The absolute best place for newborn kittens to be is with their mothers. They need valuable antibodies from her colostrum and need her constant licking and care. Sometimes newborn kittens are separated from their mothers and need to be raised by humans. Although this isn’t ideal, you can still raise healthy newborn kittens by hand.
Our world was turned upside down by a newborn kitten named Ricky Bobby. Our dog Shamrock, a huge German Shepard, brought a newborn kitten home in her mouth. She gently carried this brand new kitty and gently laid it down in front of us. Shamrock had always loved cats, but this was truly amazing. She was a kitten rescue dog!
Ricky Bobby still had his little umbilical cord and couldn’t have been more than a day old. We searched high and low for his momma, but never could find her. We decided that we were going to have to try and raise this newborn kitten on our own. We knew he had a very slight chance of survival, but we wanted to give him the best possible shot at a normal, healthy life.
Newborn kittens really need colostrum from their mothers, and although there are supplements you can buy, nothing beats that milk they get in the first 24 hours of life. Of course, we had no idea if Ricky Bobby had received his colostrum. We instantly made a homemade formula for him and then went and purchased some high quality commercially made formula as soon as we had the chance. It is important to get really good quality formula to give your kitten the best nutrition. Never give plain cow’s milk as it gives kitten’s diarrhea because they cannot digest it well.
Ricky had his good days and bad days. Some days he wouldn’t eat or eliminate well and would be very shaky. There were plenty of days when we didn’t think the little guy would make it through. We fed him round the clock and took him everywhere we went. He couldn’t be left alone for even an hour or so at the beginning.
We did everything we could to keep him warm and safe. Newborn kittens are very fragile and need constant care and attention. We fed him often and constantly stroked him and cuddled him. Raising a newborn kitten alone, without littermates is difficult. Newborn kittens with littermates will pile on top of each other for warmth and support. They feel safer having littermates near them, as they can feel their heartbeats and they know their smell. A newborn kitten that is alone needs extra care and attention from a human to simulate a mother or littermate.
Ricky Bobby made it through and is very affectionate. He came down with an inner ear infection at one point, that makes him walk with his head crooked. He looks and acts quite comical, but he is healthy and happy. Since he was hand raised he is very social. He has a very outgoing personality.
Raising newborn kittens can be tough. With a little information and persistence you can hand raise a healthy, happy cat.