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There are a few simple facts here at Cole & Marmalade: our love for cats is as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon. Maybe even wider and deeper. If you love cats as much as we do then we’re pretty sure you can’t resist kittens — those tiny toe beans and boop-y noses and squishy little ears. We love the sweet ways these amazing little balls of cuteness purr when we hold them. They are everything that’s good in the world and that’s exactly why we love them and do as much as we can to make sure they lead healthy happy lives. That’s especially true for neonates that have lost their mothers. These babies are completely helpless and need kind and caring humans to care for them.

Kitten Facts To Help You And Your Furbaby:

  • Starting when they are just 24 to 48 hours old, kittens will receive a life-affirming gift from their mother — colostrum. This contains vitally important antibodies to help little ones fight off deadly diseases. Dr. Aimee Simpson, medical director of the VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia notes:

“Without colostrum, kittens will not develop a healthy immune system and will be susceptible to infection. If neonates cannot nurse from the mother, we can give them subcutaneous (under the skin) injections of serum from a healthy, vaccinated adult cat to boost immunity.”

 Keep Kittens Warm — But Not Too Warm

  • These tiny babies can’t regulate their body temperature, and Simpson notes a heating pad can be used, but there’s a caveat:

“It’s important to provide them with room to crawl away from the heat source to prevent overheating and thermal burns.”

Photo: Cole and Marmalade; Snuggling up to a stuffed animal with stimulated heartbeat on top of heating pad

Facts About Feeding:

If you’ve found orphaned kittens and they are very young (four weeks old or less) they will definitely be too young for solid food, whether it’s canned or dry. That means you’ll likely need kitten milk replacer and this blog by The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has useful information on what you’ll need. Just be sure that any powdered formula you purchase isn’t rancid. If it has a lightly sweet smell like powdered milk, then it’s fresh. If it smells like bad cooking oil, cheese, or chemicals then it’s rancid and should be thrown out. Be sure to also check the expiration date. Likewise, if it’s past that date, toss it. Once you open the formula, make sure to keep it refrigerated afterward to keep it fresh.

Bottle-Feeding Your Baby:

Kittens need to eat every two or three hours. If you are bottle feeding these babies, their little stomachs should be facing down (not lying on their backs). This simulates a natural nursing position and decreases the risk of a kitten aspirating its food, Simpson said.

Photo Cole and Marmalade – JessiCAT bottle feeding foster babies

If a kitten isn’t fed often enough, it may develop low blood sugar, something that can be life-threatening. That’s according to Dr. Renee Rucinsky, a board-certified feline specialist at the Mid Atlantic Cat Hospital in Queenstown, Maryland. Hypoglycemia can be a huge concern, especially when it comes to orphaned kittens.

Vaccination Facts You Need To Know:

  • Kittens, just like human children, need vaccines if they are to grow up healthy and immune to deadly diseases, according to Newsweek.

“All kittens should receive a course of two primary vaccinations at around 9 and 12 weeks, this coincides with their immunity from their mother’s milk falling,” said Rosemary Fisher, director of the Governing Council of The Cat Fancy, Great Britain’s leading registration agency for cats.

“Kittens need protection against diseases common to cats and since they are new to this world they are vulnerable to picking up diseases and parasites. The main three vaccinations a kitten needs to get are: cat flu, Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV), and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).” said feline behaviorist Anita Kelsey, who is also the author of Let’s Talk About Cats. 

Cats are so beautiful; they are a blessing and give us so much. Rocketing around the house all wild and crazy, they are the comedy in our day and our comfort when we come home world-weary. Someone to keep us company at the end of the day. These few simple facts can help ensure our feline friends are with us for years to come.

Photo property of Cole and Marmalade

 

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