How to Care for New Kittens from an Unplanned Pregnancy
Before we go into taking care of the new mother and her kittens we’d like to remind you that your cat can get pregnant while still nursing her kittens. Therefore, you are advised to book your cat in to be neutered within two weeks of giving birth. She will still be able to produce milk so you don’t need to worry about her not being able to care for her babies.
The new mother should be able to cope with parenting her kittens without much help from you. However, she will need to eat a lot more as she requires more energy. Feeding kitten food to the mother is advised to help her during this period. You should also give her access to fresh, clean water always. Place the bowl close to her so she doesn’t have to go far to get refreshment. Do keep an eye on her as she could experience problems such as mastitis, swollen or infected mammary glands. She will need to be seen by the vet if any problems occur. Signs to look out for include a high temperature and lack of appetite.
Growing Up Fast
The kittens will depend on mum for all their nutritional needs up to around five weeks. They will then be ready to begin trying small amounts of kitten food and start the weaning process. You might feel tempted to keep the kittens but it’s a good idea to find them new, responsible owners. The owners will need to be able to provide a safe environment and afford the costs that come with kittens, including but not limited to:
- Equipment such as bedding, litter trays, bowls etc.
- Essential medical treatments such as vaccinations, neutering, flea and worming treatments etc.
- Pet insurance
As the kittens get older they will begin to explore and play a lot more. It’s a good idea to restrict them to a single area that you can keep kitten friendly. Don’t let them venture outside at any point. It is a good idea to begin socialising the kittens with other family pets from around three weeks of age. Don’t leave them unattended, but do let well behaved dogs interact with the kittens.
Finally, never let your kittens go to their new homes until they reach at least 8 weeks old. They need this time to learn essential skills from their mother and siblings. There are approximately 850,000 unexpected kittens each year in the UK that need to find loving homes. A huge number of kittens end up in rehoming centres. You will need to think carefully about how you want to find homes for your kittens and where you will look for responsible owners.