You may think that helping your mother cat care for her kittens after her pregnancy is useful, but in reality it is only necessary in certain situations. A majority of the time, if your mother cat sticks around, you will have minimal duties as an owner. Some of the following instances do require your helping hand:
Lack of Milk
If your kittens begin to cry, stop nursing, and/or stop moving about, chances are they are experiencing a lack of milk from their mother. When kittens are hungry their bellies tend to sink in and are not fully rounded. If you notice your kittens behaving this way, the first thing you should do is check and make sure the mother’s breasts are producing milk. You can check this by lightly squeezing the mother’s breast.
This is one of the most common causes of death among kittens and is linked to low birth weights and immature physiology. Due to the fact that kittens are so small, infections are common as a result of an immune system that has not fully developed. This can be easily avoided as long as the mother is healthy and raises her kittens in a clean, warm environment.
In order to ensure a healthy and successful weaning process for kittens, you must have patience. Begin the process by feeding your kitten a freshly made weaning mush 2-4 times a day. One way you can prepare this mush is by blending equal amounts of kitten growth food and water, occasionally kittens will refuse to eat this. If that is the case, try blending it with warm water, and for 1-2 days increase the proportion of water you’re feeding the kittens.
Then, begin feeding them 1 meal per day and gradually increase the number of meals up to 4 over a 3-4 week period.
Do not feed your kitten or cat baby food, pablum, milk, or other similar products. Feeding kittens milk is only acceptable if they refuse to eat the weaning mush. However, it should not be regular milk, but instead a milk replacer formula. Weaning is a very important process that occurs at the most critical stage of your kitten’s life.
Life without Mom
At the age of 4-6 weeks (no later than 6 weeks), your kitten must be vaccinated, checked for parasites and have a general health checkup. As long as you follow your veterinarian’s program for vaccinations, you have a better chance of avoiding feline panleukopenia (“distemper”), which is the highest cause of mortality at this age.
When a kitten is about 8-10 weeks old, their mother begins to encourage distance between the two of them. Then, once the kitten has reached the age of 3-4 months, their mother has very little to do with them.