In puppy cats, the period lasts until they are 6 weeks old during which their main diet is breast milk. Breast milk contains all nutrients that are essential for proper development and a well-functioning immune system. The mother kitten spends most of the days with its babies following the day of calving. In fortunate case, the mother kitten's milk is enough for the puppies. Otherwise, or if there are a large number of litter, it may be necessary to feed the kittens one to three times per day so that the little kittens' belly can be full.
If the mother cat does not nourish the baby enough, or maybe we find somewhere a hungry kitten, then we have to try to supply the little baby. In such cases, it is advisable to use a milk refiner (do not add cow's milk, as it may cause diarrhoea and dehydration). The younger the cat, the more often it has to be fed. Until two weeks of age, this requires day-to-day attention, since the kittens must be fed at two-hour intervals. This can be done from a bottle or a plastic syringe.
Before feeding, check the milk temperature. Be careful that it should not be too cold or too hot, so it is best to have body temperature (check this by dropping a few drops on your hands).
From 2 weeks of age, it is enough to feed them every 4-6 hours, then from 6 to 10 weeks age it is enough to feed them every 6-8 hours. After 4 weeks of age, we can start to use softer food. If we find that the kitten is not yet ready to eat from the solid food, it can be diluted with a little water or a milk substitute (for example, we can give them a dry feed with a bowl of cooked soup made for us). Over time, we can reduce the fluid and increase the amount of solid food.
Be sure to do the following:
- The little kitty should be eating prone, and not lying supine.
- Be careful not to overfeed it.
- After feeding, thoroughly wash the bottle or syringe with hot water.
- Mother cat is licking the belly and butt of the little baby after breast-feeding. We do not have to do this, just gently massage their belly, and then carefully wipe their butt with cotton wool or cloth wet with lukewarm water, until they poop.
- The puppies are unable to control their body temperature, so it is important to keep them warm. A temperature of 29 to 32 degrees must be provided to them. This can be solved e.g. with a warm water bottle that is placed under the bedding or with an infrared light and they can be covered as well (be careful not to heat over the little kittens' environment).
If your kitten is eating properly, but its weight suddenly increases or decreases, please contact your veterinarian.