How to Care for Newborn Kittens

DO NOT TAKE THEM TO THE SHELTER!!

Feeding Newborn Kitten

THE BASICS

You Will Need 7 Thingsa cardboard or plastic box, blankets, old sock(s), uncooked rice, KMR powder, and a baby animal bottle + nipple

Newborn kittens are a treasure, but require around the clock time and energy from humans to help keep them alive if they are orphaned! Here are some basic rules to go by until you have heard back from us to assist: 

1) Newborns cannot regulate their temperatures, SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP THEM WARM SO THEY CAN SURVIVE

Gather the above supplies to keep the kittens alive and warm; if its a hot summer day (90+ degrees) then you may not need to worry about keeping them warm until it cools down during the evening. Once it does cool down a, throw in a makeshift heater to provide warmth (this is when the old sock + rice comes into play: fill the sock with rice, tie at one end, and microwave for 1-1.5 mins) if the sock feels too hot, wrap it in a layer of blanket before placing it in the same box as the kitten(s).

2) Newborns cannot survive without being bottle fed, at this point THEY ONLY NEED KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement) and a baby kitten nursing bottle. Follow instructions on how to create the mix as per the tub (we like using powdered KMR). It is usually the powder + water, (which is why you don't need to worry about giving them water quite yet) they also need to be re-fed every 2-3 hours, depending on how much they're consuming in one sitting. We make ~15 mL per kitten, per feeding at the newborn stage, and feed every 2 hours. LET ME WARN YOU, feeding orphaned feral kittens can be quite discouraging. They scratch, they bite the nipple (sometimes completely off), and it takes a while to get the hang of learning how to get them to suckle from the bottle, but YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS!

3) Newborn kittens are a lot like human babies, in the fact that after feeding, they need to be burped! (just like a baby, hold them in your hands and pat gently on the back until a cute little burp gets released!) Unlike human babies, newborn kittens CANNOT urinate or defecate (fancy words for pee and poo) without stimulation! They need help to go pee or start a bowel movement about 10-15 minutes AFTER EVERY FEEDING. Take a cotton ball and wet it with some warm water, set up a pee pad (or hold the kitten over a sink), and rub the genital area of the kitten until urine starts trickling out (1-2 mins gently tickling with the cotton ball usually does the trick). Don't be surprised if it takes a whole day of feedings before stimulating the little poohole gets you any poop (the stimulation for poop takes more time to get going than urination, about 5 whole minutes of rubbing).

 

4) Now that the kittens have been fed + relieved of their potty business, let them sleep (they'll do that plenty), or play if they have energy! Some easy toys include fuzzballs, toilet paper rolls cut up in half, water bottles, string, and even little paper scraps. REMEMBER to keep them warm with a heating pad (or heating microwave sock in some cases), and to feed them again in 2-3 hours,  repeating until you hear back from us. The kitten(s) is grateful for your help, and so is our Kitten Nursery Club. Newborn kittens are almost always the first to be euthanized when they are taken into government funded/ private funded kill-shelters, so you are doing magical work keeping them alive!

HOLD TIGHT UNTIL YOU HEAR FROM US!

We couldn't thank you more for keeping them safe.