Proactive Care for New Kittens Under 12 weeks
Kittens under 12 weeks of age may need some extra-special care and attention to grow into healthy, active adults. A solid start with excellent care and some preventive action can start your pet on the road to a lifetime of good health and rewarding companionship.
Ideally, kittens should remain with their mother until eight weeks of age. However, sometimes a kitten needs a new home before that time. Here are some tips to help you nurture your new family member or foster baby.
All pets require a warm, dry place to sleep and hang out. This is especially crucial for very young pets—it can even mean the difference between life and death. Very young kittens have little body fat, so they may not be stimulated to shiver or may simply be unable to shiver enough to keep themselves warm. Kittens have to be warm to properly digest their food.
Keep an area of the kittens living quarters at 100°F so that he can seek out warmth if needed.
Kittens thrive best on their mother’s milk, but there are times when the mother doesn’t produce enough milk or is unable to produce any milk. If you are faced with fostering kittens under four or five weeks of age, you must provide formula.
Most homemade recipes are not balanced or complete. The best choice is a highly digestible formula designed specifically for puppies, like Bio Spot Active Care™ Just Born® Milk Replacers. The addition of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) to the formulas supports brain and eye development.
Older, orphaned kittens who are being weaned onto solid food will also benefit from a species-specific formula mixed in with their new food for the first few days.
Pediatrics for Pets
Just like human babies need their “well-baby” visits, so does your new animal family member. If your kitten came from a responsible breeder, good-quality rescue, or topnotch shelter, he will have had his first veterinary examination and usually a first set of vaccines. If not, you must schedule a visit. Your veterinarian will check your kitten from nose to tail. She will listen carefully for heart murmurs, check the eyes and ears for discharge, and take his temperature. She will also inspect a fecal sample for internal parasites.
Kittens require at least two sets of vaccinations to cover their switch from maternal antibodies to their own. Depending on your location, your veterinarian will also discuss the need for flea and tick preventives, such as one of the Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick products for cats. Bio Spot Active Care™ topicals can be used on kittens who are 12 weeks of age or older.
Kittens require socialization, or exposure to different people, animals, and places, to help them become wonderful family companions. The first critical time is generally thought of as 4 to 12 weeks of age. During this period, your kitten should have plenty of positive exposures to new people and animals. Provide him with support and backup, and remove him from a situation if he seems overwhelmed.
Adding a young kitten to your family is a momentous, fun-filled event. With a little time and preparation now, your pet will settle in and become a beloved member of your household.
Bio Spot Active Care and Just Born are trademarks of Farnam Companies, Inc.