Why is it important for kittens to nurse and get colostrum?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra,

Why is important for a kitten to nurse right after it is born?

Gage M. 6th grade.


Hi Gage– thanks for your email. Baby kittens (Neonates) should receive colostrum from the queen (their mom) within 12 to 16 hours of birth.

Colostrum is the milk produced right after delivery of the kittens. It is high in carbohydrates, protein and antibodies. The antibodies are important as they help protect the kitten from harmful viruses and bacteria. The colostrum also has some bacteria that is normal and helpful to the kittens digestive tract.

Commercial milk replacers can be used to feed kittens however it is important that kittens get that initial colostrums if possible.

An article that might be helpful to you is Care of Orphan Kittens.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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