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Orphaned Albuquerque Kittens: Shots and Care

Many people shy away from caring for orphaned kittens. It’s not the easiest task in the world, but it’s also not as complicated as you think. Not only is it rewarding, but you’ll be helping a kitten get the best start to her life.

At Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque, we’re more than just kitten shots. We want to give you some insights about how to best care for your orphaned kitten.

First Stop: Your Vet

Since kittens have different needs as they grow up, it’s essential to determine their age and health condition. Your veterinarian can help you figure this out. Your vet is the perfect source of guidance and advice for raising your kitten.

Never be hesitant to ask your veterinarian questions about kitten care.

Home Environment

Newborn kittens need warm, quiet environments. Place clean and dry bedding in a small box or crate. Change the bedding frequently to ensure your kitten has a clean environment.

Place the box away from drafts and vents. You can use a heating pad if you think the surrounding air is too cool, but make sure your kitten doesn’t become overheated or burned. 

Never place a kitten directly on a heating pad, or leave kittens unsupervised with a heating pad. Aim for a temperature of 85-90 degrees. Be sure to monitor the surrounding air temperature constantly with a thermometer you can buy inexpensively at a home supply store.

After your kitten reaches 2 weeks, she’ll be better at regulating her own body temperature, and monitoring the surrounding air won’t be as critical.

Feeding

Very young kittens will need a milk replacer product and feeding devices such as small syringes or nursing bottles. Many veterinarians and pet stores offer these supplies. Follow the instructions on the milk replacer regarding mixing and storage. 

Never feed a kitten cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Kittens cannot digest these products and they can cause diarrhea and dehydration.

Make sure your kitten is warm before you start feeding. Cold kittens may not want to eat, and their digestion will also be slowed down.

Slightly warm the milk replacer in a warm water bath to reach approximately 100 degrees. Don’t use the microwave to heat the milk replacer. Test the temperature of the liquid by placing a drop or two on your wrist to judge if it feels too hot or too cold to you.

Initially, your kitten may only consume a few cc’s of milk replacer. Due to this, you’ll need to feed your kitten every 2 hours until she begins to eat more at each meal. When she does, gradually increase the times between feedings.

Be careful not to over- or under-feed your kitten. A good calculation table can be found at Maddiesfund.org.

Weigh your kitten before each feeding. Make a chart of her weight and the amount she eats every day – don’t guess! Contact your veterinarian if she fails to gain weight.

If your kitten doesn’t eat for 2 successive sessions, contact your veterinarian. 

At around 3 weeks, you can introduce your kitten to watered-down, meat-based, canned food. Add water to kitten food until it’s a soupy texture. Offer a little bit at a time, and ensure it doesn’t sit out too long.

Slowly add a little less water as time passes, and when your kitten becomes comfortable eating canned food without it being watered down, you can also begin offering kitten kibble (dry food).

Urinating and Defecating

If your kitten is younger than 3 weeks, you’ll need to help her urinate and defecate. Using a warm, wet paper towel or cotton ball, gently massage the urinary and anal openings.

This stimulation should cause an immediate response. Once your kitten is done urinating and defecating, pat the area dry but don’t rub. Rubbing can cause irritation. Do this after every meal.

Once your kitten becomes more mobile, create a small litterbox with low sides and a small amount of litter. At around 3 weeks, many kittens will begin to urinate and defecate on their own.

Follow-Up Exams

Your veterinarian will establish times for follow-up visits to perform examinations, conduct blood and fecal testing, and begin kitten shots.

Never hesitate to call your veterinarian if your kitten experiences issues before their next appointment. Medical or care issues can turn into an emergency quickly with very young kittens.

  • Not eating or drinking
  • Not active
  • Constantly itching, scratching, and licking
  • Eye discharge
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Where to Go for Care and Kitten Shots in Albuquerque

At Petroglyph Animal Hospital, we love helping kittens become happy and vibrant cats. We offer our Albuquerque kittens shots, exams, spays and neuters, and everything in between.

Found an orphaned kitten? Contact us today, and we’ll help you give your kitten the best chance at life.