When you find out that your cat is expecting kittens, the excitement level can be very high. Kittens are cute and curious, and watching them grow is a very rewarding experience.
Although many think that because the mother is still in the picture and the kittens have not been abandoned that there are few ways in which they can help, there are in fact things that can be done to ensure that the kittens are safe and that they thrive.
Even when the mother cat is still around to care for her babies, some human intervention may be necessary. The following will outline some ways in which you can aid your cat in being the best mother possible and that the kittens are healthy.
Before the Birth
Before your cat is in labor, you will want to be certain that there is an area that will be safe for her to deliver the kittens. You will want to choose a location that is away from most of the traffic in your home, and also well removed from any harmful chemicals, poisons, and hazards that could hurt the mother or her young.
The spot you choose should be sheltered, but should allow the mother cat to come and go as she pleases. If the cat will be having the kittens in an area you define, you will want to layer some newspapers or another absorbent material and then top it with an old towel.
This will help to make clean up easier after the kittens are born, as you only have to throw out the materials and replace with some warm bedding for them to sleep on such as a blanket or towel.
When your cat starts delivering the kittens you may want to watch. This is okay, but do not intervene in the process unless the mother or kittens are in distress. After the kittens are born, keep an eye and see if they are all getting adequate access to the mother cats’ milk.
You should not attempt to give the kittens cow’s milk as it is not good for them, but kitten formula can be purchased from most veterinarians in the case that a kitten needs some intervention in order for it to thrive.
All in all though, you will want to avoid handling the kittens as much as possible in the first week. After that it is advisable that you help them adjust to human contact and scent so that they will be sociable.
Kittens grow fast
By about 3 weeks of age the litter of kittens will have their eyes open, and by 4 weeks old they will begin needing food other than their mother’s milk. At this stage it is best to begin by feeding them a wet cat food, as a dry food is a choking hazard for the kittens.
Be sure that the food you choose is specially formulated for kittens, as this will ensure they are getting the proper nutrients and in amounts that their bodies can process. This is also the time when you will need to lay out a litter tray for the kittens that is filled with a non-clumping litter.
The mother cat will begin teaching them what to do with the litter, and you will want to freshen the box about once a day to be sure that the environment is clean for the kittens.
This is the point where the kittens will become super playful and the fuzzy little explorers will start wandering around and getting into things. You will want to keep an eye on them, and monitor other pets that you may have to ensure that their behavior is not aggressive, and that they do not play roughly with the kittens.
Children should also be taught how to handle and play with the kittens so that they do not unintentionally hurt one of them. By paying attention to the kittens and the mother cat, and providing a safe environment for the kittens to grow in, you can help to make sure that the litter gets a healthy start on their lives.
This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and a full time pet lover. When she is not working she likes to travel and read as much as she can. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.