How to Care for a Queen and Kittens? Providing a Safe Space for a Cat to Give Birth

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New kitten checklist

Newborn kittens are tiny, fragile, and born with their eyes closed. They require special care from their mom to ensure they grow up healthy. Let’s look at how to care for a queen and kittens.

Caring for a queen and her kittens may seem daunting at first, but with patience, dedication, and lots of love, these tiny deaf and blind balls of fur will grow into healthy cats. If your cat is pregnant or you’re fostering a pregnant cat from an animal sanctuary, you’ll need to provide a safe space for the queen to give birth.

This article will look at how to care for a queen and kittens. We’ll discuss how a cat cares for her kittens and what help she may need.

How to care for a queen and kittens?

how to care for a queen and kittens

In most cases, a mother cat can give birth and care for her kittens by herself, but she needs a few things to be a good mom. Before the cat gives birth, you should ensure she has somewhere warm, dark, and safe to retreat to.

Cats often give birth at night and prefer to be in an area that’s dark and enclosed. You can put a cardboard box on its side and add some blankets to create a cozy space. This is important as you don’t want the queen to give birth in the litter box, where the new kittens will be exposed to bacteria.

The most important thing to know is that newborn kittens should not be unnecessarily handled during the first couple of weeks of their life. Picking up or touching newborn kittens may distress the mother. Mother cats have been known to abandon their young if they feel distressed and unsafe.

To help the queen (mother cat) look after her kittens: 

  • Provide a warm and quiet environment for the cats to live in. This should include plenty of clean bedding and a litter box.
  • Don’t handle newborn or very young kittens
  • Make sure the queen has access to plenty of food and fresh water at all times.
  • Monitor the kittens’ health and development, including regular checkups with the vet. 
  • Ensure the queen gets some deserved rest and relaxation in between caring for her litter! 

As the kittens grow

New kittens need plenty of love and attention as they grow up and explore their environment. Spend time with the litter every day, playing and interacting with them to help them become socialized. Provide them with safe toys and scratch posts that encourage natural behaviors such as climbing and pouncing.

Ensure they receive regular vet checkups and all their vaccinations to protect against preventable diseases.

Finally, be sure to keep the kittens indoors to keep them safe from predators and other potential dangers. Provide plenty of space for them to explore and, as they get older, gradually introduce them to the outside world when supervised. A kitten can go to its forever home at around eight weeks of age, when it will be fully weaned and ready to leave its mother.

What to do if you find a litter of young kittens?

If you’ve found a litter of kittens that have yet to be weaned, it’s likely the mother isn’t far away. The best thing to do is observe the kittens from a distance to see if the mother returns. You can also put some food and water out for the mom.

If the mother doesn’t return, or if you’re worried about the health and well-being of the animals, you should contact a vet or animal shelter. Young kittens can be bottle-fed, but it’s a lot of work and something that should be avoided if the mother is around and can care for her litter.

As a surrogate mom, you’ll need to bottle feed the young every two hours, help them to go to the toilet by wiping their butts with a damp cloth, and keep the kittens warm. It’s essential to consult with a vet to correctly care for kittens and get the right formula milk. Kittens that are cared for by a human surrogate often don’t survive, so human intervention is only recommended if you’re sure the mother isn’t coming back for her kittens.

How to care for a queen and kittens: Final thoughts

Looking after a litter of young kittens is fairly easy as long as the mother is there to care for her babies. Queens are generally good moms and will keep the kittens well-fed and cared for. All you need to do is provide her with a safe space to give birth and daily food and water. You should also avoid handling the kittens as a mother cat may reject her kittens if they are handled too much.

For more information on caring for a queen and kittens, consult your vet or visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website.

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