Last updated on December 12th, 2021
Dealing with newborn kittens is not easy. You have to learn to integrate them into your home and your schedule, while also considering the impact that they will have on other pets in the home. The most important thing to remember is that newborn kittens are fragile, and must be handled with care. These simple insights down below will help answer your most nagging questions.
Table of Contents
- What Should You Feed a Pregnant Cat?
- How Many Kittens are in a Cat’s First Litter?
- What to Feed a Cat That Just Had Kittens?
- When Should You Feed Your Cat?
- Why Do Mother Cats Keep Moving Their Kittens?
- Can You Pick up Newborn Kittens?
- When Do Newborn Kittens Start Walking
- When Do Newborn Kittens Open Their Eyes?
- How Often Should You Feed Kittens?
- How Long Does it Take For Cats to Accept a New Kitten?
- Do Cats Get Jealous of a New Kitten?
- Does a Mother Cat Love Her Kittens?
- Will a Mother Cat Abandon Her Kittens if You Touch Them?
- Will a Mother Cat Kill Her Kittens if You Touch Them?
- Can a Mother Cat Accidentally Kill Her Newborn Kitten?
- Will an Older Female Cat Accept a Kitten?
- Why Do Cats Hiss At New Kittens?
- Why are Mother Cats Not Staying With Their Newborn Kittens?
- Do Male Cats Know Their Kittens?
- What Does a Mother Cat Do With a Dead Kitten?
- Do Cats Eat Their Kitten’s Poop?
What Should You Feed a Pregnant Cat?
You will need to feed foods rich in protein to a pregnant cat and extra vitamins since they will need to eat more in the final stages of their pregnancy.
Since a pregnant mother cat cannot eat a full meal in one go as she was accustomed to, you will need to feed her smaller portions more frequently.
How Many Kittens are in a Cat’s First Litter?
The easiest way to tell how many kittens are in a cat’s first litter is to count the number of nipples on the mom’s teats.
Kittens have two nipples, so if you count the total number of nipples and divide by two, you’ll have the number of kittens in a cat’s first litter, however, a mother cat typically gives birth to between two to eight kittens in her first litter.
This number varies quite a bit, depending on the breed of cat and the age of the mother.
What to Feed a Cat That Just Had Kittens?
A mother cat that just gave birth to kittens should be fed wet and dry foods, specifically dry food that has been pressure cooked then dried and wet foods that are soft and packaged in airtight cans.
When Should You Feed Your Cat?
You should feed your cat dry foods in the morning and reserve the wet foods for the evenings.
Dry cat foods usually consist of antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, which can be very beneficial to your cat, and since wet foods are very tender and produce little resistance, it helps to keeps your cat’s teeth and gum healthy.
Why Do Mother Cats Keep Moving Their Kittens?
There are lots of reasons why a mother cat would move her kittens. She might be looking for a more comfortable place for them to rest, or she could just be putting them in a safer spot to sleep.
Moving is a pretty common practice for cats, especially if they give birth to kittens in an enclosed space (like an apartment or house), they will often move them to a more open area (like a balcony or backyard).
Can You Pick up Newborn Kittens?
Newborn kittens are very fragile which means that you shouldn’t pick them up, handle or touch them until they are two weeks old. Newborn kittens are blind, deaf, and completely dependent on their mother to take care of them during this period.
Mother cats are extremely protective of their kittens and will not hesitate to let you know that unless they feel safe around you. In general, be gentle with them and be aware of their mother.
Since newborn kittens have a sensitive immune system, they are more likely to contract infectious diseases when they come in contact with other animals or humans in the first two weeks.
When Do Newborn Kittens Start Walking
Newborn kittens start walking at around 3 – 4 weeks of age, they usually find their feet during this period and begin moving around, they also begin socializing, copying their mother’s use of the litter box, and being more active.
At four weeks of age, their tail is held erect like a balancing pole while they move about and explore.
When Do Newborn Kittens Open Their Eyes?
Newborn kittens will begin to open their eyes at around two weeks of age, however, you will not see the permanent color just yet and their vision will be imperfect during this period as well.
All kittens will have blue eyes for a few weeks until it gradually changes to the permanent color.
How Often Should You Feed Kittens?
Kittens require extra care and supervision and need to be fed up to four times a day in small portions.
How Long Does it Take For Cats to Accept a New Kitten?
Your older cat will take around 3 months to accept a new kitten and that would be when your cat becomes familiar with the scent of having a new cat around, so you will only have to pay close attention to them for a short while to ensure a fight doesn’t break out.
Do Cats Get Jealous of a New Kitten?
A new kitten has been adopted into your home. The resident cats are curious and interested in the new addition, but do they actually get jealous? The answer to that question is not clear-cut.
If your kitty grows up in a household with other cats or dogs, they may become more social since they are accustomed to having companions around.
On the other hand, older cats will become jealous of a new kitten because they grew up being the only cat with your family members, they may now feel threatened and try to harass or hurt the new addition to the family while also feeling resentful towards you.
Does a Mother Cat Love Her Kittens?
Mother cats love their kittens, and like all mothers, a cat’s love for her kittens is different from her love for her adult-cat friends. It’s also different than her love for her kittens when they’re older. As a rule of thumb, a mother cat’s love is something that kittens can count on.
While every cat parent is different, some of the more attentive mothers enjoy petting, cleaning, grooming, and even playing with their kittens.
Will a Mother Cat Abandon Her Kittens if You Touch Them?
A mother cat will not reject or abandon her kittens if you touch them since she is quite familiar with your scent and knows that she is cared for by you.
Also, when the kittens are old enough to start eating solid food, she may start to move them to a new location, but this is solely to teach the kittens how to hunt for food, not because she doesn’t want them anymore.
Will a Mother Cat Kill Her Kittens if You Touch Them?
A mother cat will not kill her kittens if you touch them, however, she can get protective to the point where she hisses when a stranger approaches her newborn kittens.
Can a Mother Cat Accidentally Kill Her Newborn Kitten?
A mother cat may accidentally kill her kittens if she is inexperienced and tries to move them to a new location while pushing them underneath a doorway.
Will an Older Female Cat Accept a Kitten?
Older female cats can be hesitant to accept a new kitten into the family, especially if the younger cat is active, energetic, and frisky.
The prospect of introducing a new kitten into a home with an existing adult cat can be nerve-wracking, but there are many ways to predict how your older cat will react.
First, consider where the kitten came from. If it was a stray kitten, she may be friendlier and more open to meeting new people than a kitten fostered by a shelter. The first meeting will still be stressful, so you should plan on supervising at least the first few confrontations between the cats.
Why Do Cats Hiss At New Kittens?
The easiest way to know why your cat hissed at the new kitten is because the two animals have very different scents.
You’re probably familiar with strong odors that come with the animal kingdom but you may not realize that the smell of another animal can make a cat feel like it’s being invaded.
Why are Mother Cats Not Staying With Their Newborn Kittens?
A mother cat won’t stay with her newborn kittens because she might be busy tending to her litter, and she also needs to eat.
A nursing mother needs to eat twice her usual amount of food every day to provide milk for her kittens. When a mother refuses to stay with her kittens, the cause is usually because of hunger or fear.
Do Male Cats Know Their Kittens?
The best way to know if your male cat knows his kittens is to see how he interacts with them. If your male cat is constantly sniffing at the kitten, but not making any attempts to get them to nurse, he is not the father. On the other hand, if he is constantly sniffing them, and nudging them to nurse, he knows they are his kitties.
While most cat owners are aware that male cats don’t have a biological urge to care for their kittens, they don’t think much about the “fatherhood” experience for the cat.
Male cats can indeed be caring and gentle, but caring for kittens requires a lot of effort, and male cats still want their independence, and they’ll resent their kittens for what feels like a loss of freedom.
What Does a Mother Cat Do With a Dead Kitten?
A mother cat who now has her first litter will bring her dead kitten to a family member that she feels safe with, however, other mother cats who are experienced in having kittens will clean the dead kitten and then bury it in the ground (mostly in your backyard).
Do Cats Eat Their Kitten’s Poop?
A mother cat will normally eat her kitten’s poop after she has nursed them because a kitten cannot remove the waste on its own so this action will stimulate its bowel movements to eliminate urine and poop.
Another reason why a mother will eat her kitten’s waste is that she doesn’t want to leave the scent of her newborns out for predators to smell if she birthed them in the wild.
Recommended reading, here’s part two to this article titled 19 things every cat owner should know about newborn kittens.