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Saturday, October 03, 2020

Ophan kittens - not just milk but mothering.

Mouse and Moley
Orphan kittens are sometimes handed into rescue and people try to bring them up on the bottle. The milk is the easy part: but the mothering is the difficult part. How will they learn to be a cat without having a mother to teach them? We cats need to grow up to be cats, not furry humans. (And who'd want to be a human anyway....)
Special milk

Mother cats teach their babies what to eat, help them to pee and poo, teach them to hunt, and give them the careful mothering they need. They groom the babies until the babies are ready to groom themselves in a way they learn from mother. They give them milk then when it is time to stop, they begin to close the milk bar. This teaches kittens to eat solid food but it also teaches that they don't always get what they want. That way they learn to tolerate frustration.

The best way to bring up orphan kittens is to put them on a lactating female that already has kittens or to keep them with their mother but bottle feed them. If humans can't do this, then they must keep the babies together or even (if they can) find an adult cat who will "mother" them without milk. 

Can't do that? Well make sure that these kittens go to a home where there are no other cats. Bottle fed cats may be more likely to be loners.

  •  If you are feeding orphan kittens read this article -
    *Little, S., (2013), “Playing mum: Successful management of orphaned kittens,” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 15, 201-210.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! Humans needed this article so, so much! Many are willing to take orphan kitties but don't know what to do! This is big help! Thanks mew!
    Chico

    ReplyDelete

Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, www.celiahaddon.com This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online VetTechprogramms.org