2001-Fri Sep 22 22:17:40 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
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.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
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.