Any pet’s health is important, but those who are new to the world may need extra care and attention in order to stay safe and healthy. If your cat has recently had kittens, you are a second mother to these new little additions to the family. It is crucial to make sure that you are providing the best living environment possible for the kittens as they grow during their first few weeks of life.
During the first few days of a litter’s life, your mother cat will spend most of her time lying with the kittens. This is a natural instinct. You should move the food and water to be very close to where the kittens are so that the mother does not have to move far to find nourishment. Check mom a few times a day to make sure that she is producing milk properly. If the mother does not stay with her kittens, something may be wrong. First-time mothers are especially prone to bouts of anxiousness. When a mother is worried about her kittens, she may move them t hide them form everyone and everything, even you. If she feels very threatened, she may kill her kittens as a form of protecting them. If you see your mother cat exhibiting anxious qualities, monitor her activity with the kittens closely and consider keeping her caged.
Kittens need a very warm temperature to survive. If the mother does not stay with the kittens, you may need to supply heat from an outside source, like a heat lamp. Large litters will typically stay warmer, using body heat. Make sure that the box where the newborn kittens are staying is about 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit for at least the first week of life. However, mothers may feel as through their kittens are in danger if there is too much light. You can calm an anxious mother by placing a blanket loosely over the top of the box.
Don’t be alarmed if the kittens are not moving around much at first. Newborn kittens sleep and eat 90% of the time for the first two weeks of life. Crying is common if the mother leaves for any amount of time, but if the kittens cry excessively, it may signal that they are not getting enough to eat or they are sick. Call your vet if this occurs. You can also call your vet for special instructions if there are more than 5 kittens in the litter, which may mean that the mother cannot supply enough milk. In general, it is simply best to talk to your vet about what to expect with your new kittens.