Essentials to Have When Fostering Newborn Kittens
If you’ve suddenly gotten into a situation where you’ll have to foster a kitten, or are already volunteering, that’s great! You may be nervous, especially if it’s your first time, but no matter what, what you’re doing is amazing. With that, you’ll need to know the essentials to have when fostering newborn kittens.
Thinking about it, fostering kittens is a big and challenging task. And depending on the reason why these kitties were orphaned, fostering can be extremely challenging to achieve.
Knowing what supplies and necessities you’d need to do things right, can be a great advantage while fostering the kittens.
With that, here are a couple of essentials to have when fostering newborn kittens.
A Warm and Safe Area
The newborn kittens need to stay in a small area in your bedroom. This space will allow you to have easier access to them even during late hours in the night.
When cleaning, ensure to remove any hazards that may be dangerous to the newborn kittens. Make sure that you place them in an area that won’t have any belongings falling on them.
Keep them in a corner that’s warm and comfy. If possible, don’t place them next to tables or edges where things could fall on them accidentally.
You can also consider placing the newborns in a mesh playpen for pets.
Quiet, Cozy, and Comfy
A quiet and small area that’s away from other animals and people will help keep your newborns relaxed. This area will also keep them safe and comfortable.
When they settle in, they can keep warm. One of the essentials to have when fostering newborn kittens is warm blankets to prevent their temperature from dropping. These are newborns, and they need the warmth of their mother.
Since the mother isn’t present, then you will have to ensure that they’re kept warm at all times.
Blankets for Warmth
To keep your newborn kittens warm, you’ll need to choose comfy and cozy blankets. The blankets should make the kittens feel like they’re snuggling against their mother.
In addition, you need to make sure to change the blankets every couple of days so everything remains clean.
For kittens, especially newborns, having a heat source is essential. You dont want the temperature of their body dropping.
There are special heating pads designed specifically for kittens that can be heated in the microwave. You can also put little fuzzy stuffed animals next to the newborns for added comfort.
Newborn kittens should stay in a carrier, an open box, or in a pet-safe heat pad that’s on low settings. It must be covered with a soft and clean fabric until the kitten reaches up to 3 to 4 weeks old.
If you can get heated beds or heating pads specifically for pets, it’d be much better than human’s heating pads. It’s because the latter can get too hot even when it’s set to low. Additionally, pets’ heating pads can be purchased in almost all pet shops around.
When you don’t have access to pet heating pads and can only use the ones for humans, that’ll still work. Just remember to adjust the pad to the lowest setting, then cover it with multiple layers of soft clean fabric. Doing this will prevent the kitten from overheating.
Make sure that there’s some space in the box/carrier that’s heating-pad-free.
Kitten Formula (Milk)
Kittens without their mother will need to be fed with kitten formula until they’re four weeks old. Don’t give cow’s milk or any other milk to a kitten since it’s dangerous to their health.
Kitten formula is one of the essentials to have when fostering newborn kittens. It’s a nutritionally balanced milk replacer that provides them with their nutritional needs when the queen’s milk isn’t available.
Kitten milk formula contains the vitamins and essential amino acids that aid in the growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues. Those with lower lactose levels make it easier for kittens to tolerate and reduce vomiting, gastrointestinal irritation, and diarrhea.
Not only that, but it contains more protein, fat, carbohydrates, and energy, making it excellent for rejected and orphaned kittens.
Nursing Bottles or Droppers for Feeding
To feed your foster kittens, you will need small feeding bottles. You’ll also use these to store pre-mixed kitten formula.
Nursing bottles designed for kittens are smaller than regular baby bottles for infants. These are also available in most pet stores.
However, if the newborn kittens you’re fostering are premature, you will need to use a dropper to feed them.
Soft Cloth or Cotton Balls
Essentials to have when fostering newborn kittens are cotton balls and/or soft cloth to help them eliminate. It’s because kittens under two weeks of age cannot urinate or defecate without stimulation.
To do this, you will first need to moisten the cotton ball or soft cloth. Use this to gently rub the kittens’ genitals and anus to encourage them to eliminate.
Helping them eliminate should be done each time before and after nursing. For defecating, this should be at least once a day or every 2-3 days.
Pet-Safe Cleaning Supplies
Of course, cleaning supplies are essentials to have when fostering newborn kittens. You’ll be using these to clean their area since everything needs to be extra clean at all times.
When choosing laundry detergent and other cleaning agents, see to it that these are cruelty-free. Also, these items shouldn’t contain ingredients that are dangerous to your pets’ health.
If everything goes well and the kittens reach the age of weaning, you can start introducing them to cat food.
Kittens wean at different ages, but they often start by the 5th week. However, they aren’t completely weaned off mother’s milk or kitten formula. They will only start eating solid food only when they’re 8-10 weeks old.
A kitten’s stomach size is small, so it’s necessary to feed them small meals four times per day.
Some pet experts argue that cat food doesn’t have life stages. It’s because kittens would eat the same food that adult cats consume. When choosing food for your foster kittens, be sure that it provides the necessary nutrients.