Over the shorthair kittens for sale near me, I have raised nine orphaned kittens. Four of them were two weeks old when their mother was killed; three others were only hours old when their mother died; two more kittens fell out of the nest in our barn when they were only a day old.
Raising motherless kittens is not a difficult process, but it does require patience, time and plenty of TLC.
Normally, a mother cat spends many hours a day in the nest with her kittens, which helps her babies stay warm. Keeping the kittens warm is important because if they’re not warm enough, they won’t want to eat, and in fact, all of their bodily functions will slow down.
To keep your orphaned kittens warm, make a nest in a small box and line it with towels or old t-shirts or sweatshirts to help the babies conserve their body heat. Put a towel over the box to keep out the light. Female cats choose nests that are dark. If you don’t have a heat lamp, use a small 40-watt desk lamp and place it several feet above the box to help keep the kittens warm.
If the box is big enough, you can also use a jug or another large container filled with hot water to keep the babies warm. Place the jug in the box and then make a nest with towels beside it. Refill the jug when it cools off. You can use a quart jar as a “hot water bottle” too except that a quart jar cools off very quickly.
2. Use an eyedropper or a syringe to feed the kittens.
The first time I raised orphaned kittens, I discovered that the small nursing bottles available at vet clinics were too big. The kittens couldn’t get their mouths around the nipples. So, at first, for newborn kittens, I used an eyedropper. As the kittens grew bigger, a syringe worked very well, the kind of syringe for giving injections (without the needle of course!). I started out with the 3 cc size and used larger syringes when the kittens grew bigger. The tip of a syringe is about the size of a cat’s nipple, and my kittens eventually sucked hard enough on the end of the syringe to draw the plunger down by themselves. Check with your vet clinic to see if any used syringes are available or to see if you can buy new syringes from the clinic.
A word of caution: Whether you’re feeding with an eyedropper or a syringe, be careful to give only a few drops at a time. My veterinarian told me that if the kittens were given too much formula at once (more than they could swallow), they might inhale it. Inhaling formula will make your kittens much more susceptible to pneumonia.
Along the way, I have also discovered that it is best to feed the kittens as much as they want to eat. They will settle down and sleep until the next feeding if they are getting enough to eat. Tiny kittens will start out taking maybe 1 CC at a time. As they grow bigger, they will eat around 12 CCs at a time (usually in several different helpings).
Kittens learn very quickly that food comes from the syringe you hold in your hand. If you are having trouble getting them to take the formula from the syringe, let nuzzle in the palm of your hand for a few seconds or let them suck on your fingers. Then introduce the syringe and let them suck on it while you very slowly press the plunger down.