Kitten abandoned by its mother: how to manage?

In the vast majority of cases, cats take good care of their litter. They are instinctively caring. There are, however, withdrawals and in this type of situation, the teacher must react very quickly. Let’s review the reasons that can lead a cat to abandon a kitten, or even the whole litter, and see what the master must absolutely do to replace the mother with the little ones.

Kittens abandoned by their mother: the main causes

A mother cat can abandon one or more cubs for the following reasons:

  • She did not enough milk because the litter is too important (more than 6 kittens), so that those in excess are rejected instinctively so that any chance of survival is left to the most vigorous little ones. In other words, the weaker offspring are sacrificed.
  • The nest is constantly tampered with by humans (especially children) which generates a significant stress in the cat.
  • She is in very bad health, so it moves away from its reach.
  • Some kittens are sick. Their mother has a feeling that they will not survive. She therefore only devotes herself exclusively to those who are perfectly viable and can even keep others away from the rest of the litter so that the strongest do not fall ill in their turn. It’s the survival instinct.

These are the main factors favoring the abandonment of a kitten or a litter by the mother. Fortunately, it is not a majority. These animals are generally tender with their babies and a pussy is never a bad mother. If she abandons her offspring it is always for a serious reason.

Management of kittens abandoned by their mother

The kitten her mother abandoned is in danger of death. It is therefore essential that the master performs the essential actions to keep him alive, both in terms of food and daily care.

Feeding kittens abandoned by their mother

Of course, feeding abandoned kittens is one of the major concerns for their breeder. It is necessary to choose a milk adapted to these animals, namely a kitten formula that you can buy in pharmacies or even directly from the veterinarian.

In no case should cow’s milk be given because it contains too much lactose and this leads to diarrhea in kittens. Moreover, many other milks are to forbid because of their composition because they are too different from pussy milk. We never feed a kitten abandoned by its mother or an orphan with milk for human babies, donkeys, goats, etc.

The master of the little cats must use exclusively a substitute milk specifically developed for kittens whose digestive tract can only digest breast milk. This artificial milk is less rich in protein than the others, it contains little lactose and it is well supplied with vitamins and minerals.

Frequency and capacity of feeding bottles for each kitten

The number of bottles must be strictly observed according to the advice of the veterinarian who was taken care of. contact as soon as possible. The number of feeds gradually decreases, but the bottles must be given at regular times because the intervals between two intakes of artificial milk must be observed. Usually, this rhythm is established per 24 hour periodweek after week, meals being however a little closer together during the day than at night. As for the dose of milk, it must also be very precise and adapted to the weight of each kitten.


Number of bottles per 24-hour period

Amount of milk / 100 g of body weight / bottle

1time week

8 bottles

13 ml / 100 g

2th week

6 bottles

17 ml / 100 g

3th week

5 bottles

20 ml / 100 g

4th week

4 milk intakes in a bowl + a little water in free access because the kitten now knows how to lap. Mixed feeding can begin.

22 ml of milk / 100 g

These dosages are of course only given for information. It is necessary in any case to respect from the birth of the kitties the veterinarian recommendations which are transmitted on a case-by-case basis.

From the 5th week of life Until the kittens are weaned, each little one is only given 3 or 4 servings of milk per day in addition to the kibble specially developed for kittens during weaning. The amount of milk andsolid foods is to be determined with the veterinarian. Be careful never to wean the kitties too early as this will lead to digestive problems.

Caring for kittens abandoned by the cat

If we do not take care of these extremely fragile little beings, they will not no chance to survive. In addition to feeding them, it is essential to perform the following actions.

  • Warm them up during the first 4 weeks of life: they are unable to regulate their body temperature, and it is only 35.5 ° C at birth. It should absolutely not drop below 35 ° C because the kittens would not survive. The temperature of the room should be maintained at 26 or 27 ° C and that of the “nest” at 32 ° C. This is why it is necessary to install a special heating mat and an infra-red lamp of the incubator type. No drafts are allowed.
  • Help them defecate : it is necessary to pass a cloth soaked in lukewarm water over the genitals and anal area of ​​kittens to allow them to defecate and urinate, once or twice a day. This stimulation is a step that must be observed absolutely because small cats cannot defecate on their own during the first weeks of life. They can therefore all die if their master does not replace the mother in this area as well. They will begin to spontaneously enter the litter box at the age of 4 weeks.
  • Clean up baby cats is needed once a day with a very slightly damp washcloth.

Finally, from birth, it is important to weigh the kittens abandoned by their mother, and this as often as possible in order to establish a personalized growth curve, that is to say a curve for each young that we take care to note in order to give it to the veterinarian. This is to ensure that they are enjoying themselves well and is necessary for each kitty to receive the amount of food perfectly suited to their weight. When all goes well, the daily weight gain is around 5 to 10 grams.

Managing the life of a litter of kittens when the mother is dead or is not taking care of her for whatever reason is a great responsibility. The master must be supported by the veterinarian and at the slightest concern, such as a kitten that does not gain weight, whose body temperature drops dangerously or even who does not defecate, a hospitalization in a veterinary clinic is the only solution to hope to save his life.

Very involved during the first month, the management of kittens abandoned by their mother then lightens. But all the efforts made night and day during this difficult period are paying off: seeing the little cats grow up in good health, play together, do somersaults and climb everywhere then finally become independent, it’s a hell of a thing. nice victory.