On many occasions kittens are found and brought to us who are very young. We have successfully hand reared kittens from as young as a couple of hours old !
Sometimes they are found abandoned by their mother for a variety of reasons. The mother may have been killed while raising her young or, occasionally with feral mothers in poor health, they do not survive the birth.
Hand rearing is done by some of our trained, specialist volunteers. It is extremely time consuming and delicate and requires a high level of dedication. The correct food mixture and hydration is of paramount importance, as is hygiene of the equipment and cleanliness of the kitten during the hand feeding period.
Hand feeding with a syringe, dropper or bottle is a very intricate process as monitoring the amount taken by the kitten is vital. As their little bodies are not yet fully formed incorrect feeding can force liquid into the lungs and choke them ! It requires a very steady hand and an understanding of the process.
Even with the best care and attention there are sometimes heartbreaks and the kitten will not survive. Some are just too weak to thrive and sometimes congenital birth conditions are against us.
Most do survive this difficult time though and it is most rewarding to see the kitten that you have nurtured practically from birth go to a good and loving home.
Hand reared kittens are usually very special (especially to the person who hand reared them !) as they have been handled with love and care from the minute of their birth and are very gentle, people orientated, and make wonderful companions.