The first three weeks the kittens received all their nutrition from the mothers milk. Nova was a good mother and nursed her kittens well, but with 5 kittens I kept watching that each and every one was given a chance to nurse. In a big litter there could
be one that always ends up loosing the fight for a nipple/ teat. They were weighed every morning to make sure they all were gaining weight as they should.
I do not have a set date for when I start to supplement their nutrition, I just look for the day
when they start putting on less weight or have a fall in their weight. This time the change came two days into their 4th week. Next morning they had not picked up on the weight so I started to give all five some extra milk. They were given Royal Canin "Babycat
Milk" from a 1 ml syringe (NO needle, of course !). A 1 ml syringe gave me the opportunity know exactly how much they needed, the flow is not too quick for the kittens to swallow and I would quickly see if they needed more.
Nova was still nursing, but
not enough. The weight picked up again, and they kept gaining as they should. Usually mothers will stopp cleaning the kittens' waist when they are given supplement nutrition, but neither Nova or Acey did. Yes. Acey was by this time like a second "mommy". If
she could have given them milk , she would have ! Nova seemed to be more than happy for the help given by Acey, so I let her stay with them.
Also, a reason to try to wait a few days with litter training was that the kittens were still wobbly on their
feet, I was not sure they would make it to a litter-box.
The day before they were 4 weeks old, they were moved from the nesting box to a playpen. The playpen I have is originally ment for puppies, but what works for puppies also works for kittens. It
is not too big. Ab. 122 cm x 122 cm, and 92 cm tall. It can fold together and be placed away when not needed.
From this day they were offered the Babycat milk in a small bowl together with a bowl of Royal Canin Babycat mousse. "Buddy" and "Blossom"
gave it a try at once, the rest followed the next day.
To litter-train kittens is usually really easy. As long as their space is not too large !
If you put kittens in a big room they might not find the litter box, and then they will just use
the floor. That is a good thing with a playpen. The space is not bigger than what gives the kittens a quick and good understanding of where the food is and where the toilet is.
The first evening, there was one puddle of pee outside the litter box, and
the next morning two sets of poops just outside the box. The rest of the kittens had used the box. That has been the only time I have found something outside of the litter-box. They understood from then on where the toilet was. No training, just
a small enough space where it was easy to find.
By ab. 6 weeks there is usually at least one kitten who learn to climb over the walls of the playpen to get out into the big "freedom". In this litter " Blossom" was the first, and also the only one so
far. At 6 weeks 4 days she climed the walls and jumped down on the outside of the playpen. Her 4 brothers seems envious, but none of them has made it to the top. Either they do not dare or they are just too heavy. "Blossom" is the smallest , weighing less
than her brothers. Maybee that makes it easier for her, or maybe she just have more guts than the boys ! Or is smarter !
Usually I will take the playpen away when the kittens get over the top of it, but since none of the boys have followed her example
I have kept it up for some more days. They are all let out to play in the whole open room ( hall and kitchen) when awake, but I close the playpen when they nap and at nights. It just feels safer than having five tiny kittens running around all the time. They
are still tiny,7 weeks old yesterday, but when/ if the boys climb it,too, it will be taken away.
They all eat well now , both wet food and dry food (Royal Canin "Mother and babycat" ) and they drink water from a bowl. Nova is stilling nursing them every
now and then, IF she feels like it, but they are no longer depended on her milk.
Did I litter-train them ? No, I did not.
They did it themselves, I just gave them the litter box.