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Do I re-home my blind kitten and his brother? I'm so frustrated!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here's their sad story......I rescused two sickly 6 week old siblings from a well meaning but basically incompetent and disgusting family about 3 months ago. The mother cat (who is also sick) had a litter of 4 and only two survived, but just barely. When I rescused them, one kitten had no eyes because they were infected, bleeding, pulpy meat and he had no body hair due to severe ringworm. His brother's eyes were infected ahd he also had ringworm. Their conditions were so severe that I expected to find dead kittens the next day. I brought them home and cared for them through 6 weeks of ringworm treatments (3x a week baths, daily medicine, weekly lyme dip). For those of you familar with this fungus, it's a nightmare to treat because it's so infectious (I have a dog and a toddler at home). Of course, they had every other kinds of worms -- tape, hook, round, and scabies.

After an intensive care by me (thank goodness I was taking a work sabbitical), which took the form of eye removal for the first cat (Norbu), very costly middle of the night emergency room visit for his brother(Yama) for respitory infection, and various vet visits, which all tallied over $3,500, I feel like I now have healthy, adorable almost 5 month old kittens.

BUT.....here's where I despair and need experienced cat owner's advice. They can't seem to poop without stepping on it. First the blind cat Norbu. He poops and tries to cover it but in the process of turning around to cover, he steps in it. His brother Yama is better about it (maybe because he's not blind?) but always has poop stuck to his bottom and his fur. I cut the fur around his bottom but it doesn't help. I found him yesterday with poop stuck to his head. Every day is poop clean up or baths. I feel like my house is contaminated, even though I keep them in the kitchen when I can't be with them. No one is allowed in the kitchen because they track poop all over the floor. Today, Yama used the litter and was running around and rolling on my couch with huge poop stuck all over his bottom. The blind cat Norbu stepped in his poop right before my dinner and I had to wash him. Needlessly to say, I was not hungry.

Expert cat owners....what do I do? I can't keep up this pace. They each poop 2x/day, which is 4 clean ups or baths. I'll be going back to work soon and I need to get this resolved. Obviously, they can't be let out when I'm not home. My job will be demanding and the last thing I want is to come home to a poopy house or kitchen, especially with a toddler. I feel like I invested so much time, energy and money, it'll be a complete waste to give them up. Even if I did, who would want kittens that is covered with s*** all the time. I adore them but this situation needs to get better asap because I can't handle this problem anymore, it's been too time consuming.

I look forward to your kind advise.
post #2 of 18
I see two issues that you are dealing with & that impact each other.

First, they are still babies. And they were very ill to begin with, but thanks to your wonderful care they have a new life. Did I mention they are young babies? And being blind just compounds the problem for Norbu.
The other important issue that they were separated from their mother before she could teach them their manners. Not that you have rude cats, they just don't know any better. Any chance of exposure to a grown cat that can model the correct behavior for them?
post #3 of 18
My Damita is blind & still steps in her poo once in awhile. It is a sight issue. They will outgrow it. IMO, it would be silly to re-home them because of stepping in their own poo.

I think, you need to look at health aspect.
What are they eating?
Have they been dewormed?
Is the poop loose?
post #4 of 18
I think it's pretty standard for kittens that age to still have a few potty cleanliness issues. Although it sounds like they are a little behind (given the severity of the issue), which is most likely due to their sicknesses and the blindness.

I'd give it time. They should grow out of this. It may help to have an older motherly cat that would help keep them clean and show them what to do. But...then again, it might not help.

Tre didn't figure out how to clean himself until he was almost 7 months old!!! Of course, now he's obsessed and cleans everybody.
post #5 of 18
Firstly, they are babies, and babies learn and grow out of things. We got Cleo at 4 months old. She was the same. When she was picked up, she could not open her eyelids, the vet found her eyes were shrivelled up and dead, they had to be removed. Now she's roughly 18 months old and she climbs screen doors, jumps up and down from chairs/couches/tables, she knows where everything is and she is very good at finding objects.

What i mean to say is, give it time, you will be surprised that most kittens turn our to be very intelligent and quick even with a disability.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
To answer some questions about my kittens health: My kittens are eating EVO (blind one was gaining so much weight, I changed to Wellness but they both had diarreah for over a week so I changed back to Evo) and have been de-wormed twice and currently worm free. Their poop is firm enough I suppose but could be firmer.

I suppose at the end of the day, I was looking for some words of encouragement that this episode will be over and I will have normal kittens without poop problem. So thanks everyone for sharing your experience (as I write this, Yama the non-blind one came out of the litter box with poop smeared bottom and paw )

If anyone else has experienced something similar to this (blind cat or not), I would love to hear from you. It'll keep me going through many dark days of clean ups and baths.
post #7 of 18
Just a couple of things that come to my mind. How big is the litter box? If it's too small the kittens may not have enough room to turn around without stepping in the poo. How often do you scoop the box? When I have kittens (rescue) I scoop, at least, three times a day, they can't step in what's not there. Also, keep a generous two to three inches of litter in the box. Hope this helps.
post #8 of 18
I definately think they will outgrow the poop problems. I had an orphan litter who did the same thing with poop, and were so confused about the litter box, but they eventually figured it all out and grew up to be perfectly normal cats. I did bathe those kittens a lot, tho! And there were 5 of them. Their illness has probably put them behind schedule, as was suggested earlier. Poor little babies, you are an angel for them! They started life without any chance, you are a true rescuer!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

In reponse to KittyHaMe questions, I scoop each time they poop, as well as morning and evening so I can scoop upwards to 6 times a day. Litter has plenty of depth (I'm almost wondering if too high litter is contributing to the problem of smeared poop. Maybe litter is so high poop is touch is bottom?).

I tried looking for a huge litter box and I can't find one with a lid (they need the lid as litter and poop flies all over the box). Does anyone have a recommendation? I'm currently using a jumbo size box with a cover but I like to try something really big with a lid.

Thanks for your encouraging words. I can't tell you how helpful this is to my mental health. Please feel free to post with suggestions/ideas/ or questions for me. Huge thanks!
post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by Norbu_Yama Mom View Post
I tried looking for a huge litter box and I can't find one with a lid (they need the lid as litter and poop flies all over the box). Does anyone have a recommendation? I'm currently using a jumbo size box with a cover but I like to try something really big with a lid.
Look into either Rubbermaid or Sterilite storage bins and cut an opening in them to come and go. Many folks on this site use them with great success for their "litter flingers".

I've never had a blind cat, but have had orphaned kittens that had issues with learning how to clean themselves. They eventually modeled their behavior from the adult cats in the house.
post #11 of 18
Awwww bless their little hearts, what an angel you are for caring for them

I hope you do decide to keep them. My Jack is 5 months old, and he can still stand in his poop now and again, but he's getting better as he grows.

I'm sure as time goes by, Norbu will know exactly how and where to stand so as to avoid his "packages", because cat's are known for being clean

If you have any pictures of them post them in fur pics for us to see?!
post #12 of 18
You are SO kind to do so much for Norbu and Yama. Really, these little kittens would have absolutely no chance without you. Even though it sounds like this is very hard on you, I bet these two sweethearts love you more than you know.

Not many people would have given them such great care and such a great chance at life. It must be so difficult to get to this point, where they are medically out of the woods and becoming healthy....and then to have to deal with this. I would be really frustrated too!

It sounds like you really love them, though. I really think that with time they'll improve.

One thing that the other's mentioned was finding an adult cat that could help 'coach' them in the ways of being a cat. I know it's a bit of added trouble for you but maybe you can foster a cat for a rescue shelter for a while, one that perhaps recently had kittens or one that loves other cats.

When I was younger my family rescued three boy kittens, all brothers and one older brother from an earlier litter from our irresponsible neighbors. The boys were quite young to be away from their mother but their older brother took over the duty of teaching them catly behaviors. He would follow them to their litter box, check to make sure they covered their messes. If they didn't he'd bat them in the head and then tidy it up himself.

One thing to consider rather than constant baths is Kitty Wipes! I use them and they are great. They come in a little plastic bin and are already damp. I wipe my little guy down pretty frequently, clean his eye goop and wipe his paws.

Another thing to try on your furniture/carpet is getting it steam cleaned and then get it scotchguarded. Maybe that will help with clean ups?

Anyways, I would love to see photos of your babies. Hang in there ok? You're doing a great thing!
post #13 of 18
I agree that them being young kittens is part of it.

It might be helpful to add some extra fiber to their diet; try asking your vet about the right kind of supplement for them. I use psyllium husk powder that comes in capsules for cats (it's identical to Metamucil and can be mixed into wet food). If the stool were firm you wouldn't have as much problem. Since it's sticking to their fur, it sounds like it's loose.

Also, a large litter mat placed under the litter box might help reduce tracking.

Is either kitten long-haired? If so, more grooming might prevent hair from being ingested and causing problems at the other end.
post #14 of 18
I had a problem with my older cat about a year ago and the litter box. She wasn't a flinger of litter... but she had stopped squating and would um... over shoot the box. She was always a cat the refused covered litter boxes. I am not sure if something like this would work for you or not, but I am guessing if the blind little guy can find the door on a covered box... perhaps. I got a high sides box for her it was a rather large box but the sides were much higher and had a lower entrance. It solved that particular problem for me. I will warn you though when I got Jack, I had to stop using it... at about 4 months now... he tries to balance on the sides as a perch (not while he is using it) and knocks it over.

Oh, and if it comforts you any Jack who is finally healthy and recovered from his early misfortunes... still has some issues with not cleaning all the poop off his rear, he doesn't clean himself right after use of the box. For a while never cleaned himself at all and tracked it everywhere from stepping in it. My guess is that the other posters may be correct... just a matter of time and experience for them to get it. Do they clean themselves otherwise on their own?
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
Thanks to those who replied. I really appreciate knowing what some of you went through (worse than my situation) and I have developed a whole new respect for those who rescue.

I have switched their diet from Evo to Wellness to Fromm's Duck and Veg. Their poop is getting a bit firm but not quiet firm so it's still sticking to one of the kittens bottom. Since they are on dry food, do you think I can add powder as recommended by emmylou or do I need to put them on canned food?

I'm guessing I'll have to deal with them stepping in their poop for a while longer. Can anyone share with me how long this may last? I guess I'm wondering when they will outgrow their kitten stage and start becoming more hygenic. They do lick their fur but I'm not sure if this means they are cleaning themselves.
post #16 of 18
Some kittens are SO slow. Tre would clean and clean and clean himself...except he'd be cleaning his arm, face, stomach while he had chunks of poop stuck to his butt.

He finally figured out proper grooming techniques...but it took a while. I don't think he was a REALLY good cleaner until around 7 months. Up until that time, I'd still periodically find poop in his hair.
post #17 of 18
Some kittens are SO slow. Tre would clean and clean and clean himself...except he'd be cleaning his arm, face, stomach while he had chunks of poop stuck to his butt.
Puppy had the same problem. We got him at one year old, and it took him another year before he stopped doing this. Granted, he's very slow.

Our solution was that every time we saw him with poo on his butt, one person picks him up and flips him over (he doesn't like this at all). The other person attacks him with a wet paper towel, making sure to get him rather more wet than he likes. He kicks a lot thoughout this.

However, now that he's wet, he decides to clean himself. Eventually, he learns that this doesn't happen if he cleans himself right away.

Bunny never had this problem, but she also lived in a foster home for 6 months with many older cats.
post #18 of 18
I don't know if I'd switch to wet food just to get the fiber powder in... though it could be that the cats would do better with more wet food in their diet. You could mix the fiber into a small amount of wet food each day.

Yes, wetting a kitten's rear with a washcloth or a wipe when it's dirty will encourage it to clean itself more... could speed up your kittens learning that skill. It mimics the licking the mother cat would do.
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