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Caring for an orphaned newborn kitten – preparing the nest box

Friday, December 28, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

There are occasions when a mother cat will abandon it’s kittens. Feral Cats live very tough lives. They struggle with brutal weather conditions, sometimes they are on the border of starvation and get diseases that house cats never have to deal with. This can cause the cat to abandoned it’s newborn kittens.

Kittens 1 – 14 days old haven’t opened their eyes yet. Their ears are folded over and closed.

Kittens 2- 3 weeks old have their eyes open and move around shakily.

If you are attempting to care for orphaned kittens, the first thing that you should do is prepare the nesting box. You don’t need an elaborate box. The box must be big enough for the kittens to be able to turn around but not much bigger. Line the box with crumpled kleenex tissue paper.

Before you place the kittens in the box, examine them closely for fleas. Pick off any fleas with an eyebrow tweezer and drop them in alcohol or vodka. These pests can quickly suck a kitten dry of blood. If you find many fleas and the kittens gums are pale, give the kitten a drop of pediatric vitamins with iron. This should be helpful.

Warmth is especially important in a kittens first 14 days of life because they have not yet developed the ability to control their body temperature.

Keep a heating pad on one side of the box. Make sure it’s set to the lowest setting. Wrap the heating pad with cloth towels so the inside of the box stays at 90 degrees. You don’t want it higher than 90. Many kittens die because of too much heat rather than the cold.   With the heating pad on onlyone side of the box the kittens can crawl away from the heat if they want to.

Place the box in a draft free location. Make sure that the sides of the box are at least six inches so the kittens cannot fall out.

Make sure that the area is safe from other pets and children. As the kittens mature, the temperature can be decreased to 70 – 75 degrees.

Next we will discuss feeding a new born kitten.

Remember, your pets count!


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