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                                  Post-natal care

The new born kittens are totally dependent on the mother and should be kept somewhere warm and quiet. Keep a watch on the kittens, particularly if the mother is inexperienced but as longs as she is healthy she will do all that is necessary.

The best advice is to be careful not to cross the fine line between helping and interfering. A new litter of kittens is irresistible but you must be aware that your handling of the kittens may not be to the liking of the new mother. You could be doing more harm than good by constantly picking up the kittens and interfering when the mother is feeding them. You need to remember that wild cats have managed to look after their litters quite successfully on their own and your good intentions may not be appreciated.

Once the kittens have finished suckling, the mother will wash them all over. She will also lick the kittens' bottom to stimulate excretion of waste products. She will do this until the kittens start to eat solid food.

The kitten kneads the mother's body with its paws to stimulate the flow of milk. If the kittens are restless and cry a lot, this may be a sign that the mother is not producing enough milk. Consult the vet if you are worried about this.

The mother will always be close by listening out for the kittens or sitting near them. She will be very protective of them, particularly towards other animals and you try to keep them away as much as possible.

Continue to feed the mother as much food as she wants - she will not overeat and always provide fresh drinking water.

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