|The Newborns First Few Days|
With several hungry mouths to feed, your cat will naturally need to keep eating well. Make sure she has plenty of water, and carry on feeding her on demand - four times a day, or perhaps even more. Let her eat whatever she wants - some feeding mums like energy-rich snacks such as cheese - as feeding kittens is the most energy consuming time in a cat's life. Now is the time to add some kitten food to her diet, if you haven't done so already, to build her own reserves back up and pass the best nutrients on to the kittens. You should also leave her alone to get used to her new family, looking in just occasionally to check that everything's okay.
She should stay indoors for a few days - and it's important to keep the Tom away (if he is still around). Toms have been known, to take a dislike to newborn kittens and, in some cases, cause them harm.
If any of the kittens seem neglected or are crying more than the others, you may have to help out, feeding it yourself with an approved milk substitute, taking over from the mother. If this happens, your local Veterinary Surgeon will be able to recommend the right milk substitute and equipment to use.
After about a week of life, the kittens will see the world around them for the first time their eyes open; a week or so after this, they will begin crawling around. By four or five weeks of age, the kittens will be playful, excited and keen to explore.
In the meantime, at the age of around six weeks they will start eating solids - ideally, a kitten food which contains all they need during this period of rapid growth, and which is made for small mouths to be able to eat it easily.
They will still need the support of their mother's milk until they are about two months old, along with their regular solid meals. You take care of the solid food mum will soon let them know when she thinks they've had enough of her milk! Kittens should stay with their mother until this age, and kept in the house to avoid picking up infection.
You should encourage them to use a litter tray (see: Toilet Training) by placing them in it after meals - the new owner will certainly thank you for starting this particular piece of training before the kitten moves into its new home! These first few weeks of a kitten's life are extremely important - each kitten is vulnerable and learns trust, affection and playfulness that it will carry through its life.