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1 1/2 week old kitten - mother gone for 6 hours

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
A feral cat that I've been feeding occasionally for about 3 months had 2 kittens in my spare bedroom on 7th March. The first kitten that was born died after 2 days but the other one seems healthy.

Anyway, my problem is that today the mother cat went out about 6 hours ago and hasn't come back and I'm not sure what to do. I understood that the kitten needs feeding about every 2 hours or so and I'm worried. I am keeping the kitten warm at the moment just by wrapping him in a blanket and keeping him close to me. I live in Greece so it's fairly warm at the moment. I think that my biggest problem is food.

Do I need to give him some emergency food or can he wait until I can get to the vet tomorrow for some KMR? If so what should I feed him and how often?

I read that evapourated milk is OK in an emergency but I don't have any, only cow's milk. Also does anyone have any tips on how to feed him and what to do to stimulate him to urinate and defecate?
post #2 of 18
Your cat shouldn't be let outside when she has a baby. Cats can get pregnant 24 hours after birth. That might be what she is doing right now. Sorry I can't help with the kitten i'm just not sure. I definatly wouldn't give him the cows milk though. You could make a quick trip to the petstore and get some kmr and a bottle.
post #3 of 18
I have only a limited experience with nursing kittens, but I know that you do need to stimulated their bottom with a warm wash cloth. Also, you do need to get him some emergency formula of some sort. Six hours is already a long time for a week old kitten to go without food. I'm assuming that it's quite late now in Greece and that the shops aren't open for you to get KMR. The emergency recipe I had was as follows:

12 oz. boiling water
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and add:

1-12 oz. can evaporated canned milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 egg yolk

Mix well in mixer. Place in covered bowl and store in refrigerator. Warm a small amount for feedings.
post #4 of 18
i think the best you can do now is keep him warm. i wouldnt feed him any cows milk either. not sure if you have any stores open to get kitten milk since its already after midnight there. if not just get him to the vet first thing in the morning if the mother hasnt come back by then. they will give you the milk and explain and even show you what to do.
best of luck. i hope mom will come back.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the quick responses.

The mother cat is feral and really I couldn't keep her inside, she became very distressed and insisted on going out. I do plan however to have her spayed as soon as she weans the kitten (assuming she does come back).

I live in a very rural part of Greece and so there are no shops open and even if there were you wouldn't find kitten milk. My only hope is the vet in the morning. At the moment I am keeping the kitten in a sling next to my heart and he seems quite calm and is not crying.
post #6 of 18
If you cant find some, I think you could substitute some goat's milk rather then the cow's milk.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I went to the vet's this morning and got some kitten milk and a nursing bottle but the kitten refuses all my attempts to offer him food. The vet gave him a quick lookover while I was there and said he's healthy so it must be something I'm doing wrong.

He refuses to take the nipple and if I open his mouth with my finger and then put the nipple in he just screams. I have tried rubbing his head and sides to stimulate suckling but this doesn't seem to work. I tried a dropper but I had no luck with that either. I'm not sure how to use the dropper though, am I just supposed to open his mouth and put drops on his tongue? I also tried putting corn syrup on his tongue but no luck there either. Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong?
post #8 of 18
I think with dropper or syringe feeding, you just try to get a drop at a time in his mouth and make sure he swallows it and doesn't breathe it in. You've got to be careful that he doesn't aspirate milk. He should be lying tummy down when you try to feed him and not on his back like a human baby. Hopefully, after doing it that way for awhile, he will get the idea and start taking it himself. You could also ask the vet about tube feeding, although that's complicated.
I'm not a big expert. I bottle fed a kitten years ago, but she was older than 1.5 weeks. Have you called the vet to tell him that it isn't working to see if he has advice?
Good luck and good
post #9 of 18
I just wanted to say bless you for your efforts for this little baby, and best of luck - I hope between you and the vet, you can get this little one eating!
post #10 of 18
I just wanted to jump in and say it isn't easy but it is doable. Just have patience and persistance. You might need to tube feed down its nose if it refuses to eat. I had to do this with a kitten I found years ago until it learned to suckle. Best of luck. We're pulling for you and that kitten. It's very lucky to have you.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
With some persistence he's now figured out what the bottle is for and he's feeding well. Luckily my husband is helping out too so we are splitting the feedings and fingers crossed the kitten's going to be OK (we haven't named him yet, just waiting for the right name to present itself).

If I can figure out how I will post some pictures of him as he's such a cutie.

Thanks to all of you for your help and support, without this forum I might have given up.
post #12 of 18
Did you read all the info on bottle feeding kittens, how to hold them, how to get them to eliminate, etc?
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yes I did, in fact just now I got him to do his first poo. It was mustard-yellow and toothpaste consistency which is how I read it should be so I'm very happy. .

I have been weighing him since he was abandoned and after losing some weight he appears to be putting it back on: -

18/3 290g (10.36oz)
19/3 272g (9.71oz)
20/3 282g (10.07oz)
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
The mother has just returned and I'm not sure what to do. I let her back in the house and she was searching for her kitten. I showed him to her and she sniffed him and started to clean him.

Should I put him back with her? Will her milk have dried up yet? Is she likely to injure him?

Of course it would be better if he was back with his mother but I'm afraid in case she hurts him. Obviously the kitten smells of me and my husband now but the mother was always very affectionate towards us and seems to trust us so I wonder if that matters.
post #16 of 18
She might have got trapped somewhere, I wouldn't let her out again until she's fixed.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
What's the earliest I could get her spayed? The kitten is 13 days old, do I have to wait until he is 8 weeks or can I do it before?

Also I think that I have to assume that the mom is pregnant again. What's the latest in her pregnancy that a vet will spay her (i.e. and abort the kittens)?
post #18 of 18
I'm not sure about the spay/abort, but I think as long as the baby is on solid food the mom can be spayed. Since she is interested in the kitten, she will probably feed him with no problem. As for the milk drying up, I don't know. Might want to monitor his weight to see if he is still getting enough from her.
I'm so glad she's back!
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