Orphan Kittens Care Tips

Orphan kittens care will be different than that of cats or kittens that have not been orphaned. Kittens can become orphaned when they become separated from the mother, who provides important things to a kitten for survival. A kitten's mother provides the young cat with nutrition, heat, security, socialization, immunity and other very important needs. A kitten may become orphaned when the mother is not in good health, has too many kittens to feed properly, or does not have enough milk to feed her kittens. When this happens, orphaned kittens must be taken in by someone who is willing to provide them with the proper care they need for survival. 

Why Kittens Need Their Mother

Ideally, kittens should never be separated from the mother before the age of 5 weeks. Unfortunately, certain circumstances make this impossible, as the mother cat may have died, become ill, have not enough milk, or reject her kittens. A mother's milk is the most nutritious food a kitten can receive, which also makes it important for young kittens to remain with their mother. Cats that are separated at a young age from the mother are also much more susceptible to disease and illness. 

When a kitten becomes orphaned, it is a good idea to look for a foster feline mother to take the place of the kitten's real mother. The best places to look for nursing foster mothers include shelters, veterinarian clinics and breeders. If you are unable to find a nursing feline to take the mother's place, then you must learn to care for the kitten on your own. 

Orphan Kitten Care Tips

If you decide to care for a kitten that is orphaned, expect to devote a considerable amount of time and care to the kitten. Young kittens are very fragile and susceptible to disease, and must be cared for properly to ensure survival. Unfortunately, sometimes very young kittens will not survive without the mother, even if you do provide the best care possible. 

Young orphaned kittens must be kept warm and away from cold. This may mean keeping the kitten near your body or covering it with clothing or blankets. It is not until the kitten reaches 5 weeks or so that she can be introduced to a lower room temperature. 

Feeding should be handled with care, and pet owners should always use a nursing bottle or eyedropper for feeding. When feeding the delicate kitten, set the kitten on his stomach and slowly put the nipple or dropper between the jaws. It is advised to hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle and to hold the bottle with a gentle pull. The formula should always be warmed to body temperature, never cold. Most kittens will need to be fed every few hours, and the amount fed will depend on the cat's age and weight. 

It is also advised that pet owners take the kitten to a veterinarian to examine the general health of the young cat. A veterinarian will also check for dehydration. 

Other Important Tips 

The following includes other important tips for caring for orphaned kittens:

  • Sterilize all feeding utensils before use
  • Never overfeed young kittens, as it can cause diarrhea 
  • Pet and stimulate the kitten regularly
  • Make sure the kitten does not have fleas
  • Gently rub the kittens stomach with a moist cotton ball to stimulate it