Caring for Newborn Kittens?

My beautiful, but young, cat named Dinah just gave birth to 5 equally beautiful kittens this morning. Dinah was a stray that my boyfriend and I accepted in our home in October, and weren't very surprised to learn of her pregnancy.


Anyway, I know at this point, none of them can see, hear, or smell, so I've been worried about them finding the nipples to feed. Even when I get them to the nipple, they turn away and whine. They have been eating, some more than others.

I guess I'm just wondering if this is normal, and also nervous that if it comes time for me to feed them, I won't know exactly when to do so. Please help. Thank you.

By Sarah from NY

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November 26, 20090 found this helpful

Good Morning,
How wonderful for that cat that you and your boyfriend are helping her. I worked for may years as a vet assistant, so my advice comes with knowledge you can trust. This may sound simplistic to you but the best thing for the next week is to just leave mom and babies alone. They know what they are doing and will find the way to the teeth. The best thing is to make sure mom feels safe and secure.


So I don't know where they are now but a nice box with blankets in it in a quiet spot in the house, like a spare room,, where there aren't people coming and going or other pets. Make sure mom has access to fresh clean water and lots of it, and start feeding mom kitten food. She will need the extra calories. If you notice a kitten going downhill fast you can get milk re placer and a bottle from your vet to feed the little one. Don't be surprised though if one does die or mom refuses to feed the sickly one. Somehow they seem to know when a baby is not going to live. It has been my experience that the ones that mom refuses are sick for a reason. For example I had a litter of kittens and mom refused 2 of them, I tried my guts out trying to keep the little ones going and as it turned out they had malformed stomachs, so no matter what I did they were not going to live. So mom really does know best!


So give mom good food lots of water and let her do her thing,try not to interfere too much. Last but not least, enjoy the experience, watching babies grow is a lot of fun and is very rewarding! If you are able, mom and babies should go for a vet check at 2 weeks old. And by 12 weeks all the babies should be in new homes or ready to go to new homes! Cats can be hard to find homes for so you may want to start looking now! Also, until babies and mom are older say 3 to 4 weeks old don'00t let strangers come and handle the babies. Anyway have fun and let me know how it goes!
vb37714 AT

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November 27, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you so much for replying back! It really means a lot to me, even after all of the reading I've done, I'm still nervous, and your advice has helped a great deal.


Dinah had given birth in the living room, on a few towels. After a few hours when we felt she would be comfortable with it, we lined our big box with towels and placed the kittens in there, and she jumped right in. Then last night, she started picking them up, one by one, and moved them into the back of our closet. So, trying to follow her orders, we emptied the closet and put the big box of kittens in there. She seems a lot more comfortable, and I've been trying to keep my distance! Hahaha.

There is one small black kitten that isn't being refused, but doesn't seem as strong as the others. I help when I can, getting it to a nipple, but it just isn't as forceful as the other four. I knew that it's not uncommon for that to happen, I just wish they could all be happy and healthy, just like any other person would.


Now, I know that she needs her own time, and will leave the box to do her own thing, but how long is long enough? Sometimes she'll just wander around the house, and I get nervous that the kittens won't be warm enough. Is that just another step I need to take back? I know I need to let her be mom.

Anyway, here is a picture of them when they were just a few hours old. :)

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November 29, 20090 found this helpful

Leave it all up to mommy now and Bless you for posting a picture! Please don't worry and those babies will be wandering around on their own soon enough :-) They do need to be completely weaned (about 10 weeks) before finding them homes though!

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