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Substitute for a cat's mother

As a substitute for a cat's mother

Feeding kittens is not as easy as it may seem. Such little ones need a balanced diet that will provide them with all the necessary nutrients. In this case, there is nothing better than cat's mother's milk (the first mother's milk is the so-called. colostrum), which contains protein and antibodies to protect your baby from infectious diseases.  However, it often happens that newborn kittens have lost their mother for various reasons and their further fate depends only on us. So how to cope with such a big challenge?

Kittens up to 4 weeks of age should consume only mother's milk. Newborns who will not drink colostrum regularly are exposed to many serious diseases and infections, so we should take care of a protective substitute product. The best solution is another cat mother, who in most cases takes care of other babies. However, it happens that we do not have a replacement mum at hand. In such a situation, it is best to contact a veterinarian who will order the appropriate action.

In addition to basic protection, it is important to provide your kitten with a proper diet. There are ready-made milk replacers available on the market, most often in the form of powdered milk, which should be dissolved in water. We give the milk in a bottle with a teat, which shouldn't be too big. Ideally, the holes in the teat should be placed on the sides, not in the middle, to prevent the kitten from choking.

If we are unable to purchase such a preparation, we can prepare the mixture ourselves. We will need: skim milk (boiled) 70%, lean beef 8%, vegetable oil (preferably soybean) 3%, egg yolk 4%, lean curd 15%. It is also good to add a vitamin-micronutrient mixture (1%), which can be purchased at the veterinary office. The ingredients (in the given proportions) should be mixed and stored in the refrigerator for no longer than 12 hours *. Before serving, heat the mixture to a temperature of approx. 37 degrees Celsius. An important rule is to regularly give meals at 2-3 hour intervals with a 5- or 6-hour night break. After eating, it is a good idea to massage the kitten's tummy and bottom, which is normally done by the mother by licking the kittens. We perform the massage with a warm, damp cloth or cotton swab. Thanks to this, the toddler will be able to defecate without any problems.

After 4 weeks, we can introduce solid food to our pet's menu. This should be done gradually and the food should be varied so that the kitten does not get used to just one type of food. It is important that the food is fresh, balanced and high-quality, adapted to the age range of the cat (Junior version, e.g. Purina® ONE® Junior). In addition to ready-made cat food, we can introduce new products to the cat's diet, but always in small amounts. Perfect here: fish (but only boiled), poultry (boiled), beef, mutton (raw), 12% cream, cottage cheese, fats (butter, oil), rice or pasta. Products should be served at room temperature. As mentioned, the diet should be as varied as possible, so that our kitten will be less picky in the future. Despite this, there are products to beware of. These include: raw fish, salty, sweet or spicy foods, onions, garlic, dry food that is not intended for a given age or breed. It should be remembered that we adapt the diet to the kitten's lifestyle, the more active the cat, the larger meals it should receive.

After completing the growth period (usually after 1 year of age), we can switch the kitten to food for adult cats (adult version, e.g. Purina® ONE® Adult). Such food is less caloric, thanks to which our cat will avoid problems with overweight in the future and will delay the effects of aging.

* The recipe comes from the book by Dorota Sumińska, Happy Cat, Łódź 2005

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