Question from Era:
My father brought home a kitten, which was mauled by dogs. Thankfully she was not badly hurt. The kitten is fine and eating now. I wanted to ask you what food I should feed the kitten with. She is very small, a little bigger than my palm, drinks milk only. I tried to feed her some solid food, but she refused. There are fleas, which I have tried to take out, but have not succeeded. However, I will continue trying.
The kitten meows the whole night. I have tried to get her in a box, on the bed, on the mattress, but it is to no avail. She continues to meow the night away. She seems quite scared too, raising her tail high and meowing at the same time.
I dont know anything about cats and am reading some stuff from the internet. I was hoping you could guide me in this.
Answer from Amy:
New born kittens need to be fed 9 - 12 times a day around the clock. It is a very tiring process for the care taker, but it would be the most rewarding experience ever.
(Play the videos below to see how to feed a new born kitten and tips on flea control)
Feed Your Kitten:
New born kittens should feed on kitten milk replacement (e.g. KMR) until the age of around 4 weeks old. If kitten milk replacement products are not readily available, there are kitten formulas that you can make with a few simple ingredients [click here to see a kitten formula recipe].
Click here to see how to bottle feed a new born kitten.
By the time you begin weaning the kitten, you can start making a paste with the kitten formula and a quality wet canned kitten food. Place the paste in a saucer or a shallow bowl. Use your finger to feed the kitten, so she will learn to eat solid food and eat it out of the saucer or bowl.
Do not feed kittens dairy milk because cats are lactose intolerant. Drinking dairy milk can result in various digestive problems. Also, kittens require a lot of vital nutrients in order to help build a healthy and strong body. We should refrain from feeding kittens adult cat food because adult cat food does not have all the important nutrients needed for kittens.
Care for Your Kitten:
Kittens are very fragile. At that age, they like to snuggle with their mother or litter mates most of the time. Since this kitten does not have the privilege to do so, you can try to simulate the kind of environment a kitten should have by putting some warm bedding and adding a ticking clock under it to simulate the mother cat's heart beats. If you have toys or anything that can help recreate that sense of warmth and embrace for the kitten, you can go ahead and do it.
Kittens need a lot of socialization, since your kitten doesn't have her mother cat and litter mates to play with, you are playing the role of her mother. Try to spend some time each day to gently touch the kitten. Touching is extremely crucial for a kitten's physical and mental development.
The reason that your kitten cries in the middle of the night can also be due to hunger since kittens need food every 2-3 hours. You will need to get up in the middle of the night to feed her.
Rehabilitate a Traumatized New Born Kitten:
Also, since your kitten went through a terrible experience with the dogs, you can help her rehabilitate by providing some theraputic work. Your kitten needs to feel loved and needed. You can achieve that by touching the kitten and speaking to her in a soft, soothing tone. Provide plenty of toys for her to play with in order to prevent the possibility of developing separation anxiety. Keep her in a quiet room, so she will not be startled by sudden sounds or noise.
How to Treat Fleas for a New Born Kitten:
New born kittens are very fragile and have no defense to chemicals. At such tender age, they should avoid any sort of chemical flea products. Bathing and soaking with a non chemical shampoo are the best ways to treat a flea infested kitten at that age. [Click here to see How to Bathe a Kitten]
Also, use a flea comb to help brush out the fleas. When your kitten reaches 8 weeks of age, you can take her to a veterinarian to obtain a flea medication if the issue has not resolved by then.
Check out this video below to get more tips about flea control for young kittens:
Image: Flickr - Tom Poes
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