Like most babies, kittens need to be taken care of properly to avoid getting health problems. This is because they are not that strong yet in terms of their immunity and may need to be fed with the right schedule and nutrients.
In this article, we bring you some simple tips on how to take care of 2-week-old kittens. The stage of 2-weeks old can be crucial for a kitten because that’s when they need a lot of nourishment and protection, especially if there are problems with their mother cat.
Kitten and Mother Relationship
In most cases, not all mom cats end up taking care of their kittens due to circumstances, such as forgetting where they left them (e.g. stray cats) or some other issues. Let’s have a look at some frequently asked questions about 2-week-old kittens and their relationship with their mother.
Can 2-week-old kittens survive without mother?
Not exactly, because kittens need to feed on their mom cat for at least 4 weeks in order to fully survive. However, there is a way to do it if the kitten has been abandoned and orphaned: you can bottle feed the kitten by yourself.
Mother cat not feeding 2-week-old kittens
There can be disastrous times when the mom cat doesn’t want to feed their kittens (or forgets to do so). But why is that? Here are some common reasons:
The mother cat may be sick.
In many cases, a cat may be unable to nurse their kittens because they have a health problem.
For instance, they may not have enough milk for them or there’s something wrong with their body. You can try going to the vet if you suspect that the mother cat may be sick. Nursing the mom cat to health is the only way to get the cat to nurse her little ones again.
The kitten(s) may be sick.
The mother cat may notice that there’s something wrong with the kittens and refuse to nurse them altogether.
They may reject one or two kittens in this case and they may get stressed about it. If that case happens, the bottle feeding the kitten separately is the best choice. Even if the kitten gets cured, it may not be accepted by its mother anymore due to her previous judgment.
Your mom cat has too many kittens to feed.
If the cat has a lot of offspring to feed at once, it can be stressful for her. It may also be that her milk may not be enough for all of them, especially if the mom cat is still very young.
If this is the case, smaller kittens have a chance of being rejected by the mom cat, in which you just need to bottle feed them separately. Taking them to the vet can also help, especially with increasing the mother cat’s milk supply.
The mother cat may be too young and immature.
There are very few cases where cats get bred and pregnant at a very young age, leading them to have a lack of knowledge and sense of responsibility for their little ones. This can turn into forgetting feeding their kittens, or they may not have enough milk in their system yet.
If this happens to your cat, it’s best to not breed them for the meantime until they’ve matured. The rejected kittens should be taken care of accordingly with the help of your vet.
Feeding the Kittens
So now you have the scenario where mom cats may not be able to feed their kittens. What should you do? Here are some frequently asked questions about feeding kittens by yourself:
How long can 2-week-old kittens go without nursing?
The straight answer is that they can’t survive unless they get milk from either their mom or from a bottle. They should do this until about 4 to 5 weeks and must be assisted by humans since they are still too weak to do it. This is where KMR or kitten milk replacement comes into play.
What to feed 2-week-old kittens?
KMR, also known as kitten milk replacement, is the only formula you should feed kittens. Cow’s milk is not for them because it can be too heavy and may cause bloating and other digestive problems. Just like how human babies are fed with infant formula, kittens can also have such milk to drink.
Feeding other types of milk, such as soy, almond, and goat milk may not be that ideal for them as well, since they may not match the cat mother’s milk.
The main reason why you should feed a kitten with KMR is that they are more complete and more applicable for a kitten’s sensitive stomach. This is so that they don’t end up getting digestive upsets.
How often do 2-week-old kittens eat?
A kitten that is 2 weeks old should be fed every 4 to 6 hours to ensure that they are not overfed, which may also lead to digestive upsets.
Remember: when you feed them, they should be burped to avoid catching air inside their stomach. Do this by laying the kitten on their stomach, much like how babies would be burped, and give them a little tap until they burp.
How much replacement milk to give 2-week-old kittens that have lost their mother
If your kitten can’t be fed by their mother, it can be difficult to know just how much to give them. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered below:
The amount should depend on how they weigh. Consider having them weighed in (from your own scale or from the vet’s) and the general rule is 8 ml per 1 ounce of the kitten’s weight.
Bottle feeding 2-week-old kittens
If you are new to nursing a kitten that is 2 weeks old, here are some simple guidelines.
- They should be kept in a warm place for feeding. If the kitten feels too cold, they may not be able to digest their food properly plus they’ll feel uncomfortable! Keep them in a warm area when you want to feed them, such as wrapping them with a blanket or towel.
- Mix your KMR or kitten milk replacement formula. The most common rule for mixing is 2 parts water and 1 part of the formula. You can easily buy most KMR from pet stores and groceries.
- Give them their daily feeding. They should receive the right amount of kitten replacement milk as we mentioned above, or as advised by your vet, especially if the kitten needs more nourishment.
- Follow and stick to the feeding schedule. They should be given the bottle continuously with the time frame that we mentioned above. The only exception is when they are asleep for a long period of time when you can just wait for them to wake up to avoid getting their mood down.
- Focus on the weak kittens. If you see that there are some kittens that are far more malnourished than others, it’s best to give them more or feed them more frequently than the others. You have to ensure that everyone gets the right amount of nutrients based on their weight and health.
Bedtime and Hygiene
When it’s time to go to bed and when it comes to grooming your kittens, here are some common questions you may have in mind:
How long to let kittens sleep for at 2-week-old
A kitten that is only 2 weeks old may sleep somewhere between 20 and 22 hours – that’s a long time! Since we all know that cats naturally do sleep two-thirds of the day, it’s inevitable for kittens since they are still young. Don’t worry – the will start sleeping less once they’ve grown older.
What can I do for my 2-week-old kittens with fleas
Kittens as young as 2 weeks old can have fleas, and it can be frustrating! Most cat owners may recommend using Dawn dish soap and vinegar, but to be safe (since kittens may lick their fur), you can try asking your vet for a flea treatment, such as Advantage and Capstar.
Additionally, if you have extra time, you can also manually search your kittens for fleas and kill them on the spot. Just make sure that the mom cat isn’t watching to avoid getting her furious.
Safe wormer for 2-week-old kittens
Deworming is an important process for a kitten this young because they are more prone to getting worms and bacteria in their stomach, which, when not taken care of, can result in stomach bloating and loss of appetite.
A dewormer for a 2-week-old kitten can be prescribed by a vet or you can buy an over-the-counter one. Pyrantel is a common dewormer for kittens and can usually come in drops.
Supplement for 2-week-old kittens
Having supplements can be important for 2-week-old kittens to help with their health, especially if they have been abandoned by their mom cat.
Consider supplements that have vitamin A and D, since kittens cannot produce them on their own. Thiamin and niacin can also help cats, as well as linoleic and arachidonic acid, which can be helpful for their coat.
To put it all together, taking care of a 2-week-old kitten can be challenging at first, especially if it is an orphaned one and you don’t know the mother cat. But, by following these simple guidelines, you can make a change and save a precious life (or lives) by taking care of a kitten in the right way for them to grow healthier.
Catherine Bono is a blogger, who is passionate about dogs and cats. She created Crittersitca.com to shares her experience as she studies to become a qualified vet.