Congratulations! Your cat is now a mumma! We get the mixed feelings you’re experiencing. There is joy, fear, confusion right now and lots of exhaustion on the way. But there are ways to make this experience easier, for you and your queen.
First- Call your vet
After a week of delivering the kittens, call your vet for a checkup just to make sure that the mother and her kittens are doing well. If your cat is not vaccinated, now is a good time to get it done. Your vet will also make sure that there are no infections and give you specific tips on taking care of your mumma cat and her kittens.
Give the mumma cat and her kittens their space
Set the mumma cat and her babies in a room that is quiet, warm and private. A spare bedroom, bathroom, a big cage with blankets, warm closets (open and ventilated) are some places that you can keep them in. Make sure the mumma cat has enough space to stretch. The place needs to be dry and warm at all times because newborn kittens can catch a cold pretty easily as they are unable to regulate their body temperature. If the mother cat is your pet and familiar with you, she might not mind having you around her babies, but if you’re fostering a stray, the mother may be weary about your presence, the point is to give them their space when they need it.
Facts About Nursing
Did you know that a nursing session could last up to 20 minutes? Kittens usually nurse from 40 to 60 days, sometimes more. The amount of milk the mother cat produces depends on the number of kittens she has. The most important thing to remember is that- kittens themselves decide when to stop nursing, so never force them away from the mother or stop the mother when she pushes her kittens away. Such enforcing behavior can lead to behavioral issues in the cats.
What should the mumma eat
A mother cat needs twice, sometimes thrice the amount of nutrition she usually gets. It is extremely vital to provide the right food at this stage to avoid any severe health conditions in the future. A high protein meal should be provided to the mother cat 4-5 times a day. Food made especially for nursing cats is available in the market, you need to give her the best quality of wet and dry food. A good intake is extremely important. You can also give her supplements for vitamin c, magnesium and KMR (kitten milk replacement) along with her food. Make sure she always has a bowl of fresh water. You can also give her chicken soup, chicken broth, meat broth and other liquid foods to keep her hydrated.
Keep their bed and sheets clean
The towels, blankets and sheets you use will get soiled in time, so it’s important to replace them with fresh ones regularly, especially in the first few weeks. Tip- lay several layers of towels on top of each other on the bed, this way you can remove the soiled towel from the top and have a fresh one underneath.
Flea control is important
Kittens are prone to getting flea anemia, so its really important to keep the mother cat and the bedding area tick and flea-free. Use flea products that are organic. Organic flea products are the safest bet because there is a high chance of the kitten licking the mother, if chemical products are ingested by kittens, it can result in poisoning. You can bathe the kittens (only after 8 weeks of age) use a kitten friendly shampoo for this. Make sure you keep the kittens warm and dry after giving them a bath.
Use a non-clumping clay litter
The kittens won’t use the litter box until they are 4 weeks old, until then, the mumma will lick them clean. Clumping clay litter works by turning into clay the minute it gets wet. This is extremely dangerous for kittens because if they ingest this, the litter can clump inside their intestines, so make sure you use a non-clumping clay for their litter. Also, do not move the litter box, keep it in a fixed place and away from the food and water bowl.
Keep a check on their growth
You should monitor the cat and her kittens closely especially during the first few weeks just to make sure they are growing well. If something seems off, call your vet immediately. Test the mumma cat for FeLV and FIV as this will let you know if the kittens have these conditions too. Everyone should be dewormed for roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms and vaccinated.
Kittens should have their first vaccination when they are 9 weeks old and they should get dewormed at 2, 4 and 6 weeks of age. Check with your vet to book an appointment for the same or you can call a vet home to make things easier for the mumma cat and her kittens.
Handle the kittens early to make them social
Its a common myth that a cat might leave her kittens if you touch them, this is not true. The mumma cat may not allow you to or maybe get panicky when it comes to you touching her kittens but handling them and playing with them from an early age will familiarize them with the human touch and they will grow up to be social with other humans. Always wash your hands before and after handling the kittens. However, do not handle the kittens forcefully if the Mumma cat isn’t allowing it.
Health issues to look out for
Intestinal parasites are common in kittens, you can get them dewormed once they're 2 weeks old. Fading kitten syndrome is one when a kitten is too weak to thrive. If you notice a kitten is more lethargic or is sleeping more than the siblings, call your vet immediately.
If you notice unusually swollen or bruised teats, restlessness, tremors, excessive panting, foul smelling discharge, you need to call your vet immediately, these could be the signs of an infection or a severe health condition.
Mumma cats can be spayed once the kittens are 5 weeks old, by this time the kittens can eat and go to the bathroom by themselves. If you do not wish to get your cat spayed, you should wait for at least a period of 3 months before your cat can give birth again. Kittens can be easily spayed or neutered when they are 4-5 months old. Spaying and neutering is always recommended as they have numerous benefits.
We hope this helps you in taking care of your cat and her kittens! You should also check out the pet medical emergency kit to be ready for all kinds of situations. If you have any questions, call us on +91 84316 20000 and our vets will assist you!