fostering 4 week old kittens


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  • #20703
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    I am fostering 7 four week old kittens since their mother has gone “missing” from a friends ranch. I am having a little trouble getting them to eat. An tricks out there to get them to want to eat? What would be the best way to clean them up since they are quite dirty from living in a garage? Please keep them in your thoughts…

    #297080
    Avatar of caroline
    caroline
    Participant

    It’s hard feeding such little ones. The best way to clean them I think would be to buy some unscented baby wipes and clean them with those. A warm washcloth would work but they must be kept warm after the cleaning . They must be kept warm in a nice box with a soft towel or blanket and even a stuffed toy. Feed them a mother’s milk replacer made for kittens such as KMR or Just Born, available at any pet supply store. They are probably ready for weaning formula as well. You can try canned kitten food watered down with KMR.. Sometimes human baby food works, try chicken flavor..

    Good luck with these little ones and keep us posted.

    #297081
    Avatar of Buttercup
    Buttercup
    Participant

    I just had to foster some 3-4 week old kittens and I fed them KMR that was occasionally mixed with unflavored pedialyte(can buy at Drug stores for about $2). I bought canned kitten food but they weren’t very interested until about 7 weeks. I agree with the wipes or you can bathe the kittens quickly with dishsoap(Dawn is the best for killing fleas) just get them dry and warm quickly. They might have trouble regulating their own temp if there were only a few but with 7 they ought to be able to cuddle up as long as it’s not very cool. I placed a heat pad on low on just one side of the basket so they could move off it when they got warm. They’ll keep you busy with feedings at about every 4 or so hours. I hope the Momcat shows up.

    Thanks for doing this.

    #297082
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    Thank you for your advice. I will try and clean them up tonight. Last night for the midnight feeding they total ate 5 tablespoons. Not bad since the time before they only ate a total 2 tablespoons. This morning I got each to take one tablespoon (except one who is the runt and it ate a little over half of one). I am so hopeful that I can save as many as possible.

    #297083
    Avatar of anncetera2
    anncetera2
    Participant

    Alicia, here’s a very useful web page on how to take care of orphaned kittens.

    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1388&articleid=912

    The best way I’ve found to get kittens to want to eat is to make sure they get peed & pooped prior to feeding. Do you know how to do this? It involves a clean, warm, damp washcloth being rubbed gently in a circular motion on the anus & genitals. (This is a lot like what the mama kitty does to clean them up.)

    If these kittens really are only 4 weeks old, you’ll need to do this for them. It’s absolutely critical. If you don’t get much pee or poop from doing this before they eat, then try it after they eat.

    When you start the kittens on wet kitten food, use a saucer, mash down some wet food about 1/4 inch thick across the saucer, and then dribble kitten milk replacer all across the top of it. They should get the hang of it fairly quickly.

    As you’re getting them weaned onto kitten food (wet or dry), after they’re done eating, make sure you have a litterbox nearby, one that’s shallow enough for them to step in & out of by themselves. (A cookie sheet works well.) Use either plain clay litter or a wheat/corn/pine based litter, or finely shredded newspaper. Don’t use clumping litter; if they accidentally eat much of that, it will clump in their stomachs and create all kinds of nasty problems.

    If you get them started onto dry food, make sure that you have a shallow dish of water available to them at all times.

    Oh, and try feeding the runt more frequently than the other kitties. Monitor its intake closely.

    Good luck!!

    #297084
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    Thank you for your help Ann. Things seem to be going good right now. They have eaten about 4 tablespoons today, right in line with their weight.

    The vet gave me de-wormer since their mom was and outdoor cat. She actually is going to keep an ear out for people looking for kittens for me. I guess not too many people are willing to take on the challenge.

    Funny thing is, my husband is so allergic to them i think he is going to run through a box of tissues tonight.

    What age should I get going on the wet-food? I don’t want to do it too early since 4 of them try and suck on my fingers while getting ready to eat.

    #297085
    Avatar of Buttercup
    Buttercup
    Participant

    With my 2 it was about 6-7 weeks with one and with the other I think he would still be nursing on a bottle if I’d let him. I think I’d wait a bit longer like about a week or 2 and try to get them to drink milk out of a saucer then start adding a little wet kitten food to the milk.

    Ann might have something different to add as she’s had a lot more experience that I have. I’m so glad things are going well,I bet they keep you on your toes and hubby’s a good sport.

    #297086
    Avatar of anncetera2
    anncetera2
    Participant

    Alicia, you could try to start them on wet food now, with a layer of kitten milk replacer across the top. But it’s really up to you. Mama kitties usually start weaning their kittens when they start getting pretty mobile. (This is also usually about the time their little teeth start getting pretty sharp.)

    Also, I thought I’d mention… you can bathe them. I’d recommend bathing them in a kitchen sink (with a sprayer attachment, if you have one). No standing water, just water poured or sprayed over them. A little tiny dab of people shampoo (not baby shampoo), and rinse, rinse, rinse, until there are absolutely no bubbles coming off the rinse water anymore. Cuddle up the kitten in a towel and massage all over; after that’s saturated, switch the kitten to a dry towel and massage & cuddle some more. Make sure the kitten remains warm & draft-free until completely dry, since he or she doesn’t have a lot of ability to regulate body temperature yet.

    Bathing the kittens at least once a week will help tremendously with your husband’s allergies.

    #297087
    Avatar of MadcatwomanintheUK
    MadcatwomanintheUK
    Participant

    Hi Alicia, welcome to TDK – glad you’re getting some good advice. Your poor husband, has he got any antihistamines he could take?

    7 kittens is quite a handfull, well done you for looking after them. If possible, we would love to see some pictures!

    #297088
    Avatar of anncetera2
    anncetera2
    Participant

    Oh, one quick mention… don’t worry about the 4 kittens who still try to suck on your fingers. When some of the other kittens start lapping up the kitten milk replacer, and the wet food, the rest will usually get the idea pretty quickly.

    For wet food for 7 kittens, I’d recommend getting a dinner plate, and arranging the wet food in a ring. Then pour a little kitten milk replacer along the outside edge of that ring. That way, they all have a chance to ‘belly up to the bar’ without having to wade into the food, and the first thing they’ll encounter has a familiar taste – the kitten milk replacer.

    It usually helps with the initial sloppiness of learning how to eat from a plate, if you go ahead and put a bed sheet or towel of some sort on the floor, underneath the plate. That way, when they inevitably wade into the food a bit (which they will do), the worst gloppiness will come off when they take their first several steps on the towel/sheet.

    #297089
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    Thank you all for your help. We made it through the night without them waking us up but when they did wake up they were hungry. They all ate really good again this morning. I think I will try the ring of food tonight since I have about 2 or three that seem to be losing interest in the bottle.

    I will take pictures as soon as I get the batteries charged.

    Thank you for the hints on bathing. I think that is going to be a must for this weekend if not sooner.

    I am thinking of taking them to the vet to just have her look at them to be sure I’m not missing anything…should I do that now of wait a little bit? I am not planning on keeping more than one or two of them so I don’t want to pay for all the shots they might need since I will be giving them away…

    Thank you again.

    #297090
    Avatar of anncetera2
    anncetera2
    Participant

    It never hurts to have the vet take a quick look. You already have the de-wormer. I’d just keep a close eye on their eating, elimination, sleeping & play habits, since deviation from the norm in these matters is often one of the earliest signs of illness.

    Oh, and the lovely lady who adopted three orange littermates from me this spring? She bathes all three of them every couple of weeks. She has asthma, and it’s the very best way for her to keep it under control. Funny thing is, the cats now enjoy being bathed! (It’s the cuddling and treats afterwards that do the trick.)

    #297091
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    Here I go again with the questions. I gave them the de-wormer last night and now it seems just about everyone has pooped. Some of it was loose but no real diarrhea. Is it them getting use to the formula/2nd step stuff or more likely from the de-wormer? I am having a little scheduling issue, do you think 8 hours is too long for them to go without feeding? They are going 7 now over night…

    They are eating like little pigs (still using a bottle until this weekend).

    The runt has a little cough he does right after feeding, but at no other time. He is active and has no discharge from his nose or eyes. Do you think he just might be getting a little bit of stuff down his wind-pipe?

    I’m going to try and submit a pic I took to TDK and see if they use it.

    Thanks again.

    #297092
    Avatar of sullis
    sullis
    Participant

    Your’e doing such a kind thing Alicia! I and one of my sister’s did a kitty “time-share” around this time last year, with a little 3 1/2 week kitten she’d found (another sister subsequently adopted him, after all the hard work was over!!) This little guy ate a mush we made of KMR and canned wellness kitten food..altho for the first week or so, he would only eat it off our fingers and only after we had microwaved it( for like only 8 seconds) I brought him to a vet to get checked the 3rd day we’d had him, cuz I knew he needed worm medicine..plus he had calicivirus..and they did a “snap” test for Felv and fiv (altho they recommended a second test when he got a bit older) When the vet heard that he was an orphan, he cut the bill in half and gave us a bunch of free food, plus gave him his first round of shots for free…Maybe if you tell the vet you’re hand raising a bunch of them, he/she could help you out a bit bill-wise? If not, it may be worth it to just take the little runt in, just to save you any second-guessing?

    7 kittens!!!! That’s a labor of love! 1 little guy was a challenge for me, and I had my sister helping!!!

    #297093
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    What joy and heartache comes with this. I am at a loss. Now I think they are all coming down with an upper respiratory infection. Four have gunky eyes this morning. I can’t afford to take them all in so I have a call into the vet to see if there is a chance they could reduce the rate for me in this case.

    I guess if they can’t help my next step will be to call the Humane Society and see if they have someone they work with that would be willing to help.

    I knew this was going to be a handful but I am so afraid I might lose one now I can’t stand it. I can’t miss work but it is going to be really hard to stay at work until their noon feeding…

    #297094
    Avatar of sullis
    sullis
    Participant

    oh you poor thing! Your idea about the Humane Society is a great one..I’m hoping someone sees all the time and love you’ve put into these little guys and does some ‘pro bono’ cat care….it never hurts to ask, esp since you have so many of them..

    Sending you hugs and positive thoughts; you’re doing such a great thing Alicia

    #297095
    Avatar of anncetera2
    anncetera2
    Participant

    Alicia, I hope the vet can work with you on a reduced-rate visit to get them brought in, and find a way to get them on antibiotics (if that’s what’s needed). Especially crucial right now, is keeping them comfortably warm, and keeping an eye on their food/fluid intake and elimination habits. If they go off their food, it can send them downhill fast. Chances are good that if medication is needed, that you’ll need enough to treat all of them at once. Diseases spread quickly among kittens in the same litter.

    Also, I’d suggest that each time you feed them, take 7 paper towels and dampen each one with a solution of warm water and a tiny bit of antibacterial liquid soap (like 1 or 2 drops for a pint of water). Wipe each kitten’s nose & eyes to keep them clear; use a different paper towel per kitten, so as not to spread the infection to all of them, if possible. Also, you might keep a hand towel dampened with hot water & a mild bleach solution nearby, and a dry towel too, to clean your hands between handling each kitten.

    Good luck! I hope you’re able to get them to the vet soon. The quicker this is nipped in the bud, the better.

    #297096
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    Happy update…First, the kittens all weigh between 8 and 14 ounces. The vet says they are right at about 4 weeks since they do not have teeth yet (just starting to show). I have 4 boys and 3 girls. One kitten is on topical steroids for a small anus issue. All of them are on an antibiotic for the diarrhea and to help ward off some other issues. They only charged me for one office visit (it made me want to cry). They said we are doing everything okay and to just keep going. Now I might be able to sleep tonight and not wake up with every cry.

    #297097
    Avatar of neelaANDcharlie
    neelaANDcharlie
    Participant

    are you new?????

    #297098
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    Yes and no…I have been a fan of Daily Kitten for years but just recently needed help so I posted for the first time…

    #297099
    Avatar of Buttercup
    Buttercup
    Participant

    Wow that’s great Alicia,you’re doing a wonderful job. Hand raising 7 kittens is a lot of work.

    #297100
    Avatar of anncetera2
    anncetera2
    Participant

    You’re doing great, Alicia! That’s very good news about the kittens, and I’m glad the vet was so nice about seeing them. I hope they continue to improve. Weaning/litter box training is a tough and sometimes messy stage to get through, but I’m sure you’ll do great!

    #297101
    Avatar of sullis
    sullis
    Participant

    That’s great news Alicia!! And hugs to your vet for being a nice person! 7 kittens is a big challenge..you’re a superstar for doing this for them!

    #297102
    Avatar of jcat
    jcat
    Participant

    Good on your vet but most of all, good on you. Being mum to seven unweaned kittens is hard work, and you’re wonderful for taking it on, but I’m sure they’ll repay you with humungous amounts of love and fun!

    #297103
    Avatar of Momof6furrballs
    Momof6furrballs
    Participant

    Okay…I have photos…i hope this works

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/31111977@N05/

    #297104

    Alicia, the kittens are adorable!!!! They look like they are doing very well. Thank you for taking such great care of these sweet little furballs!!

    #297105
    Avatar of miu
    miu
    Participant

    Alicia, kudos to you! They are so cute – they seem to thrive. :)

    #297106
    Avatar of MadcatwomanintheUK
    MadcatwomanintheUK
    Participant

    Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

    IwantIwantIwantIwant!!!

    #297107
    Avatar of sullis
    sullis
    Participant

    omg…how cute!! Little tiny furballs! With a big stuffed kitty; that is just adorable…you must be doing absolutely everything right, cuz they all look great!!!!

    #297108
    Avatar of Buttercup
    Buttercup
    Participant

    Oh my goodness they are adorable! You are doing so well!

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