Procrastinated with the spay, and my cat got pregnant. I won't let it happen again ;) Anyway, she had one lonely (adorable!) kitten. He'll be 4 weeks old tomorrow. We decided to keep him. I've had cats my whole life, but I'm now finding myself with a new experience! I've never had a kitten younger than 6 weeks before. They require virtually no (human) care at first. Provide a safe comfortable nest, mama cat does everything! But now I'm at that stage where I have to intervene a smidge! I just bought some kitten-safe litter and a tiny "litter pan" so he can learn that. The litter tray is actually a disposable aluminum baking tray because even our tiny "kitten sized litter box" towers over the little guy! So, I put that in with him.. but is mom supposed to teach him? Because it might be a little small for her :/ Is this as simple as provide a litter pan he can easily get in and out of with some litter that won't harm him if he eats it, stand back, and he'll soon be litter trained? Magic? Heh.
Other question is starting solids. When I was googling, I found out I'm late and probably should have put some out for him a week ago. But what I'm wondering is, all the kitten care info seems to assume that around 6-8 weeks kittens will be fully weaned and placed for adoption. Is this still a normal age for a kitten who will not ever be expected to separate from mom? I'm thinking of putting a portion of raw food out for Luna in the bedroom the kitten lives in (she usually eats in the kitchen) twice a day so he can have a chance to taste it if he's interested.
And socialization. What can I expect there? Interestingly, if I hold him in the bedroom, he's pretty calm for the most part. Taken out of the room and he cries a lot. I'm waiting for a sweet snugglebug kitten to blossom out of him, who will snuggle and purr on my lap and rub his head against me affectionately. Its discouraging to try and love on him and have him just cry cry cry :( Any particular strategies to help him be more sociable? He's only barely starting to even think about play, and is rather clumsy still! I caught him batting around a little toy ball just a *tiny* bit. I've never seen him run. Laser pointer he'll only follow with his eyes. If I take him out to the living room to try and let him explore a bit, he just stays in one spot, and eventually cries, Luna comes running and he clings to her.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
My Brother and I had a cat adopt us and we also waited to long to get her spayed and she had four kittens (in the spring of 2004). I would for sure not deliberately let a cat get pregnant, but I am grateful for the experience of her pregnancy and labour (I can understand why people become midwives or doulas, witnessing a fellow being give birth is amazing:) And we kept all but one of the kitten, as well. My brother and I read all we could before to prepare and yeah the momma cat pretty much takes care of everything and actually they do best if left on their own for the first while. Yes, you don't have to litter train them and it is like magic:) We left a pan out low enough for the little ones and hey presto, it happened!
As far as solids, I don't think ours started as early as six weeks and if you look at what cats do in the wild, I think that having the food available should be fine because momma will teach him there as well.
With socialization, I think four weeks is still very young to worry about it. He will naturally want to stick close to momma for now, but will be more interactive and outgoing very soon in the week, even days, to come. And even more than with human babies, kittenhood is a blink and you miss it time. Enjoy your new blessing.
I hope any of this has helped! I'm not a kitten expert at all, so take any of my advice at your own judgement, of course:) And congratulations and good luck!
Wife to my sweet Husband Man, Mama to my adorable little Pickle (01/23/10) and expecting another bundle of joy (05/13)
Its just nice to hear from others who have had the privilege of observing mama cat care for her babies, and then done the awkward dance of transitioning said kittens from "mama cat's babies" to "my pets" Reassurance that the pitiful crybaby he is today will turn into a pretty rad kitten pretty soon. I'm trying to get in the habit of having him out of the bedroom in the evenings after kids are in bed. Its hard to take him out during the day, what with the 16 month old who loves him waaay too much! And the 3yo, for that matter. We had a nice snuggle with him tonight before he cried for his mama. And its so cool to watch how attentive Luna is! <3 he cries, she runs!
And right, I'd never let a cat get pregnant on purpose (I've dreamed of adopting an already pregnant cat and then keeping all the kittens..sometime in the very far future) but this worked out pretty darn perfect actually. Just one kitten! And we had zero plans of getting another cat or kitten anytime soon, so its not like we're keeping him in place of some other cat who is still waiting in a shelter. As far as the ethics of the cat population go, I feel pretty innocent! Haha. Unfortunately, I missed the birth :( I was SO excited to be a "kitty doula" too. She was having tons of bloody show and leaked fluid all over the floor so I knew it was going to be kitten night. By midnight I was exhausted and she showed no signs of being in labor (sleeping soundly next to me on the bed) and I wondered if I should wait up or get some sleep.. since it might not happen till, say, 6am, ya know? A tiny mew startled me awake at 3am. There Luna was.. sleeping peacefully next to me.. and a fully cleaned and dried off kitten is in the bed, crawling over the blankets! I tell ya, thats a wake up call! lol. I moved the two of them to the box I had prepared and spent the next 20 minutes trying to help the poor frantic baby to learn to nurse!
One thing thats been fascinating to watch is the other cats! Any time I've ever gotten a new kitten before, and the current cat meets it, they always approach curiously, sniff, then hiss. Every time! I was really curious what the boys would do when they sniffed, and it was a scent they recognized yet a cat they'd never seen before. Sure enough.. approach curiously, sniff.. and he passed the sniff test! No hissing :) They're very curious about him. Dobby (incidentally, the dad) even reached out a paw and was "petting" him. I think i'm a crazy cat person now.