Birth- Kittens normally weigh in between 3.0 and 3.5 oz. Smaller kittens have lower chances at survival. And I have found greater Persian kittens tend to also have difficult survival. I believe it is related to the moms have more difficult birthing a larger kitten with a larger head, and that cuts off oxygen level to the brain- making them loss some of their natural sucking instincts.
Newborn kittens can usually manage on their own with the help of mom cat once they are warm and clean after being birthed. Warming a kitten should be done naturally if possibly or under a monitored watch if a heating pad is used. Heating pads tend to dehydrate newborns quickly so only use one during the warm stage if possible.
Newborns usually began nursing as soon as they are warm. If you see a newborn kitten not nursing within a few hours of birth- it may need your assistant. If you decide to give the kitten a booster meal- be very careful not to drown the kitten by feeding him / her too much too fast. A few drops is usually adequate- approx. 1 cc is a full meal.
My best advice to you would be to keep working with the kitten, placing the mouth on the nipple and trying to teach the kitten to feed off mom. Sometimes even express a little milk if possible.
1 week of age-still try not to handle the baby too much- most kittens eat and sleep at this stage around the clock. A crying kitten means he is either hungry or something is wrong.
The development of the kitten over the next 30 days will depend on how well and how fast the baby nurses on the first day of life. Usually- a healthy viable kitten will be seen either nursing or suckling around the clock the first 36 hours with brief naps time in between. The following 7 days – you may notice, kittens do not seem to be nursing as much- but yet, the meal time is longer. As the kitten develops and grows- meals increase in amount required and time between them lengthens.
Sometimes mom cats forget to eat while newborns are in the nest- afraid to leave them long enough to get a good meal in herself. If this happens- she will begin to loose weight- and the babies will not gain properly. If this starts to occur- add wet food to moms diet- A / D is a good choice. The opposite tend to happen at the weaning stage- mom tend to over eat and then has a very loose stool.
About 10-14 days after birth- eyes will open. If they are pus filled- express the puss- clean the area and treat it with an antibiotic ointment- you can get this from your vet. Do keep a close eye on kitten eyes- even before they are open to avoid infection.
About 3 weeks of age- kittens learn to sit up ad some are even ready to tackle climbing gin and out of bed and the litter box .. Watch your kitten at this age to insure he does not eat litter. Litter is normally registered about this timeframe.
4th week- they know how to get in and out of bed and use the litter box. Kitten area needs to be cleaned more often for them beginning playing with toys and balls pretty good at this age.
5th week- kittens began to play very hard and even rough with each other, watch nails and eyes. Kitten butts are sometimes seem at this age. Kitten butt is where they get in the litter box and they poop- but some of it remains on the fur. Sometimes they sit back into it and you need to be extra aware to have butts checked daily and keep them clean.
6th week- first vaccination is due. Check to verify kitten is healthy first, clear eyes and check the bite for teeth and gum issues.
7th week- this is the time to beginning teaching kittens grooming skills, the first bath can be given at this time (as you can see from this photo- fur is separating and a bath is in need) – but do make sure to dry them completely. During this stage, kittens will also begin to need slightly less, both mom and kittens may get a loose stool. And once kittens do begin to eat reg food, watch the stools even more closely to avoid pooped butts.
8th week- moms began to teach kitten socialization skills beginning in the eight week and going into the 12th week. First de-worming is given as a precaution.
9th week- second vaccination is due. Toys are a big pleasure!
10th week- bath 2 is needed to help teach kitten bath routines. Nails are also clipped. Second round of de-worming is given as the final round for precaution.
11 weeks- vet appointment is sch'd to verify health.
12th week- final bath and nails due. Final vaccination is also given before kitten goes to his new home. Paperwork is gathered.
Try to let mom wean the babies when Mom a and baby is ready- some breeders wean at a certain age. Here at Purrinlot, we believe in mom and baby knows best- for every kitten, every mom cat, and every litter is different.