a big need, but it will start with persistent imitation of licking. It is also desirable to massage the abdomen. Gently run your fingers or the already mentioned wet cotton/pad over your stomach to stimulate digestion better.
They probably want to pee on their own, under themselves, so you change the pad under the baby regularly so that they don’t lie wet. If the poop stops for more than 2-3 days, there are some tricks (in the order in which they are written, “try them”):
- paraffin oil (bought in pharmacies, give 0.5 to 1 milliliter to each on a syringe, lubricates the intestines, can also be olive oil)
- rectal thermometer (as if you measured their temperature)
- massage in warm water (in the tub, fill the basin with warm/lukewarm water, as for bathing, massage them on the stomach while in the water, it is essential to dry them well with a hairdryer and warm them later). When you offer kittens food for kittens, then put a bowl of sand on them.
Worm paste: It is given at a minimum of 14 days of age, obligatory paste (Banminth), never tablets (they are too small), and repeated after the first administration in 14 days.
Anti-flea and tick preparations: For most preparations on the market, they should be older than 8 weeks, except for Frontline spray (be careful not to get into the eyes, wear, and mouth) and flea shampoos (dry them well after bathing with a hairdryer and warm ). Check with your veterinarian for individual preparations.
4. How to protect kittens from parasites?
It is possible to adopt such small animals only when they start drinking and eating purchased food independently. Special care about drinking; they usually learn later than they learn to eat. As early as 3-4 weeks, you can offer them purchased food from hand, so if it works, it works. The sooner they start eating purchased food, the easier it will be for both you and them. But keep the bottle and milk for a while longer, necessarily if they don’t know how to drink from a bowl on their own. You can advertise them even earlier, provided that the foster parents reserve them and take them to a new home only when you assess that the kittens are independent. Keep them together as long as possible (ideally, they should not separate before the age of 2 months).
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