Ellie Mae Barn Cat is the matriarch of the barn. She is now a dowager queen cat of the barn and is not having kittens. The human who runs the barn had her fixed thru the feral cat program at her local humane society and she is very happy to offer her advice to mother cats who have made the barn their home. Ellie Mae acknowledges that there are more kittens than homes for them and urges all female cats to keep their figures by having their people take them to be spayed.
iYou are expecting kittens. How exciting! Raising kittens can be a highly rewarding and enjoyable experience. What should you expect? What will you need to make sure my little tikes grow up happy, healthy and strong?
Let’s start from day one. Most likely, you walk in and find me already nursing my new litter. As there will be a bit of a mess where I am, you will want to move me and my kittens somewhere clean and safe. We prefer a darkened den, so putting a blanket over my box and lining it with nice clean bedding will do nicely for a nursery. The nursery should be set up in a quiet area, away from traffic. Too much noise and light can upset me and I may try to move my kittens if I don’t feel they are safe. A sad fact is that sometimes there are one or two dead kittens born along with the live ones. Remove them immediately along with the rest of the birthing mess. I will be unlikely to show any interest in them.
For the first few days, I will be constantly with my kittens. They need warmth and frequent feedings at this time which doesn’t leave much time for socializing. By the time they are approximately a week old their need for very warm temperatures will begin to reduce. I will begin to leave them alone for longer and longer periods. They will begin to huddle up together for warmth. If you peek into the nursery and find a ball of kittens sleeping peacefully, rest assured they are doing just fine. My kittens will sleep nearly all the time for their first two weeks. If my kittens are crying constantly then they are ill or not getting enough milk. Call your vet immediately. Ill or starving kittens can die very quickly without your help.
Assuming that my kittens and I are all healthy and content, you will need to do very little during the first month. The kittens’ care will rest primarily in their my capable paws. Normally, kitten eyes will open in seven to fourteen days. If they stay shut for longer than that call your vet. Kittens often get a mild eye infection. The infection results in the eyelids being gummed shut. A cotton ball that has been moistened with warm water should be all you’ll need to open the eyes again. If one of my kittens gets this eye infection keep a close on her. The infection could build up behind those glued shut eyelids and damage the eyeball. The infection usually clears up by itself in a few days. If it turns particularly severe, take my kitten to your vet.
At about one month of age, my kittens should toddle around pretty well and will want to start eating solid food. You may find one of your little tikes standing in my food dish trying out the food. You will want to put down a plate of good quality kitten food for them to nibble on. Kitten food is formulated specifically for the needs of my growing kittens, where my food is not. Poor nutrition, while my kittens are growing, could result in health issues when they become adults. The trick will be keeping me out of the kitten food. Most of us find kitten food absolutely delicious.
The first planned visit to the veterinarian for vaccinations should come at about two months of age. By about 3 months of age, my kittens should pretty independent and ready to move to their new home if you are planning to sell or give them away. As far as I’m concerned, being healthy, as well as my litter, these guidelines should serve you well. If there are any issues, rely on your vet to let you know the best thing to do in any situation. Enjoy my kittens while they are with you. They grow up so amazingly fast!