Are They Warm?
If you find abandoned kittens, the first step is to make sure they are warm!
The greatest single danger to abandoned kittens is chilling. A kitten separated from its mother will not live long. Prolonged exposure to cold results in a drop of body temperature and, if it drops below the blood sugar level, the kitten’s internal organs begin a systematic shutdown. If you find abandoned kittens and they feel cold to the touch, hyperthermia has set in and the kitten’s condition is critical.
Here are some techniques you can use to warm the kitten as safely as possible:
Place a heating pad down the side of a cardboard box and half way beneath the box. You may also use a water bottle filled with warm/hot water, wrapped in a towel.
Put a towel in the bottom of the box. Place the heating pad on the LOW temperature setting. Make sure the heating pad does not cover the entire bottom, so the kitten can move off it if it needs to. If a kitten is cold and needs to be warmed before feeding, you can administer .01cc of Karo Syrup Light orally or by rubbing it on the gums of the kitten. This will help to raise the blood sugar level and stabilize the kitten while it warms. If you don’t have Karo Syrup you can mix a solution of warm water and sugar in equal parts and administer .01cc. Once the kitten’s body temperature has warmed it can receive its first formula. Baby kittens have only a very small amount of body fat and must be fed frequently and in the right amounts to maintain adequate blood sugar levels and provide energy for metabolism. Small, weak kittens do best if they are fed every four hours for the first four days. If they cannot take the amount of formula as shown below, they should be fed more frequently with a lesser amount.
|AGE IN WEEKS||AVERAGE WEIGHT||Feedings
|CCs each feeding||TOTAL CCs PER DAY|
Bottle feeding is the preferred method, although some kittens will not suckle on a bottle right away. If this occurs, you can use a syringe to feed the kitten. Follow the same methods as with bottle feeding; just be very careful not to force too much liquid at one time as this may cause fluid to build up in the lungs.
Warm the formula until it feels warm on your wrist. You can warm it in the microwave, but make sure you shake it and place a little on your wrist to make sure it is not too HOT. Place the kitten on its stomach to bottle feed to avoid having the milk run into the kitten’s windpipe. Encourage suckling by keeping a slight pull of the bottle. Do not squeeze formula into the kitten’s mouth as it can go down to fast and make the kitten aspirate.
After each meal a kitten MUST be stimulated to urinate and defecate. Massage the kitten’s anal area with a warm, damp, cotton ball or tissue. This will provide the necessary stimulation. You usually have to continue this stimulation until the kitten is about 3 weeks old and can go on its own.
If your kitten appears restless and cries excessively check to make sure it is getting enough food. As this is a sign of being underfed and can also lead to dehydration and death.
When a kitten is three weeks old you can begin to train it to eat out of a bowl. You can mix the formula with Gerber’s turkey and broth baby food. You can also mix Gerber Rice Cereal with the formula and offer this in a bowl or add a slight bit of the cereal to the bottle when feeding. Continue bottle feeding until you know that the kitten is eating adequately on its own.
A healthy kitten will weigh 3-4 ounces at birth and begin to gain weight rapidly a few days after birth. They should double their weight by one week.
Chart of the normal weight ranges for kittens
|Age in Days||Weight|
|1||1 ½ – 4 ¾ oz.|
|5||3 – 7 oz.|
|10||4 ½ – 9 ¾ oz.|
|15||6 – 11 3/4|
|20||7 ½ – 14 ½ oz.|
|25||8 – 16 ¾ oz.|