Sunday, August 10, 2014

Observations On Newborn #Kittens, The First Twelve Days by Karen Rose Smith

Taking in a stray and caring for her during her pregnancy and delivery has been quite an experience!  I feel like a new mom again.  You can read about the birth of Halo's kittens here.

The Birth of Halo's Kittens

The kittens will be two weeks old this week.  Momma Halo is taking wonderful care of them.  They come first for her.  Because of digestive problems of her own, we feed Halo every two hours until 10 p.m.  My husband or I get up to feed her at 5 a.m. She only left the nesting bin (an under-the-bed storage bin) to use the litter box the first week.  Now and then when we come into the room (we have them secluded in my office because we have 3 other cats), she will be laying outside the bin when the babies are sleeping.  Sometimes she doesn't finish eating if one of the babies calls her, and we feed her in the bin.

The first week we weighed the babies every day to make sure they were gaining weight.  On day 12 first born weighs 9.5 ounces (he had trouble latching on at first), 2nd born weighs 10.1 ounces, 3rd born weighs 10.2 ounces.  They have all doubled their birth weight.  I'm using receiving blankets in the nesting bin because they are flat and soft and the kittens claws won't get caught in them. We had one episode where Halo tried to move the kittens because we used a Chlorox wipe in her vicinity.  When the babies are born, they are deaf and blind and all momma and kittens have is their sense of smell to guide them to each other.  We arranged a bigger bin across the room and fortunately Halo took to it, accepting her babies there.  For this reason, we change the receiving blanket every other day.  Before we do, we make sure her scent is on it.

The first week we kept the room at 79-80 degrees and they all seemed comfortable.  The kittens body temperature can't regulate itself.  From what I've read, that starts at about 2 weeks.  After this second week, we'll begin lowering the temperature to around 75 degrees.

Days 2-3 Umbilical cord                     fell off

Days 1-9  Ate, slept and                      gained weight

Days 9-10  Eyes began to                                                 open

Days 11-12 Trying to walk on wobbly legs and getting around                         the bin better
                    Laying in a pinwheel rather than a heap and                                 showing their own personalities   
Day 12  More aware of their siblings
              First attempts at washing themselves
              They lay apart sometimes instead of in a heap for                         warmth

We've been fortunate that Halo is such a good Momma.  Because of her digestive issues, I was concerned the babies wouldn't thrive.  I poach chicken breast for her every day, grind it up with rice and mix in broth. When we feed her, we also mix in a little pumpkin and kitten food.  We adjust the kitten food according to how she reacts each day.  I'm so pleased the kittens have gained so well.  They don't cry between feedings unless she has stepped out of the bin and they miss her and get hungry.

This experience is one I'll cherish.  We're hoping to find forever loving homes for the kittens when they're about 12 weeks old.  Yes, I'm already attached.  But we'll take each day as it comes and watch them grow in Halo's protective care.  I'll post another blog in about another week so my readers can see how they've grown.

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©2014 Karen Rose Smith

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Deborah Blake said...

I've had such a great time watching the progress of these kittens. It's the next best thing to being there. I adore that one with the flash on his/her face--it looks like fire. And that adorable pink nose and round belly on the other kitty!

I'm so glad that the little family is doing so well. (And that I live far enough away not to be tempted to drive up and adopt a kitty...)

KRS said...

And I wish you lived closer! I have an old friend who is thinking about adopting Mayzie. We're going to talk later this week.

KRS said...
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