5 Tips for the care of young cats

Are you one of those people who sees a kitten on the street and adopts it? Here are a few tips for good handling.

1- To facilitate a warm and calm environment: in the first weeks of life, the young cats are unable to regulate their body temperature. One must sin neither excess nor in the effect. The rectal temperature of the newborn is 36-37ºC and rises to 38-39ºC after 4 weeks. What I usually do is put them in a box with blankets and fill some latex gloves with warm water (with the back of my hand we make sure they don’t burn, and we’ll change them when they get cold). You can also warm them with a lamp, placing it at a safe distance so as not to burn them. A good temperature of the environment is about 30ºC the first week of life for cat cats and we will go down about 2ºC every week. You can help yourself by taking your child’s rectal temperature with a thermometer. Humidity is also important; if it is very dry you may dehydrate it. It should be around 60%; the kittens’ mucous membranes should be moist and pink.

cat offspring2- Watching the weight: the normal weight of cats at birth is about 90-100 g and they gain between 50-100 g per week, doubling their weight at two weeks. If you have just met him, you may notice that his abdomen is distended (very swollen) and it is normal if he has just eaten, but it can also be caused by malnutrition or, most likely, parasites. You need to watch your stool for diarrhea or for any worms in it. In the first consultation with your veterinarian, he or she will establish appropriate deworming guidelines for you.

3- Handle them carefully, frequently (so that they get used to human contact and are more docile) and without altering their sleep patterns.

4- Food: the ideal are the commercial preparations that you can find in specialized shops or in veterinary clinics. Cow’s milk is not well assimilated, but if we have to get out of the way, it better be lactose-free cow’s milk. If we don’t have lactose-free milk either, we can make ourselves a recipe “made in” at home (use it at most 24h). We can mix 100g of condensed milk diluted in 90 ml of water, with a natural yoghurt and 2 raw egg yolks, or 60 ml of cow’s milk (better without lactose) with 20 g of liquid cream and 2 raw egg yolks. It is best to make the new preparation every day and just before administering it. Mix all the ingredients and heat them in a bain-marie to 37ºC (use the back of your hand and make sure it does not burn). In commercial preparations, it tells you the steps to reconstitution.

If you don’t have a bottle, you can provide it with a syringe, and the cat should never be upright or on its back (as we would give it to a baby). It has to be like in feedingthe position that cats’ young adopt when suckling from their mother; they have to be in a horizontal position, and you have to tilt the bottle/syringe a little, just enough for the milk to come out. Remember that after each feeding, you should thoroughly clean the bottle and nipple with hot water, so that there are no traces of bad smells and flavours. The cat has to drink at will, never force them by the risk of a false swallow and can never be fed if the cat is hypothermic (rectal temperature below 34.4°C) because we could cause aspiration pneumonia (the sucking reflex is attenuated and the milk could pass into the lungs through a false swallow).

First week of life: 7 doses/day. Approximately every 3 hours.
Second week of life: 6 doses/day.
Third and fourth week of life: 5 doses/day
Fifth week of life: 4 doses/day. You can now introduce solid feed specifically for kittens. It is preferable that it is dry feed (instead of tinned), dampened a little with water, so that it gets used to it.
Sixth week of life: 3 doses/day. Solid food.
Seventh week of life: we are definitely going into a feed.

5- After meals, help them to urinate and defecate, as their mother would do: before 3 weeks of age, kittens lack the evacuation reflex, so we must stimulate their sphincters by massaging the perineum with a warm, moist cloth.

We hope these tips will help you. Remember that if you have any questions, you can ask your vet. He’ll answer any questions you may have.

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