After a mother cat has given birth, postnatal care for her is critical, and your observational skills are key at this sensitive moment. Look for warning indicators of health concerns and kitten growth milestones like physical activity in the first few weeks.
If the mother cat is experiencing postpartum, make sure she and her kittens are in a safe, warm location apart from the rest of the home. Checking for any irregularities in behavior or physical looks thoroughly can also help you identify problems promptly so you may seek veterinarian assistance.
If you haven't already, take the mother cat and kittens to your veterinarian for a checkup after one week. This might be an excellent time to vaccinate the mother cat if she hasn't already. She may also be treated for roundworms to protect herself and her kittens.
New Kitten and Mother Cat Care
For a mother cat and her newborn kittens, the first two to three weeks are critical. The kittens should be growing quickly, and any postpartum difficulties that the mother may have will occur at this time.
Allow the mother cat to direct your attention. She may appreciate your visits if she has been your pet for some time. A stray cat that has been rescued or fostered may prefer that you keep away. They'll be OK as long as the kittens are feeding often and appear to be healthy.
Keep the mother cat and her kittens in a quiet area of the house, preferably a different room. As kittens are unable to control their body temperature until they are a few days old, make sure the environment is warm enough. The mother cat can keep the kittens warm, but if she goes to feed or use the litter box, they may become chilly. One of the most serious threats to newborn kittens is chilling. To keep the kittens warm, provide blankets, a heat lamp, or a heating pad.
Use a large enough box to contain the comfortably. To line it, stack clean towels. As the kittens defecate, the towels will rapidly get filthy. The top towel should be removed first to show a clean layer.
Keep the litter box, food, and water bowls of the mother cat close by. Make sure you're feeding her high-quality that includes KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement). These specifically prepared diets provide the nutrition that a nursing, postpartum mother cat requires.
Kitten Developmental Milestones
The eyes of a kitten open three days after birth, and the umbilical cord falls off. Their neurological systems aren't fully matured, therefore they may twitch while sleeping. This twitching is completely natural and signals that their nervous system and muscles are developing properly.
The kittens will start crawling around and attempting to stand by two weeks. During this stage, their teeth will begin to emerge. You can feel little tooth nubs in their mouth if you put your finger in it.
After feeding, the mother cat will lick each kitten around the belly and anal area for the first three weeks to stimulate waste removal. You'll need to replicate this activity using a warm, moist towel while she's away.
The kittens should be wandering around and actively playing by three weeks. You can start them on wet food and add KMR as needed. They should continue to breastfeed. You may also teach them how to use the litter box. Avoid clumping clay litter at this age. Any quality non-clay litter or the World's Finest Cat Litter are the best choices for young kittens.
Health Issues in Newborn Kittens
Kittens are the most susceptible to intestinal parasites. Infectious disorders, including as respiratory infections, and congenital diseases are also common in young kittens.
When a kitten fails to flourish, it is known as fading kitten syndrome. It might be a symptom of the syndrome if you notice one of the kittens is typically more sluggish and sleeps a lot more than its siblings. A veterinarian who specialized in kitten care should see the kitten right away.
Postpartum Health Issues
Pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period are all stressful times for a new mother's body. A new mother's hormones are flooded, milk production begins, and the recuperation following childbirth is in full flow. There are a few serious illnesses to watch out for in your mother cat.
Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the milk ducts that arises when inflamed mammary glands restrict the mother cat's milk production. The teats swell and become heated, with visible "bruising," and the mother cat may refuse to nurse the kittens. Mastitis is a serious veterinary problem. Antibiotics are frequently required to treat the illness in cats. Until the mother cat recovers, the kittens may need to be fed by hand.
Hypocalcemia, sometimes known as "milk fever," is a veterinary emergency that affects only a small percentage of cats. A shortage of calcium during and breastfeeding might cause this illness. Seizures, tremors, restlessness, and excessive panting are some of the symptoms. The kittens will need to be fed by hand while the mother heals.
Metritis is a serious uterine infection that can potentially be a veterinary emergency. After giving birth to her kittens, the mother cat normally has normal vaginal discharge. A foul-smelling discharge, on the other hand, is a red sign. Lethargy, fever, and a decrease in milk supply are some of the other symptoms.
The mother cat may have to be hospitalized for treatment and might need an emergency spaying. As the mother cat recovers, feeding and care for the kittens will fall to you.