Sometimes due to circumstances beyond your control, you can find yourself having to raise not one or two, but a whole litter of orphaned kittens. If they are newborn kittens, chances are they will be suckling each other, especially if there are male kittens in the litter. So when this happens, besides thinking to yourself “Ewwww!” What do you do?
First off, you separate them. I know, it sounds cruel, but once they start suckling on each other, they will not stop easily. Try putting them in a large container with low sides and dividers between them. This way, they can smell and hear each other and not be completely isolated.
Don’t be disgusted with their behavior; suckling is a perfectly natural reaction with newborn kittens. They go for what feels the most natural to them to suck, which is unfortunately any male genitalia they can find.
To help with their comfort while the kittens are separated, make a couple of sock rice heaters and put these homemade heaters inside their cubicles with each kitten. Make sure you keep the same sock heater with the same kitten and keep warming the heaters up in the microwave any time you have to change out the soiled bedding, they will implant their scent on the sock and it will calm them down.
If you do not separate the suckling kittens, you could be facing wounds leading to abscesses, very difficult to treat in newborn kittens. On other areas of the kitten being suckled skin irritations will soon appear if left unchecked. You can try putting some Bitter Apple on the areas being suckled on, but it does not always work. Other rescuers recommend using your finger as a replacement for what the kitten is suckling, but the best thing to do is to separate the kittens. Generally, it is the runt of the litter being suckled on. The stronger kittens will push the runt to the bottom of the pile where it will be urinated on and suckled. For the health and well-being of the runt, the kitten should be extracted from the litter and the rest of the kittens also should be separated. Using the rice heaters, snugglekittie or other soft dog toy in with each kitten will deliver them the comfort they need to grow up strong and healthy.