One reason you may need to care for baby kittens is if you find them outside without their mom. It is important not to disturb nature, however. If you do find abandoned kitties keep an eye on them for a while before you take the kittens. Their mom may be close. Sometimes the mother cat will go out and look for food while leaving their kittens back in the den. When the kittens get old enough she will take them out and teach them how to hunt for their own food.
You shouldn't handle the kittens before their eyes open because it could cause infection. This is very common for outdoor cats. If an infection does occur, you will need prescription drops to clear up their eyes. Many cats can get very sick and death can occur if their eyes are not properly taken care of in a timely fashion.
The kittens will usually begin to open up their eyes by the time they are two weeks old. At this time, it is a good idea to handle them to get them used to people. If they are not around people too often they may become frightened and afraid when people get too close. Although this is a good quality to have if they are outdoor cats and need to run from harm, they won't be people animals by any means.
It is normal for kittens to nurse for 7-8 weeks. After that time they start to wean off their mother's milk and eat solid food. If you happen to find the kittens when they are under 6 weeks old you may need to nurse them with pet bottles. They do have special cat formula and nursing bottles you can use to keep the kitten healthy. It does take a lot of work and dedication, but being able to provide the kitten with quality life is a very important role. The kitten formula can be found at animal hospitals or shelters.
If you found the kittens even before their eyes have opened, it is important to keep them warmth. During the cold months you may need to find a heating pad so they can maintain their body temperature. Little kittens are just like human babies and they need to stay warm.
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Soon after 7 weeks old, the kitten will show an interest in eating solid foods. You can start by mushing up the solid food in water and feeding it to them this way. They may not know what to do with the food at first, but will slowly get the hang of it.
By the time the kittens are eight weeks they will become very curious. If you haven't already, during this week you will begin to find out that it is hard to contain these little kittens because they are getting very fast and they climb into everything. You will probably need a bigger tote if you still want to keep them confined. You can also use a pet or child gate. If you do use a gate, don't be surprised if they start to climb up the gate to escape as well. These kittens do quickly become quite the escape artists.
When it comes to litter training, cats are extremely smart. They are normally pretty clean animals compared to dogs. Once you show them where the litter box is they will begin to use it fairly quickly. Don't be surprised if they make a mess out of their litter. Since they are still kittens they still like to cause trouble. Eventually they will get the hang of it though. Make sure you always keep the litter in the same area so they don't get confused.
In the outdoor life, when the kittens get old and the mom teaches them how to hunt, she will then want to defend her own territory. She may kick a few of them out of the den as there just isn't room for everyone. It also is a lot of work to feed them all as they grow, so she wants to make sure they can care for themselves. Cats are very territorial and can get nasty towards other cats, even their own if they feel there is competition of food.
Many people will list kittens for sale, but since there is an overpopulation of them it is very hard to sell kittens unless they are a special breed. Taking care of kittens is a lot of work, but is definitely worth it in the end. It takes a very special and kind hearted person to rescue cats.