Nala, Zazu, Simba, Sarabi and Mufasa arrived at Gut Aiderbichl Henndorf as 10-day-old kittens. The mother cat had not adopted them all.
Now the tiny, delicate kittens came into the care of the Aiderbichl animal keepers, who of course could not replace the mother cat, but showed no hesitation in helping the little ones.
Human cat mums can ...
The cubs can of course not replace their natural mothers, but our animal keepers have already had the best practice in hand-rearing them. The rearing process is laborious and requires a lot of patience and love. The best thing would be a replacement mum cat, but you can't find one on every corner. If she accepts the kitten, a bitch could also be the surrogate mother.
Neither one nor the other was available
So baskets with higher edges and warm blankets were prepared to keep the little babies warm. Cat puppies cannot regulate their body temperature themselves in the first days after birth. So this has to be checked regularly and often has to be helped with heat pads, hot water bottles, cherry stone pillows or heat lamps.
We did not have the important mother's milk at hand. This makes raising animal babies difficult because the mother's milk contains the many important substances for the animals' immune system.
The regular supply of fluids and nutrients is very important because kittens dehydrate very quickly and become hypoglycaemic.
So the animal keepers used all their knowledge to keep the little ones alive. They fed them and were able to take over the care that under normal circumstances would have been done by the mother cat, and they also gave them physical contact. Every now and then a kitten crawled under the work jacket - there it is especially nice and warm and cosy.
We took the little kittens to the vet almost every day during the first week. They were examined regularly and given an infusion with glucose to regain their strength. They were fed every two hours and given fennel tea with a pipette to help with digestion, and intestinal restorative powder was mixed into the replacement milk. And after eating, we cuddled, massaged their tummies and talked quietly to them until we went back into the warm blankets.
The nights were short
The nurses took turns to take the babies home overnight, as they needed to be fed and massaged. The kittens were also having problems defecating, so they were helped with a gentle tummy massage to activate the little intestines. Everyone tried their best to keep Nala, Zazu, Simba, Sarabi and Mufasa alive. Our motto is: every life is worth keeping alive.
Simba, Sarabi and Mufasa ran out of steam
Three kittens did not make it, and all the staff were affected and saddened. But it is also clear that no effort and no short night was in vain, because the young lives of five kittens were at stake.
Nala and Zazu made it, and after about five weeks they demanded "real" cat food. Slowly and in small steps, the diet was changed and at some point Nala and Zazu wanted to show how strong they had become: they tripped on their little soft paws to the food bowl on their own. That's when the smiles came back to the animal keepers' faces.
A happy home for Nala and Zazu
The two little "fighters" were supposed to find a nice home with lovely people, which is exactly what happened. And now it's about the education of the little purring ones. Have fun!
"A cat's eyes are windows that let us look into another world" - Let's wish Nala and Zazu a healthy, happy, long cat life and their new owners lovely, cosy hours with their new family members.
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