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by Jacqui Odell
So you have new kittens! Congratulations! Baby kittens are adorable and, if you decide to keep any of them, will being you years of fun and happiness!
Our cat gave us three kittens recently, and we've decided to keep them all. I've found that experience is the best teacher, so this article will give you tips on what to expect in the first four weeks after the birth of your kittens!
Immediately after their birth, they should begin to nurse and will stay close to the mother cat. Staying close to her ensures they are fed, safe and are kept warm as kittens are unable to retain body heat for the first few weeks. The mother cat should be nursing her kittens about 70% of the time for the first two to three weeks. If all is well, she won't leave them often; she'll leave to eat, take care of business and stretch. Continue to provide fresh water and food and keep it nearby. Kitten food is especially good for nursing mothers as it provide extra calories and nutrients that they will all need.
During this first week, it is acceptable to hold the kittens, but do so only for a short time. Allow them to become accustomed to your scent and to being around humans. The mother cat will be very protective of her kittens for several weeks, so a few minutes per day should be sufficient in establishing the kitten to human bond as well as getting them socialized.
During the second week expect more of the same. The kittens will still stay close to their mom, but when she is not around, they will sleep curled around each other for warmth and comfort. They will begin to move around some, but they are still deaf, blind and unable to walk. They will sleep most of the time. Their eyes will begin to open, but they will not be able to see well.
During the third week, their eyes should be almost fully open and will remain blue for another several weeks. They still remain deaf and with limited mobility. They won't nurse as much, but neither will they do much else but eat and sleep, however, they will begin to take a few wobbly steps.
During the fourth week is when the fun begins! Their eyes will be fully open, they can hear and they are able to walk well, and possibly may be able to run a bit. They will begin to explore the area around them, and will be interested in playing with toys.
They will be playing with each other, and it will seem rough, but their play is instinct and important for them. They will appear to suck their paws, but this is a form of play, and it's adorable! They will bite, swat, tumble over each other and explore much during this fourth week. You can take great delight in just watching them and interacting with them with play and toys.
Canned cat food may be offered during this week, though the kittens will likely not take an interest for several weeks yet. Their sole source of nutrition continues to be their mother for the first six to eight weeks.
During the first four weeks you will see tremendous growth and changes in your new kittens! From completely helpless, immobile, deaf and blind to able to see, hear, run, jump and play in just four short weeks is amazing and fun to watch! Have a great time getting to know your new kittens!
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