Monday, 7 November 2011

Orphaned kittens

Kittens require a high-calorie diet that contains more protein than the diet of adult cats. Young orphaned kittens require milk every two to four hours, and they need physical stimulation to defecate and urinate. Cat milk replacement is manufactured to feed to young kittens, because cow's milk does not provide all of their necessary nutrients.

Hand-reared kittens tend to be affectionate to humans as adults and more dependent on them than those reared by their mothers, but they can also show volatile mood swings and aggression. Orphaned kittens can be severely underweight and as such can have health problems later in life, such as heart conditions. The compromised immune system of orphaned kittens (from lack of antibodies found naturally in the mother's milk) can make them especially susceptible to infections, making antibiotics a necessity when caring for such kittens.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Kitten - Birth and development

A feline litter usually consists of two to five kittens. The kits are born after a gestation that lasts between 64 and 67 days, with an average length of 66 days. Kittens emerge in a sac called the amnion which is bitten off and eaten by the mother cat.

For the first several weeks, kittens are unable to urinate or defecate without being stimulated by their mother.  They are also unable to regulate their body temperature for the first three weeks, so kittens born in temperatures less than 27°C (80 °F) can die from exposure if they are not kept warm by their mother.

The mother's milk is very important for the kittens' nutrition and proper growth. This milk transfers antibodies to the kittens, which helps protect them against infectious disease. Newborn kittens are also unable to produce concentrated urine, and so have a very high requirement for fluids.

Kittens open their eyes about seven to ten days after birth. At first, the retina is poorly developed and vision is poor. Kittens are not able to see as well as adult cats until about ten weeks after birth.