Congratulations, you’re now a cat mum to lots of tiny, squeaky, helpless and hairless kittens. Hopefully, the birth all went swimmingly, but the fun has only just started. There are a few things to remember to guarantee the safety and health of all the new kittens and the mother cat, especially in the early days. While the birth process and afterbirth can usually be sorted by mum herself, there are a few things you need to get involved with.
Make sure they can nest in peace
For the first couple of days after the birth, it’s best not to interfere at all if possible. This is the time that mum cat needs to bond with her babies, and any intervention could cause her to reject one or all of her kittens. Unless there is a medical emergency, it’s best to leave them be. Put food, water, and litter nearby for mum to use when she needs it, but don’t enter her little nest unless you absolutely have to – she can leave the nest to get to the things she needs after all. Even if you provide the comfiest birthing site ever for her, she might have other ideas. Behind the sofa or under your bed are common choices. Don’t try to move her kittens, even if she births them in a really awkward place, for at least the first 48 hours, although preferably the first five days. Then you can relocate them to somewhere slightly more convenient.
Make sure mum has extra calories
Once mamma cat has given birth, she’s going to be breastfeeding a fair few hungry, growing kittens, so she needs to be well fed. Her milk is rich in fats and calories to help the kittens grow strong, and she needs to get these nutrients from her own food. Feeding her kitten food, rather than adult cat food, will help her get everything she needs as it’s far higher in calories.
Take them for their first vet trip
At around eight weeks your kittens will need their first trips to the vets for a checkup and vaccinations. You might want to consult a veterinarian about deworming as early as two weeks, though, especially if you have other cats. Make sure you choose a vet that you trust and can afford, such as Easipetcare, and one which is easily accessible – cats tend to find transit very stressful. If you’re planning on keeping some or all of the kittens, it’s a good idea to look into pet insurance early on for cheaper cover.
Think about their future homes
If you don’t plan on keeping all of the furry bundles of fun to yourself, you need to start considering your rehoming options early on. Contacting family and friends who might enjoy a new cat is a good place to start – at least then you can ensure they’re safe and well cared for. Otherwise, selling them via the internet or an agency is a common means, but don’t expect to fetch much money for them. The market is flooded with lovely baby kittens, so they don’t tend to command a high price.
This is a really exciting time, and as long as you follow these simple rules, you’ll have bouncing, troublesome bundles of joy in no time at all.