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How to Take Care of Kitten of 4 weeks old
At 4 weeks old, kittens’ eyes are open, their ears are unfolded and they can walk. If they are removed from their mothers at this stage, however, they’ll require special attention. A kitten generally shouldn’t leave his mother’s care before he’s 8 weeks old. Pet lovers who must care for a 4-week-old kitten without the aid of a momma cat should pay special attention to keeping the kitten warm, fed properly and healthy through quality vet care.
At 4 weeks, kittens’ bodies are just becoming able to regulate temperature on their own. To keep them warm enough, you’ll have to provide a source of heat, being sure that the kittens can move away from it if they become too warm. A heating pad or hot water bottle placed in a kitten’s bedding area is perfect for this; wrap the heat source in a towel to prevent the animal from burning himself. If you need to warm the kitten quickly, you can place him against your skin and let him absorb your body heat.
Four-week-old kittens are not ready for solid food. Instead, they should have kitten milk replacer, which comes in both liquid and powdered forms; each day, feed 8 cc of formula per ounce of body weight, spreading this out over four feedings. Never give kittens cow’s milk, since it doesn’t have the nutrients they need and can cause diarrhea. You can offer soft starter food to kittens at 4 weeks, which is when weaning normally begins. Mix some of the formula in with this food so that the familiar smell will entice them to eat. By 6 or 8 weeks, the kitten should be off milk replacer and eating only this kitten food.
Neonatal kittens can’t eliminate on their own, so they need assistance in getting their bladder or bowels to move. By 4 weeks old, most kittens’ bodies will be up to this task, but it’s wise to keep an eye out for any difficulties. If the kitten isn’t eliminating after meals, take a warm, wet towel or cotton ball and rub the animal’s lower abdomen and genitals. This could take up to a minute, but the kitten should eliminate. If the kitten is already doing his business on his own, you can introduce him to a litter box. Place him in the box after each feeding; if the kitten is unsure of what to do, gently help him scratch his paws in the litter.
Cats undergo a strong period of socialization until they reach 9 weeks old, during which time they learn how to interact with people, other animals and their environment. When kittens aren’t properly socialized before this age, they grow to be suspicious of new people and things, making them difficult to handle as adults. At 4 weeks, you should be holding the kitten and letting him play with other people and cats. Expose him to a range of toys and areas of the home. Just be sure to keep the little one away from unhealthy animals, and wash your hands before handling him.
Seek Vet Care
Kittens need proper medical care, which includes flea treatment, vaccinations and deworming. Veterinarians usually administer vaccinations to kittens who are 6 weeks old, but flea treatment and deworming may be needed at 4 weeks, especially in the case of orphaned kittens. It’s also wise to take orphaned 4-week-old kittens to the vet for a thorough examination. Kittens who display any of the following symptoms should be taken to the vet immediately: shallow breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation that doesn’t go away after a day or two and discharge from the eyes or nose.
Kitten care 4 weeks old
How Old Is That Kitten? Kitten Guide: Four Weeks
Also look at : Easy homemade kitten formulas
Want a side-by-side comparison of kittens as they grow? Visit our Kitten Progression: At-a-Glance guide or download the poster.www.alleycat.org/KittenProgression
Once kittens grow past four weeks, they’re no longer considered neonatal. (If you’ve been raising the kittens for a few weeks already, congratulations—the hardest part is over!) Kittens at this age will start weaning (meaning they’ll slowly start to eat solid food), and you can start litter box training.
|Weight:||440-470 grams/15.5-16.6 ounces|
|Teeth:||Canines and incisors in|
Kittens are steady on their feet and hold their tails up. They will start to explore their surroundings, and play frequently with each other, toys, and people.
Weaning starts at about four weeks old. Mix kitten formula with wet food, and either let the kittens eat it themselves from a dish or feed them the mixture with the bottle. Eventually, they’ll start eating more food and less formula. Once they can eat wet food, start mixing the formula with dry food, too. Once they start eating solid food, make sure you always provide them with water.
For bottle feeding, continue to use specific kitten bottles. Feed kittens on their stomachs—not their backs—and tilt the bottle. After they’re done eating, you need to burp them. Put them on your shoulder or on their stomachs and pat them gently until they burp. Clean kittens using a warm, damp washcloth after you feed them.
Two or three times a day
Kittens can regulate their own temperature at four to five weeks old, but you should still provide a source of heat that they can go to as needed. They will most likely be roaming from the nest at this point because they want to explore.
Start litter box training, if you haven’t already. Provide them with a small, shallow litter pan with non-clumping litter. Show kittens the litter box, and they should quickly start using it out of instinct. To help them out, put in one of the cotton balls that you used to help them urinate.
For more on caring for kittens younger than four weeks old, including health concerns, go to Caring for Neonatal Kittens.
Once kittens show interest in their surroundings and interact with their littermates, people, and toys, you can start socializing them.
Food is a great tool to socialize kittens. When you feed the kittens wet food, stay in the room so they associate you with food and start to trust you. Over time, move the food plate closer to your body while you sit in the room, until the plate is in your lap and the kittens are comfortable crawling on you to get to it.
Pet the kittens for the first time while they’re eating so they stay put, and build up to holding the kittens, rewarding them with some canned cat food. Don’t allow the kittens to play with your hand, or bite or scratch you—it will teach kittens that biting is OK.
Playing is an important part of kitten socialization because it helps them bond with each other and build confidence around people. Play with kittens for at least two hours a day (all together or broken up). Take time to socialize each of the kittens in a litter individually. At this age, kittens will love to play with toys, and you should encourage that!
General Feeding Guidelines
Test the temperature of the formula before feeding, it should be warm (around 100oF or 38oC), but not hot. Warm the bottle by placing it in hot water for a few minutes or by putting it in the microwave until it reaches the correct temperature. If you use the microwave be sure to mix the formula well before testing because hot spots may develop in the heating process.
Always properly position a kitten for feeding. NEVER recline a kitten on its back while feeding. This can cause it to aspirate, which means the kitten inhales the formula into their respiratory tract rather than swallowing. Aspiration can lead to a reactive pneumonia and be fatal. Kittens must be leaning forward or flat on their belly while feeding.
They are most comfortable when positioned as they would be if nursing from their mom. To achieve this position, place the kitten on its stomach on a towel or cloth so the kitten can cling to the material and knead instinctually. If the kitten is acting frantic while nursing, try wrapping the kitten in a towel while feeding it. When bottle feeding, gently open the kitten’s mouth with the tip of your finger and slip in the nipple. Once the kitten learns what is coming, it will search out the nipple enthusiastically.
You will feel a vacuum effect when the kitten gets into suckle mode. Watch for bubbles in the bottle during suckling and ears wiggling. These movements mean the kitten is suckling successfully. To keep air from getting into its stomach, hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, keeping a slight pull on the bottle. Allow kittens to suck at their own pace. If a kitten refuses to take the nipple or will not suckle, try rubbing it vigorously on the forehead or stroking its back much as its mom would.
Using a toothbrush to stroke the kitten can simulate the feeling that it would get from the queen’s tongue. If you still cannot get it to nurse from the bottle, syringe feed the kitten to make sure it gets adequate nutrition. If a kitten requires syringe feeding, have a plan in place for who foster parents should contact.
If feeding multiple kittens, it will be easier to get them all fed the required amount if you feed each one multiple times during the session. To accomplish this, feed the first kitten until it stops nursing, then feed the second, and so on. After each has had one turn at the bottle, go back to the first and repeat the process. Usually after two or three nursing turns, a kitten has had enough for one feeding. When a kitten has had enough formula, it will usually get some bubbles around its mouth and its abdomen will be very rounded, almost pear-shaped.
Kittens that seem too weak to nurse may be hypothermic or have an underlying medical issue. A kitten refusing to nurse beyond the first few “getting the hang of it” times may indicate illness and it needs to be examined by a veterinarian. Have a plan in place to for who foster parents should contact.
After each feeding session, give each kitten a full-body once over with a barely damp, warm washcloth. Use short strokes like its mom would use. This activity keeps the kitten’s fur clean, teaches it how to groom and gives it needed socialization. Make sure the kitten is completely dry before placing it back in its cage.
Kittens naturally suckle on each other and on fingers, even after eating. Kittens suckling on each other excessively may be a sign that the frequency of feedings need increased. If littermate suckling becomes problematic, especially around the genital area, separate the kittens. Check each kitten’s genitals to ensure sucking activity is not causing problems (redness, irritation, penis hanging out, etc.). Suckling on genitals can lead to the urethra swelling shut and having to be surgically reopened. If any of this occurs, have a plan in place for who foster parents should contact.
A kitten is ready for the weaning process when it bites the nipple often and forcefully, and is able to lick formula from fingers. Continue bottle feeding through the weaning process to ensure kittens get adequate nutrition and are not overly stressed. The first step of the weaning process is to get the kitten to lap up formula from your finger and then a spoon.
Once it masters this skill, put formula in a flat dish. Introduce the kitten to solid food by mixing warm canned kitten food and prepared kitten formula into a thin gruel. Gradually reduce the amount of formula mixed with canned food until the kitten is eating just the food.
Place the food in a shallow dish. Some kittens begin lapping right away; others prefer to lick the gruel from your fingers. Allow them to do so and slowly lower your finger to the dish. The kittens may bite the edge of the dish or walk in the food. Sometimes it takes two or more meals before they catch on.
If a kitten does not seem interested in the gruel, try gently opening the kitten’s mouth and rubbing a little of the food on its tongue or teeth. Be patient, the weaning process takes time. As the kittens catch on, thicken the gruel. When kittens are eating thicker gruel, they should always have fresh water available in a low spill-resistant bowl.
Kittens often walk through their food. Make sure the kittens are clean and DRY before putting them in their cages. Most weaning kittens are messy eaters so you may not be able to leave gruel or water in their cages at first. Wet kittens can rapidly lose body temperature.