In the high kitten season such as spring and summer, it is not unusual for us to find a nest of unattended newborn kittens or 1 week old kitten seemingly the runt of the litter that has been abandoned by its mother somewhere.
Upon finding them, we instinctively decide to take them back with us and take care of them. Rescuing these poor kittens is a noble decision, there is no doubt about it. But not all of us know how to properly care for newborn kitten and this may lead to a serious issue.
The fact that we do not know anything about how to take care of newborn kittens often makes us question our decision. But when we look back on it, our decision to rescue them is much better than leaving them on their own when we are aware they are still unable to fend for themselves. Now all we have to do is educate ourselves, and luckily for us this article is specifically made for this reason.
How to care for 1 week old kitten: step one
Despite having the responsibilities spelled out, it may still come off as confusing. This is largely due to our unfamiliarity with how to correctly do the aforementioned responsibilities.
We know how to keep babies warm, and we also know how and when to feed them as well as how to properly change their diapers. But this is not a human baby we are talking about, so a task as simple as feeding may become ten times more complicated to us.
First, purchase kitten formula and nursing kit from the nearby pet store. This nursing kit typically includes a cleaning brush, and a bottle along with several nipples. If you want an economical option, go for the powdered kitten formula and remember to never give them cow’s milk.
To start, cut an opening in the first nipple with a scissor. To know whether or not you have the right opening size, hold the bottle upside down and when it slowly drips, you are good to go.
How to care for 1 week old kitten: step two
Before each feeding, you are advised to sterilize the nipples and bottles by boiling them in water for a few minutes. Make sure the formula is slightly warmer than room temperature.
If you are not using surgical gloves made out of latex for feeding, you should wash your hands before and after each feeding to protect the kittens from each other’s germs.
To feed them, place them on their stomach on a clean cloth or towel then gently open their mouth and slowly slip the nipple in. They will quickly get into enthusiastic suckle mode which is exciting to see and experience. However, remember that you must always lightly pull the bottle.
This is important to ensure that the bottle is always at a 45 degree angle in order to avoid air from being sucked into their stomach. If after feeding they start choking, it’s common so don’t panic. Simply hold them upside down until they stop.
Another thing that is worth noting is the fact that kittens always instinctively knead their paws when being fed, which brings us to another good alternative position for feeding.
If it is possible for you, sit on the floor with your legs crossed, and put a towel on your leg before you place the kitten on your leg. This way the newborns will be much more comfortable during feeding. Just remember to change the towel each day.
How to care for 1 week old kitten: step three
While kittens know how to suck the nipple by instinct, you may come across a newborn that somehow refuses to take the nipple. When your newborn kitten refuse to suckle, you may coax them by delicately stroking its back or rubbing the nipple gently but firmly on the newborn’s forehead.
These are incredibly stimulating because they replicate the cleaning activity that mother-cats always do to their newborns.
If this does not work out, chances are the newborn kitten is simply being fussy. In the event that this happens, you may change to another type of nipple.
The nursing kit typically consists of extra nipples with different length. If you are using the shorter nipple, immediately change it to the longer one and use it to feed the picky newborn.
If the kitten still refuses to take the nipple, examine whether they seem weaker than the others. Newborn kittens who are too weak to suckle usually can easily be stimulated by gently dabbing some Karo syrup on their lips.
If Karo syrup also does not work, they are possibly sick and must be given a small dose of amoxycillin. While this usually does the trick, you may take them to the veterinarian right away and have them properly examined.