What Raising Kittens Involves – Insights from Helena Rückerová, a Breeder

Spring is here and kittens are born. It might be something new for many of us. Let’s have a look at this topic with a Siberian cat breeder, Helena Rückerová. We will learn what kittens need in their first moments after they are born and how we can help the cat take care of them.

Spring kittens are usually born by now. Can the cat mum handle giving birth to them and taking care of them alone in the first moments?

Our cats give birth with a help from a breeder. They do it usually by themselves but they mainly need emotional support and the sense of security. If it is the first labour for them, we help them clean the kittens or with first breastfeeding.

 

What environment and conditions should we create for the labour?

Before the labour, we can prepare a box for the labour, absorbent mats, clean cloth wipes, a weighing machine, a pen and possibly a breast pump, kitten milk and a contact for a vet.

 

Can we, for example, somehow support lactation or supply energy? Is it good to change the cat’s diet or to feed the kittens more than it does?

If the cat has proper diet before and during pregnancy, no vitamins are needed. After labour, it’s necessary to provide the cat with enough high-quality food (usually wet) and enough water. She needs a lot of nutrients to produce milk.

 

What can we do in the case the cat rejects the kittens or her medical condition doesn’t allow her to take care of them?

If a cat can’t breastfeed her kittens, it’s necessary to have kitten milk at home and feed them using a syringe or a bottle with a soother. It’s important to massage kittens’ bellies to support excretion as well.

 

What do kittens need in their first months?

In their first days, if they are mainly fed by their mother, they mainly need warmth and enough milk (the mother needs to be fed very often and with high-quality food). As they grow, it’s important to socialize them properly. They should get used to the household hustle, you should cuddle them and play with them.

 

When do they start getting independent and when are they ready to eat solid food? What should we start feeding them with?

Kittens start discovering solid food when they are around four weeks old and they usually like minced meat or kitten patés. We can gradually add kitten cans and dry food.

 

It's definitely necessary to socialize the new family members well. When to start it and how to do it?

Kitten socialization basically starts from the moment they are born. They get used to people’s voices and touches and we gradually start offering them various toys when they start exploring the environment.

 

Do kittens need any veterinary car? When should they get vaccination and be dewormed?

Deworming should take place three times until the first vaccination which usually takes place when they are nine weeks old. The second vaccination is done when they are twelve weeks old. The kittens stay with their mother at least a week after that, so their immune system develops well.

 

At what age are kittens fully independent on their mother? When is the good time to find them new homes?

Kittens are ready to leave to their new home when they are at least thirteen weeks old. By that time, their mother usually teaches them everything they need.

 

Is it difficult for you as a breeder to say goodbye to kittens? Do you stay in touch with them after that?

We look for responsible and loving new owners for our kittens. A lifelong breeding service is a natural thing for us and most new owners are our friends or acquaintances and they inform us about the kittens. It is also valuable for us as breeders to see how the kittens develop.

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