2001-Sun Feb 26 14:20:05 MST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Kitten season is in full swing. Because the breeding season for female
cats begins as the days get longer, the first kittens of the season start to appear in early March after a 60-day pregnancy. If you are a family who regularly works with a rescue group like my family does, or if you just happen to be an accidental kitten rescuer, then you probably already have a tiny foundling or two in your spare room. From their first
kitten toddler steps to their crowning achievement — scaling the sofa to reach the sunny windowsill — hand-raised kittens are a joy, but they are also hard work. After rearing a couple of dozen orphan kittens, I have a list of essentials that can help make this fun job
a little easier.
My kitchen scale does double duty when we are raising kittens. Not only do I use it for cooking, but I also use it for keeping tabs on the kittens’ weight, which is essential to
monitor food intake. We keep a kitten-sized cardboard box to hold the kitten safely on the scale during weighing. Each kitten’s weight is recorded in a notebook, and a weight gain of 10 to 15 grams per day means success. I like to use a 5 cc syringe to feed my kittens and typically use kitten
milk replacer mixed with a high-calorie
cat food formulated specifically for syringe feeding.
Like most children, kittens are messy, but orphan kittens have no one to clean them up but you! Without a feline mother, kittens are prone to diarrhea because they don't get the special immune system boosters contained in the queen's (mother's) milk and
may need bathing more than once a day. Because lavender has calming properties, I keep pet-safe lavender shampoo on hand for daily bathing of dirty kittens. For spot cleaning, I use unscented pet wipes.
What new baby doesn’t deserve a safe and cute bed? We use a collapsible puppy playpen, affectionately called the “kitten palace,” as the safe space for our kittens. The palace has mesh walls, the floor is impermeable to spilled water or
litterbox misses, and it features a front and back zippered door as well as a zippered, retractable roof for easy cleanup. When kitten season is over, the palace is folded up into a briefcase-sized bag and stuck in the back of a closet until the next set of kittens arrives.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Dogs and cats help improve our mental,
social and physical health — and we
have the science to prove it!
We asked our readers to share the funny
things and skillful tricks their dogs will do
to get Milk-Bone® Pill…
It’s more than just cute when your kitty
naps in a box — it’s an instinctive
behavior that’s hardwired in her…
Herding dog, search-and-rescue dog, guide dog, police dog, farm dog — you name it, the German Shepherd can do it.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.