15 February, 2010 at 9:32 am #35717
Hello to all of you!
I’m new to the world of cats and as well as this forum. I was just wondering if I could get some advice from you all…
I recently found a pair of newborn kittens at my workplace. I want to say that they were probably a day or two old (umbilical cord was dried up, but still attached) when I found them. I’ve had them for a total of six days now, so that would make them about a week old. After doing some major research on multiple websites, I learned how care for an orphaned kitten.
I do all the usual things like feeding them every couple of hours and helping them go to the bathroom. I keep them in a warm cardboard box with a heat lamp and blankets. I sometimes drape a damp rag partially over the box to help keep the humidity up. Am I doing everything right? I’m hoping that I’m keeping these kittens healthy and happy.
There are a few things that I am concerned about, though…
My kittens’ bellies seem to be pretty round. I gently felt it to see how firm it was and it doesn’t feel all that firm. It’s pretty soft and the kittens don’t seem to mind the slight squeeze so I’m glad that they’re not in any kind of pain. I’ve read that there could be numerous causes for a bloated belly: too much air in the stomach, worms, and constipation. I’m just not sure what it could be! I’m hoping that it’s not something serious and that it could be treated right away. One of the kittens did poop earlier today, but the poop was firmer than usual (but not solid) and had more shape to it like adult poop… I was concerned that he could possibly be constipated. He had no trouble getting it to come out though. Just a second or two of rubbing his bottom and it all came out in two pieces. The second kitten on the other hand hasn’t pooped since the day before last. The thing is, his butt gets suckled on by the other kitten once in a while, so I don’t know if he IS in fact pooping and that the other kitten is just cleaning up the evidence.
Do kittens usually keep quite if they’re not hungry? I think I might have overfed them today (maybe that’s why their tummies are so round). They were moving around quite a bit and mewing through the evening, but would never cry for long periods of time. I can usually tell if they’re crying for food or if they’re just simply making random sounds. They’ve been silent for a few hours now… sleeping away and purring occasionally. Is this something I should worry about? My parents are telling me that as long as they’re not crying, they’re fine. I don’t know if I should take their word for it because neither of them have raised kittens from such a young age.
Any other tips and advice you may have will be greatly appreciated! I need all the help I can get!
Sorry for such a long post.
Thanks in advance!
Lisha15 February, 2010 at 9:38 am #538361
Hi Lisha and welcome to TDK!
Bless you for taking care of these little orphans! Sounds like you are being a great meowmy! I’m not a kitten expert but later there will be people online to offer support, guidance and resources. I hope you will stick around and keep us updated on the babies and let us get to know you, too!15 February, 2010 at 10:01 am #538362
Welcome to TDK Lish. Thank you for rescuing the two wee kittens and looking after them. It can’t be an easy job. If you click on a pink tag on the top right of the page you will find other threads that have dealt with the same problem you are having. Try the poop tag and there will be advice there for you.
I don’t know where you are located but as it’s night time in the US where the majority of TDKers are from it will be quiet for a while.15 February, 2010 at 10:08 am #538363
Hi, Lish, sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job! You’re probably already overloaded with helpful websites but I’ll add a few more, just in case. The first one, in particular, is very good:
We have some great and very experienced kitty foster mums on here so keep checking back for more answers.
Where are you? (I’m in New Zealand). If the kittens were found at your workplace from a stray or feral mother, it’s very likely they have worms. I wouldn’t worry about it yet, if everything else seems to be going well, as they’re much too young to be dewormed — what do other TDKers think?
If one of the kitties pooped, then he’s definitely not constipated! As for the other kitten, I wouldn’t worry yet, he has the tiniest stomach and is only on liquid so there’s not much to come out — also his sibling may well be cleaning up the evidence, as his mother would have.
I would say, if they’re sleeping and purring occasionally, then they’re fine and you’re being the perfect foster mum! Little and often is how they have to be fed when they’re this young, their little tummies are so tiny and if they had their mum, they would just be latched on to her teats almost all the time, alternately snoozing and feeding. It really does sound like you’re doing an amazing job. Hope other TDKers jump in soon. Bless you for taking on such an awesome responsibility and saving these little ones’ lives!15 February, 2010 at 10:13 am #538364
This information (from the first website I gave you, http://www.messybeast.com) may help to reassure you:
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT
Note: premature kittens or kittens which have suffered a setback (infection etc) may be two – three weeks behind in their development.
Birth – fourteen days: neonatal period.
Body systems are at an early stage of development and unable to cope with stress. The most critical period is the first 36 hours. Neonates are born scraggy, but normally fill out within 24 hours and double their birth weight in 1-2 weeks. 90% of the time is spent sleeping or suckling. They should be relaxed and sometimes twitch in their sleep. When awake, they search vigorously for a teat (they can smell the teat). Eyes and ears are closed. They initially move with a swimming motion and start learning to walk once their eyes open.
Kittens cry if they feel pain, are too hot, too cold or are hungry. Crying kittens should be attended to promptly. Continuous crying causes exhaustion which is fatal. They cannot control their own body temperature and are dependent on the environmental temperature. Hypothermia (chilling) is a common cause of death. Hyperthermia (heat-stroke) is also he fatal. They like to nestle up to something soft and form may kitten heaps with siblings – this helps to conserve heat.
Newborns have a good sense of taste and should have a strong suck reflex. The suck reflex is actually developed before the kitten is born – premature kittens are often able to suckle. A young kitten has a tiny stomach which can only hold a small quantity of food. It needs frequent, regular, small feeds and cannot survive for long without adequate fluids.
They cannot pass urine or faeces unaided. The first bowel motion is the tar-like meconium and has accumulated in the bowel before birth. It is sterile because the kitten’s gut has not yet been colonised by bacteria. Early faeces is derived from milk and is dark yellow which gradually changes to a yellow-brown as the kitten grows.15 February, 2010 at 10:25 am #538365
Wow, so much info. I dont have time right now to read everything thats been said, I’ll just try to answer some of the most prominent issues you’ve raised with your kittens. Bloating: one thing that I’ve learned over the years, and its not on any of the websites, is that you have to burp the kittens like you would burp any human baby after feeding. I always sit them up straight on my knee, support their necks and chests with my one hand, and just gently stroke them over their backs in up-down motions. The burp always happens fairly quickly, so if you are spending more than a minute or two rubbing their backs with no burp, there probably isnt a burp to be had. Another issue with bloating is that its almost guaranteed that they will have worms. It is passed on through the bloodstream from the momma cat – my vet has a liquid dewormer that is safe to use on kittens from newborn age upwards, so you might want to check that out. And then as far as them eating & sleeping – its normal for the stage of development they are in at the moment. Treasure it, it wont last much longer. Pretty soon they are going to be constantly mewling and wandering around, looking for you, so that you can devote all your time and energy to worshipping them I always say a happy kitten is one with a full belly, they are always sleeping in the first 2 weeks after feeds. If they cry a lot, you should be concerned, as this is always a very good indicator of something being wrong. As far as the one kitten suckling on the other one, thats not a good thing, as they can and will over-suck on each other, causing the skin to become raw & irritated. Its best to seperate them with a rolled up towel or something inside the box. They will still be able to hear and smell each other, and I always find that this problem resolves itself once their eyes have been open for a few days. Good luck!15 February, 2010 at 10:29 am #538366
Oh yes, one more thing: dont over feed them, its very dangerous. 2ml milk maximum for their age at this stage.15 February, 2010 at 10:33 am #538367
There you go, Sky’s answer is all you need She is our resident raising expert!15 February, 2010 at 11:34 am #538368
Wow, such prompt replies! You all are so awesome. Thank you so much for the info and support.
So, just to clarify… I should check with my vet to see if he has some kind of deworming medication for newborns. If he doesn’t, I should wait until the kittens of age to receive their shots. I should be feeding the kittens frequently throughout the day, but in small portions. I should also burp them after every meal.
How many feedings per day would you recommend? And the frequency? I will keep in mind that I should only feed them 2ml at a time. I was getting a little confused because the instructions on the KMR formula container stated that the kittens should be fed a total of two ounces of formula for every four ounces of body weight. At the same time, the websites were stating that they should be fed six/eight/twelve times a day. That is probably why I’ve been feeding them too much in one sitting. Now I know that less quantity per feeding and more feedings per day is the way to go.
Forgive me for not working on my profile yet! As soon as I registered on TDK, I went straight to posting my entry because I was getting so worried about my kittens. I will work on my profile as soon as I get the chance. I’m from Hawaii and it’s actually 1:40 in the morning so I should be getting to bed soon!
Again, each an every one of you who have replied to my post has been very helpful to me. I also feel so relieved that I’m doing a good job at keeping my kittens healthy. I’m glad I joined TDK! It is such a good feeling knowing that there are people like all of you who are willing to help others.15 February, 2010 at 3:09 pm #538369
Out of experience I have learned the value of journalling the progress of my kittens. Its hard to keep track of who does what & how often, especially when you have multiple litters to look after. Happened to me once – had 3 2week olds and 4 newborns to to take care of, was chaos to say the least. The most important things i write down at the beginning and end of each day is how much they weigh and how much they ate for that day. You have to ideally co-ordinate the amount they eat with how much they weigh. This isnt an issue for kittens who eat well, but it is very important when you have a kitty who isnt suckling well. If you google the terms ‘hand rearing kittens’ and ‘sarah hartwell’, it will come up with the article I always refer to when I have babies to raise. Sorry, cant remember the html right now.15 February, 2010 at 3:11 pm #538370
The article has the weight-food ratio thing in it.15 February, 2010 at 7:04 pm #538371
Welcome, Lish, it sounds like you are taking excellent care of your new babies. Besides the other suggestions you’ve been given, here’s one that hasn’t been mentioned yet:
Take pictures! Lots and lots of pictures! Not only would we love to see the kittens, but you will be amazed at how fast they grow up. If you don’t take pictures now(every day is not too often), you will regret it later.15 February, 2010 at 8:11 pm #538372
Hello, again! Here is a picture of my little kittens… this was taken the second night I had them.
I’m starting to get concerned again! The kittens have slept through the night without a single cry. They haven’t eaten since. I did feed them 6 times yesterday so they probably got the adequate amount food… plus I was probably feeding them too much per sitting… About 3ml each time, rather than 2ml. The good thing is that they’re purring constantly, breathing normally, and their tummies are not as bloated as they were yesterday. I’ve researched kittens who sleep more than usual and some say that it could be due to a growth spurt.15 February, 2010 at 8:29 pm #538373
I have absolutely no advice, but have to tell you the picture is beyond precious !!!15 February, 2010 at 9:42 pm #538374
Welcome Lish!!!! I am not a kitten expert as I adopt older cats, but you will get alot of good advice on this site! The picture is SO adorable!!! Aloha to you…..I lived on the Big Island for a year ) I wish you the best of luck!
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