kitten care

Coming this Summer: Tiny But Mighty: Kitten Lady’s Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines

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We’re big fans of Kitten Lady Hannah Shaw. Since her first rescue ten years ago, Hannah has developed a huge following on Instagram, featuring some of the most adorable photos of kittens you’ll ever see online, but she is about so much more than just cute photos. Shaw has become the go to expert on how to save and raise orphaned kittens. In addition to teaching neonatal kitten workshops at shelters around the country, her website and YouTube channel offer a wealth of resources on kitten care.Continue Reading

Caring for Abandoned Kittens

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Raising abandoned kittens can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. Depending on their age, kittens who have been abandoned or rejected by their mother, or whose mother has died, may need to be hand raised.

Ideally, kittens should be with their mother until they’re at least five or six weeks old. The longer they can nurse, the better. Young kittens need their mother’s milk not just for nutrition, but also to receive important antibodies that will protect them against disease later in life. Since orphaned kittens don’t have this protection, they can be particularly vulnerable to disease.Continue Reading

A Visit with the Kitten Lady

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Hannah Shaw quite possibly has the best job in the world. She devotes her life to saving the most vulnerable of cats – neonatal kittens. Since her first rescue eight years ago, Hannah has developed a huge following on Instagram, featuring some of the most adorable photos of kittens you’ll ever see online, but she is about so much more than just cute photos. Shaw has become the go to expert on how to save and raise orphaned kittens. In addition to teaching neonatal kitten workshops at shelters around the country, her website and YouTube channel offer a wealth of resources on kitten care.Continue Reading

Weaning Kittens from Their Mother

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Weaning kittens is the process of transitioning kittens from their mother’s milk to eating solid food on their own. Weaning is an important part of a kitten’s development and needs to be done correctly.

Ideally, weaning is handled by the mother cat, but when the mother has trouble producing enough milk, or when a litter of kitten is orphaned, human intervention will be necessary.

When should kittens be weaned?

The weaning process should begin when the kittens are about four weeks old, and usually takes four to six weeks to complete. If the kittens have a mom, they will start to become interested in her food at that stage, and may even push her away to eat some of her food. At that point, the mother will usually push the kittens away from her when they try to nurse.

How to wean kittens

If you’re raising orphaned kittens, gradually transition the kittens to canned food. Mix the food with formula so they recognize the taste. You may initially need to smear a little of the mixture around their mouths. Once they get used to the new taste, you can encourage them to lap the mixture up from a bowl by gently guiding his head toward the bowl. Do not push the kitten’s head into the bowl.

As the kittens get used to lapping up the mixture, you can gradually remove the formula and add water to the canned food instead. Gradually reduce the amount of water added.

If you’re bottle feeding the kittens, don’t stop bottle feeding until the kittens eat sufficient amounts of the kitten food mixture. Aid the transition by always offering the canned food mixture before offering the bottle. After two to three weeks, the kittens should be eating only lightly moistened canned food.

Be prepared for things to be messy at first

As kittens learn to eat solid food, they may play with the mixture, step in it or bat it around before they understand that it’s food. Be patient, don’t punish the kittens, and don’t rush the process. Clean kittens with a soft, moistened cloth or give them a warm bath in extreme cases. Rub them dry with a soft towel and keep them in a warm area until they’re dry.

Why kittens shouldn’t eat dry food

Kittens who are fed dry food during the weaning process will be difficult to transition to a healthier wet diet later in life, so it’s best to not even start them on dry food. Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they need meat to survive, and they also need moisture in their diet. Cats lack the specific enzyme that processes plant-based proteins metabolically, and as a result, they need few to no carbohydrates in their diet. Commercial dry cat food is high in carbohydrates and does not provide optimal nutrition for an obligate carnivore. Cats do not have a strong thirst drive when compared to other animals, and this can lead to chronic low-level dehydration when the cat’s main diet is a dry one.

This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.