How to Tell if Newborn Kittens Are Getting Enough to Eat

If they're getting enough to eat, they'll gain weight every single day.
If they're getting enough to eat, they'll gain weight every single day. (Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

If your beloved feline just had a litter of kittens, you may want to keep an eye on her newborns. She should be producing all of the milk she needs to feed her infants, although some felines don’t produce enough milk or run out before all the kittens have full bellies. Monitor your little fluffballs carefully to ensure they’re eating enough, otherwise you may have to step in and bottle feed them some of their meals.

Gaining Weight

Newborn kittens should be gaining weight -- an obvious sign that your pint-sized pals are getting enough to eat. Typically kittens weigh roughly 3.5 ounces at birth, according to the ASPCA. If they’re eating well, they’ll continue to gain 0.25 to 0.5 ounces every day until fully weaned off of milk, which occurs around 8 to 10 weeks of age.

Going Potty

Follow the old rule of thumb: What goes in must come out. If your mewing buddies are eating regularly, they’ll be going potty around the clock as well. Mama kitty will lick each of their rear ends after every feeding, but if she isn’t around, you can mimic the motion by rubbing their hind quarters for several seconds with a warm wet washcloth. Kittens may urinate or defecate almost immediately, although this isn’t always the case. It’s perfectly normal for newborn kitties to skip a day between bowel movements, but they should be urinating daily. If one of your fuzzy critters isn’t going potty, it could be a sign that he isn’t eating enough and might need to be seen by the vet immediately.

Crying Stops

You’ll know when your furry housemates need food. As soon as you walk in the room you’ll hear their high-pitched mews, alerting you that they are hungry. After they are fully satisfied from nursing or bottle feeding, their crying should stop. However, if any of them crawl around crying or start sucking on themselves, they could still be hungry. Maybe mama cat ran out of milk or they didn’t get enough from the bottle. You'll want to make another batch of formula for the bottle if your queen isn't up for nursing at the moment.

High Activity Level

Well-fed growing kitties should be more and more active with each passing day. During their first few weeks of life, kittens should be waddling and crawling around. By 3 to 4 weeks of age, they should be able to lift themselves up off the ground and actually walk. If you notice that baby Johnny isn’t walking around much, while his litter mates are out exploring the playpen, he might not be eating adequately, slowing down his development.

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