Simba, at 6 weeks, meeting resident cat Cinema face-to-face for the first time while another of the resident cats, Purrl, looks on.
Kittens without a mother are relying on you, their foster mom/dad, to help them grow and learn like their natural mother would.
Love & Attention
Probably one of the best parts of hand raising kittens is the extra one-on-one time spent with each of them. After every feeding I try to spend at least 10 minutes just interacting with the kitten – petting & cuddling them is an integral part of raising kittens (and a great perk for the foster parent!)
Once the kittens get to be about 3 weeks old, their personalities start to emerge. The more interaction you have with them the better; it will not only help you to learn each personality, but will help them to learn as well.
This is the age where they start moving about the nest more and interact with their littermates and surroundings more. This is a great time to introduce age appropriate toys for the kittens to play with.
Interacting with the kittens and spending quality time with each one yourself is very important. However, it is also important to help them get used to other people so as to have well adjusted kittens. It always helps when it comes time to find them their forever homes if they are not hiding behind you and, instead, readily greet prospective adopters.
My most recent litter of bottle babies, at around 2 weeks of age, went with my husband and I to a birthday party with young children. The home we attended did not have any pets so there was very little risk to the kittens there and I had asked for permission to bring them along beforehand. The children at the party were very curious and excited about the kittens, but also very gentle with them.
This type of socialization, even at that young of an age, is paramount in raising well adjusted and happy kittens. Seeing your kittens playing and thriving is an experience every foster parent loves and relishes.
Interaction between kittens and household pets
One of the biggest perks for kittens in foster care is that they are exposed to other animals from a very young age. Most foster parents will allow supervised contact for the kittens with their own, properly vaccinated, pets on a daily basis.
This helps the kittens learn about other animals besides their littermates and how to properly interact with them. And most times foster parents find that at least one of their own pets will love nothing more than to spend time with the kittens – whether it’s playing together or just snuggling – there tends to be one “mother hen” in the household.
Proper socialization, love & attention leads to healthy, happy, well adjusted kittens that transition to forever homes more seamlessly.
If you have any questions about raising orphaned kittens, please reach out to Park Road Veterinary Clinic in Brantford.