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VERY young kitten help please!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I posted a few nights ago in regards to the near-feral cat I'm trying to domesticate. Well, it seems I found the solution, or maybe I should say, the solution found me. Just yesterday, a baby kitten was also put into my care. The next-to-feral cat INSTANTLY warmed up to her, AND me... He almost acts like parent to her. She was playing with some of the wires to my surround sound in my tv room, and before I could even get up and move her, he was pushing her away from them... lol

Now, however, I'm having some kitten troubles... she is by FAR the smallest and youngest kitten I've ever been put in charge of. Hence the name I've given her, Shrimp. I've read mixed opinions about this in online FAQs and other references, so I thought I'd ask where the real experts seem to hang out.

She is old enough to eat actual food. She should still be nursing, which I'll get to here in a moment, but, as far as food goes, I'm completely stuck. If I feed her the soft, canned, moist food, she eats so fast that it upsets her stomach and gives her diarrhea (She is very litterbox aware and makes sure to use it every time surprisingly). If I feed her solid kitten chow (like out of the bag).. the chewy stuff of course, she doesn't eat as fast therefore doesn't get sick, but it literally hurts ME listening to her try to chew that food. And like I said, thats not even your typical hard bag food. Thats the moist chewy kind. She REALLY needs to put on some weight, and she eats more often if its canned, but that can't be helping her gain weight if she develops diarrhea from eating it so fast. I've seen another kitten that ate it too fast, except she would throw up after her meals. So first question, what should I do about the food situation?

And second, she VERY rarely drinks the water I have put out for them. She DOES drink it, but like I said, its rare and very little. It doesn't seem to be effecting her health THUS FAR but I'm a bit concerned that she doesn't drink more. Also, this morning, I got up to grab some more cereal, and when I got back into my living room from my kitchen, she had literally climbed up my coffee table, and got on top of it. And she was up on her back legs, with her head inside of my milk glass drinking my milk. So obviously she would prefer nursing on her mother's milk as opposed to going to water already (I do give them RO bottled water, by the way). Although, I've been told (I don't know how much of this is true, because I have no experience with kittens quite this young...any I've helped were already to the point of drinking water regularly) that the replacement formula stuff for nursing kittens can be bad for them and often can cause UTI's... is that true, and should I just keep her on water hoping she'll adjust, or should I get her going on that formula ASAP???

just FYI - having her nurse from her mother is out of the question. Nothing is known about her for certain, or the mother. The person who found her literally had to stop traffic on a fairly busy gravel road and put her in the car because she was out there alone dodging traffic, no houses nearby, but believe me, she is far from being scared of humans... she slept on my shoulder most of last night... lol
post #2 of 11
I would give her kitten formula in a clean jar lid first off, and add some vitamin supplement to her diet which you can get from any vet or good pet supply store. (buy the liquid). Also while you are at the good pet supply store buy some Royal Canin Babycat 34 Small morsels especially designed for tiny kitty teeth. Any food change regardless will give her the runs plus she could also be wormy. She needs to see a vet and he will tell you how old she is and if she can be treated for parasites. He will also have a kitty dose of flea treatment for her. Don't put anything you can buy over the counter for fleas on her- it is to dangerous. She sounds like a preemie. www.kitten-rescue.com might help you with other questions.
post #3 of 11
Buy some kitten milk or something. That's what the SPCA told us to give it to Pepper sometimes to help her gain weight.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
she's scheduled to see the vet this week. I was just a little concerned about the time between now and then. All we have here is PetSmart as far as supply stores. I don't typically support that particular chain, but if its the only place I can get that then I suppose I'll have to. I'm not seeing any worms, but I'm sure the vet will do everything that needs to be done. I've taken kittens to him in the past and he's a huge cat lover, so I typically go with his advice and treatment suggestions. Its hard to find vets in this area that actually care about household pets because the big money is in livestock and other ranch animals. I'm guessing the vitamins will have instructions, but just out of current curiosity, are they to be mixed in with food or anything, or just given straight?
post #5 of 11
I had one that was very little also (he's not anymore, he's 3lbs!) I gave him bottle with KMR, you can get that at walmart if you want too, and they have the bottles there too! Have you tried mixing the dry with the wet?? That way he wouldn't eat too fast to get sick, but he'd still be getting the liquid from the wet! I would bet he has worms, just because most of them do! How old is your best bet at age?? Eek was 3 weeks old when I got him (he was suppose to be 7weeks old, I found out the hard way he was so young!) so he got the bottle! He weighed in at less than a 1/2lb! If you can and he's that little, I would bottle feed, just to be on the safe side! They make that KMR so easy to use! I got the stuff that was premixed so alls I had to do was warm it up and put it in the kitten bottle and he knew what to do from there!!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'll check on that tomorrow at Walmart as well. I've had a lot of experience treating worms... and as long as I'm only taking care of one cat, I've gotten pretty good at medicating it with over-the-counter stuff. Although theres no way I'd even try it on Shrimp... if I HAD to guess, I'd say she's roughly 3 weeks.

Seeing as how I work form home on graphics all day, AND she's a little attention addict, I get to monitor her very closely all day long. And the fact that she can curl up and sleep comfortably on my knee or shoulder helps that well...

I just read through the 11 pages of what you went through with Eek's URI... and other problems. I've never dealt with a URI, but I have dealt with bacteria and worms. Not a fun thing to go through. I was upset and the kitty I was helping wasn't even mine.. It was one of the ones I help keep for a woman in the area who takes in cats that would typically be on death row (thanks to all of our kill shelters) and, helps them medically if needed, and helps them to trust humans a bit more, then finds GOOD homes for them.

And as far as the emergency vets go... I know exactly what you mean by their "Well its going to cost you xxxx extra... " That lady once asked me to take care of a cat for her that was very sick. I didn't have any others at the time and I didn't have any of my own, so I picked it up and came home with it. He was MAYBE just over a year old.. and looked terrible. I couldn't get him to eat or drink, and then after a couple of hours, he wouldn't even move anything except his head. I thought it could just be exhaustion at first, but then he literally just laid there and took care of some business that should have called for a trip to the litterbox. I called the vet around 1am, who was a complete %(#$& and just said, "Well I'm going to charge xxx to see him tonight. Honestly, it sounds like hes gotten into some kind of poison... your best bet would be to feed him pedialite as instructed...." So, I sat up for about 4 hours trying to get him over it and it didn't end well. I took a break from helping her out for a little while after that.
post #7 of 11
Im still a little shocked that I accidently poisoned my own kitties! How dumb of me huh??? But at least I figured it out! I know that thats a long thread too! It just seems to go on and on, so I appreciate you reading it all!

I wouldn't use the over the counter wormers, just because Ive heard bad things, but if you go to the vet and tell them the weight of the cat they'll give you the proper dose of good meds for the kitten! Last time it only cost me a dollar to do that! I loved the bottle feedings! It has really brought us closer together and I think it was a good thing! He is off the bottle now (which wasn't so fun) but he started to drink out of a bowl, and is just getting so big that he didn't need it anymore!! Baby kittens are sooo much fun, even if you have to bottle feed!!
post #8 of 11
Little Shrimp sounds like she is a fighter and will grow into a lovely affectionate cat. I have had some experience with very small sick kittens, and I believe in a mix of goat milk and egg yolk as a nourishing and tasty feed(Goat milk is Ok for cats, being low lactose but rich). It also helps keep them hydrated. You can beat a yolk into a little milk and feed it either from a dropper or bottle, or see if they will lap it. I have never met a cat/kitten who does not love this mixture. It is also possible to add liquid vitamins or any vet prescribed meds to it. If you can't get it fresh (and some supermarkets have it), then it is available canned. Good luck.
post #9 of 11
What kind of wet food are feeding Shrimp?

Our kittens came home on the 17th and we started them on Nutro Kitten. OMG, the odor and diarrhea! I started thinking gardia or coccicia (sp?). I decided to change their food first before panicking. We switched to Authority and it's been fine.

The other thing to try is smaller feeding more often. A three week old kitten would be eating every 2 hours, gradually moving back to 3 hours and so on. It is possible that Shrimp is experiencing "dumping syndrome," where the stomach contents empty into the intestine too quickly and diarrhea is one of the results. I had a student that I have to tube feed - too fast or too much causes her to experience "dumping syndrome."

Hang in there. You are doing a great job.
post #10 of 11
HI !
I've nursed many kittens taken out of garbage tins in the streets (yes, there are lots of cruel people here) and most of them were 2 weeks old, eyes half open.
Where i live there are not many resources ... and this has been my recipe so far and has worked perfectly.
--Carnation milk, i think they call it condensated milk, from a can (bottle feed every 3 hrs)
--when they are about a month i introduce them to a little of wet food (nothing special, just any can) (bottle feed every 5 hrs)
--after a week i start giving them dry food with water to make it softer.. . untill they can chew better.
**from my experience canned food gives them softer poop, or a slight diahrea.
I always kept water for them but then i dont know if they would drink it because i usually bottle feed them till they were 2 months... and as long as they were getting their fluids from milk i did not paid attention to the water
2 weeks approx.
3 weeks approx.
8 weeks approx
post #11 of 11
I cannot add to what the others here have said - great advice! Don't worry about the water as long as she is getting moisture from other resources like the canned food. Please let us know what the vet determines.

Welcome! Bless you for taking in the little one and the big boy He sounds like a treasure as well. Would love to see photos of them both! We are all a bit photo-crazy here
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