Kittens are adorable little creatures that require special attention, but not everyone is capable of caring for 3 week old kitten. Perhaps you found a stray kitten during your morning jog and you did not have it in your heart to leave it out there to fend for itself, or something happened to your pet and the kitten is left motherless. Both of this situation calls for your active participation, but there is that complication, it is a territory that you have no knowledge in.
It is common, however. Even the most dedicated cat owner can be as clueless as a good samaritan who rescued the kitten despite not having the experience of dealing with cats in the past. This is largely due to the nature of our passive participation during this initial stage of kittens’ lives.
While we give the mother cat everything it possibly needs, kittens younger than 6 weeks old are always with their mother and thus we only focus on providing a safe and comfortable container and supplying food and water.
However, with the absence of their mother, you have no other choice than learn how to properly care for them. This does not only include feeding them and cleaning their waste, it also includes providing the care that is appropriate for its developmental stage
To help you navigate your way around this uncharted territory, we have compiled a handy guide filled with important information and tips you can use.
Caring for 3 week old kitten: kitten development
Kittens are born with their ears folded over and their eyes closed; some of them have their eyes tightly closed while others have it only partially closed. You should never attempt to open their eyes during this stage because their eyes will naturally open on their own on the second week. On the third week however, you may notice the color of their eyes. This color may still change as they age, however.
Their vision is not the only thing that has significantly improved during this stage of their lives, their sense of smell is too. You may also notice the kitten is scared off quite easily, this is the sign that they have finally developed their hearing. Any noise may startle them, but before you get concerned, know that it will be the reason for their ears to start standing tall and for them to learn to walk.
How to care for 3 week old kitten
With their senses finally improved and they start roaming, your task to take care of them has yet to end. They still need your assistance during feeding, although they no longer need frequent feeding. Kittens which are three weeks old only need four feedings per day, typically given every four hours.
The amount of formula must be given per day is 80 cc or 10 oz. A good rule of thumb when it comes to this is that a kitten must be fed 8 cc of formula per ounce of its body weight.
This is the primary reason why you must closely monitor their weight. You may use food scale to weigh them and to ensure accuracy, weigh them every day and write it on your notebook to keep as a record. That way you will be able to see their growth and if there is anything to adjust.
As a reminder, only make formula they will drink as any remaining milk must be thrown away as heating milk will destroy its protein and your kitten depends on it as their source of nutrition.
Caring for 3 week old kitten: hygiene
With them being more active, a few issues may starting to arise. Hygiene is one aspect we must always put on the our priority list. Notice that mother cats always lick their kittens to keep them scrupulously clean?
This state of cleanliness must be continued despite the absence their mother. Wiping the kitten with a clean washcloth which has been submerged is usually enough. However, if you find feces on their body, you must give them a bath.
Simply use a mild soap such as Dawn and warm water, gently clean the kitten and completely dry them right away. To dry, use the towel before shifting to blow dryer using its lowest setting. To avoid burning during blow-drying, put your hand between the dryer and the kitten.
Flea is another issue that you may find during this stage. They must be removed immediately because if left untreated, these bloodsucking insects may cause serious health issues. To remove fleas, avoid using chemical products.
Instead, give kittens a warm bath and rinse them with mild soap. Once finished, place them on a clean dry towel and comb using flea-comb while their fur is still wet. Drop the fleas you found and put them in a cup of alcohol or hot soapy water, and wash fabric and bedding with hot water.