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Urgent! orphaned kitten care help needed

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
On Friday I found what seemed to be orphaned feral kittens (stranded in the middle of a dirt pile in the sun, crying and urine soaked). I took them in, called my vet for info and have been caring for them over the weekend. There were five, but unfortunately one died about 6 hours after I got them (RIP Simba).

The remaining 4 seem to be doing very well, have a hearty appetite and have taken to me as their momma. But I have no idea what age they are! Their eyes are closed still, 2 seem to be about to open theirs, and I think their ears are up but am not sure! B/c I don't know their age i am not sure at what point I can feed them less frequently! Right now, bottle feeding them every 3-4 hours, which I found out today is very difficult while working full time. Today I have taken them to work with me but am worried this has caused too much stress for them and they may not be getting the rest they need. Also, my boss will not let me bring them here for very long.

Would it be better to leave them at home all day and feed them before and after work, or to continue to take them to work with me? I was thinking of contacting a vet to ask if they could help take care of them during the day? (I know it's a long shot...but maybe they will understand the kindness in my heart for rescuing them! lol).

Any advice/info on caring for these little guys? I am just so worried now after losing broke my heart and am stressing over it now.

I actually found feral kittens in October and took them in, but they were older (about 5 weeks) and didn't need this much care (just a lot of socializing!). I have done much Internet research but the info on caring for kittens seems to vary a lot by site.

Please offer up your advice!!!

post #2 of 25
If their eyes are just starting to open they could be right around 7-10 days old. They still need feeding every 3 hours and to be stimulated to go to the bathroom. I hope you are doing that too, they cannot eliminate by themselves. They also need to be kept warm. You need to take them to work with you, they cannot be left alone all day long while you are working. If you can find someone to come to your home and care for them that would work too. Otherwise if you can no longer take them to work, you need to surrender them to a no-kill shelter or rescue group where they can be properly cared for.
post #3 of 25
The babies do sound to be under 10 days old if their eyes are still closed. They do need to eat on the schedule you are on now, but they need to eat like that for a while longer. Their tummies are small and possibly when they get bigger, their meals will be larger and less frequent.

One thing to note about bottle feeding youngsters like that, you will need to stimulate urination and defication after eating. I used a warm cloth and gently massaged "the area" and used a paper towel to absorb the elimations.

I am not an expert, but I had to hand feed a foster a while back, and he did wonderfully. Not having a mother to warm them, I would suggest a heating pad put on low and cover with a soft blanket.

Maybe you could ask a neighbour or friend to drop by your house twice a day while you are at work to feed them?
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

I do have them in a box with a towel that I change daily or after they have messed it up. There is a heating pad and towel under half the box to keep them warm. (I have also brought all this to work where they are in a storage room behind my office, they seem to be sleeping soundly right now). I do stimulate them to eliminate each time after a feeding. They pee every time and poop about once a day.

I do not know anyone that could come over during the day to feed them (except my husband who works 4 minutes away! But he is not comfortable feeding them and def won't stimulate them.) Luckily for me and the kitties, my boss agreed to me bringing them this week, and he will be out all next week so he won't know that they're here

I guess I just wanted to make sure I was doing all I can for them, see about their age and make sure they were ok being at work with me.

I have worked at a local rescue agency volunteering and fostering. I have contacted them about them taking "ownership" of the kitties while I foster them. That way they receive all the vet care they will need (at limited cost to us!) as well as the chance to get adopted out to great homes.

I just hope and pray that everything works out and they become happy, healthy kitties so they can find homes!
post #5 of 25
I'm sure that you are a great foster mom! With all of the handling you will be doing feeding them, they will leave their feral ways behind.

I'm happy that you have taken them to work, have them warmed etc. and that you can bring them to work when bossman is not there. I believe you are doing the best that anyone could do.

You know, we all love little kitties and love pictures...especially me! I've been showing the posted pics to my hubby...he adores baby kittens. We will be having some in a few weeks as my lilac point siamese is expecting. Can you post pictures of your little guys?

Anyway, good luck with them, and you're doing a fabulous job taking them in and saving their precious lives.
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
I will try to post some pics this evening! We don't have too many yet...been too busy feeding and caring for them, lol. I can also post some of the other three formerly mean kitties that we socialized.

When I fed them at lunch today one of them(Stitch) was purring! I didn't know they could purr at that young of an age. I felt so special

Also, one kitten(Skeeter) had some goop coming out of one eye, and the eye is not open yet. I gently rubbed it off with a cotton ball. Is there anything else I can do for his eye? Does he need medicine? I'm hesitant to call the vet...I've already called them 3 times!

Thanks so much for the support and advice, skewch!
post #7 of 25
I had kittens with eye gook too, and so I called a friend in his last year of vet school and he told me that kittens are known to get that easily. He just told me to use a warm wet wash cloth to gently wipe the eyes clean and thoroughly wash their faces. Do this several times a day, after feedings when they're the most relaxed.

My last foster kittens had one baby with a bad infection in his eye. He couldn't eat because he then also had a cold and couldn't smell a boob to eat. That's when I started feeding him through a glass eye dropper. Called the shelter, they came to my house with salve and drops. He came through quite well, and of course he still loved his dropper of milk supplement more than his mom.

Keep an eye on the kitty's eye, but instead of going to the vet, try just the wash cloth first for a couple days just to see if you can help it that way.

Keep us posted
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Oops...I forgot to put pictures up! I'll definitely do that tonight. (BTW, how do I put pictures in a post?)

I think I figured out the eye goop. Their eyes are starting to open! The first eye that started cracking was the one that was leaking. As of this morning 3 kitties have 1 eye that is starting to crack open in the inside corner. Not gonna lie, it's pretty gross looking! But very exciting. And also now 3 of them are purring! As soon as I touch them they start up that lil motor. I'm definitely falling in love and getting very attached to the kitties. I guess that happens when you bottle feed, stimulate and "lick" them every few hours!

Still haven't heard back from the rescue agency about them becoming their official owners while I foster. I hope it works out soon though...I really want a vet to look at them to make sure they are doing well.

I know at a young age their health can decline fast and they can die ( we already lost 1) what age do they have a better chance of survival? I'm still constantly worried about them, and have even accidentally woke them up a few times b/c I was checking to make sure they were still breathing.

We are doing Operation Catnip (a TNR program) on all the ferals that we keep getting the kittens from. Hopefully we can get them all trapped at the same so we don't have to do it over multiple months!

Thanks again for all the help! I just love sharing about them and getting helpful advice!
post #9 of 25
About the pictures, I use photobucket. Go to and sign up, it's free of charge. Follow the instructions on how to post a picture. When doing the posting there, click the buttons that say browse and it will browse your computer so you can find them and then press Add.

When you are through adding the photos to your album, go to each individual picture and there will be 4 lines of types of codes under each one. Choose the last one and copy it. Return to your posting (on here, for example) and right click to paste. I press return 2 times after each IMG tag so that the pictures are separated. You can always check to make sure it works by clicking the preview post button and it will show you the pictures you've posted Hope that helps!

IMO, I think you're out of the woods as far as them not thriving, since their eyes are starting to open. I am not an expert, but I think you're doing a great job, just keep it up and I'm sure you will notice how plump they will get, if you haven't already

I wish I could come play with them LOL I'm such a sucker for the little ones and can lay with them for hours just petting and cuddling them. I did that at my boy's breeder's house a month or so ago. I just laid on her bed with 2 babies who were 2 weeks old for 3 hours LOL

Can't wait for pictures!

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Need HELP!

One of the kittens seems to be constipated! When I was stimulating him I could see the poo at the edge but it wouldn't come out! When I continued to stimulate the poor thing cried out in agony! You could tell he (or she) was straining hard and was in pain. And the anus was pushed out like it was trying to get it out too. I alternated soaking his bottom in warm water with stimulating him and rubbing his abdomen. I also gave him a syringe of warm water to drink. He managed to get some out (which was pretty dry) but he still seems to have some that needs to come out!

What else can I do???! I am so worried...I know at this age something that seems so little as constipation can kill him. I am scared for him!

Oh and we cannot afford a vet...especially an emergency vet since it's after hours!
post #11 of 25 will help you. If you need more, send me a PM and I will do my best to help you. Bless you for caring-
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
AHH! He's not getting better, I don't think. His poor tummy is bloated. I have gotten some more out of him but he's not done. The poor thing pushes and strains so hard and it hurts him! I just keep messaging and rubbing him, and comforting him. I hope and pray he can go soon so he will feel better. If he doesn't make it I don't think I can do this anymore. It just breaks my heart too much and gets me depressed.
I will stop by a vet on the way to work tomorrow and beg them to let me pay later!

Please pray for him!!!
post #13 of 25
Have you tried rubbing some vaseline around the anal area? I read in this article
that if you can get some of the vaseline inside of the anus while you rub it that it can help the feces pass. Be careful when you do it though. But I'm sure you know that. I really hope that the kitten gets better. Any vet should take an emergency like that (not that they all will) and let you pay later. I hope you find a good vet that lets you do that.
post #14 of 25
Originally Posted by roxsam View Post
Please pray for him!!!
on their way up right now!
post #15 of 25
Originally Posted by GayleMG View Post
Have you tried rubbing some vaseline around the anal area? I read in this article
that if you can get some of the vaseline inside of the anus while you rub it that it can help the feces pass. Be careful when you do it though. But I'm sure you know that. I really hope that the kitten gets better. Any vet should take an emergency like that (not that they all will) and let you pay later. I hope you find a good vet that lets you do that.

Please do NOT do this. If you use anything, use KY and don't penetrate him. I just answered your PM- the bloating could be worms (common in kittens) if he is a bob-tail kitty, he may NOT have an opening- it may look like it is there, but it might not be completed. There are a lot of reasons for kitties to stop up. Strongly suggest you buy a book Kittens for Dummies by Dusty Rainbolt. Excellent book and she and I talk frequently when kitten season starts because we both rescue and foster bottle babies.

Don't over stimulate him. Try taking a dry hand towel pop in the dryer and spin it about 20 minutes, take it out and shake it if it is too hot then wrap him up inside of it with only his head sticking out. Use the same process of stimulation through the towel- sometimes the heat helps to speed the process up. It can't be so hot though, it has to be just warm enough to be comforting.

Vaseline will dry him out and make him more restless. As I said in the PM you can use a tiny tiny dab of desitin baby ointment on him. Not a lot, he doesn't need a lot. Also if you are feeding cows milk STOP use diluted kitten formula only. If unavailable then goats milk is okay- you find that in your baking section.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your prayers and advice.

** Update
I managed to get some poop out of him last night,and there was a couple of little pieces in the box this morning (such dry poop!). He seems to at least be feeling better, but not sure if all the poop is all out. The good thing is he still has tons of energy and a hearty appetite(anytime I go near them they want to eat!). And his stomach and anus don't look as irritated.

I have a friend at work bringing me some KY on her lunch break, and my boss just called to say he had to stop at the grocery store before he came in and I managed to talk him into getting me some mineral oil, lol. I could not find a vet that was willing to help me out, all said I had to pay that day so I am doing my best on my own and am praying so hard. Last night I actually made myself sick from worrying and did not want to get up when my alarm went off at 2 am as I was scared at what I would find. Thankfully, they are all still alright.

Awesome news...they ALL have their eyes half or completely open!

They are all starting to suck on themselves and each other. I have read online that this is not good for them and to separate them until they stop. But, how am I supposed to separate them? I certainly cannot bring 4 boxes to work! And also, they cuddle up and keep each other warm...wouldn't they get cold and lonely separated?

** Skewch
I do promise I will get pics up! Last night I was just so busy dealing the with the constipation problems. So you will see the babies soon

Again, please keep praying for them...they have become my babies and I just want them to grow to be healthy and happy cats!
post #17 of 25
You could also try diluting the milk you are feeding, so that way they would get a little more water into the system.

Can't wait for pictures!
post #18 of 25
Get two cardboard boxes of identical shape and size. Make sure that there is enough room to create private sleeping spaces for each kitten. Cut one box down. use the cut flaps to create sections in the other box that will separate each kitten. Take a screwdriver, pair of scissors and punch holes in the cut pieces of cardboard, low enough so they can smell each other. You will now only have one box (should be deep enough so they can't climb out or over the cardboard walls) to take to work. Each kitten gets its own private sleeping quarters. Make sure your bedding is in each section, otherwise changing soiled bedding is a challenge! Buy several small soft puppy chew toys. You can get them at walmart fairly cheap. Each kitty gets a buddy in their section so they can snuggle or suckle it.

I hope this makes sense. You cannot let them suckle each other. The target is usually the male as he feels more like what nature is driving them to look for. Failing to find that they use paws and tails and even heads.

I answered your PM- good luck
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Skeeter (the constipated one) seems to be doing better. I finally got a hold of a vet (thanks to hissy's advice!) and he gave me some great advice over the phone and made me feel better. Also he wants me to call to update him and will help me out if I do need to bring any in!(and he thanked me for taking care of them, that felt great coming from a vet).

I am also working on their new divided box. They each now have their own stuffed animal buddy to sleep with! Will they get depressed from not being right next to each other?

Here are a few pictures of the babies! Don't have too many yet but no worries...there will be plenty to come! They are hard to take pics of b/c they are so squirmy!
Also, below the babies are the last litter of ferals that we found and socialized.

Shakespeare, Skeeter and Scrappy

this is yesterday, their eyes are pretty much open now!

Stitch sucking my hand

The past litter:

Lego, Rusty and Miley a few days after we found them

poor things had stickers all in their furr

post #20 of 25
the little spotted one [Skeeter, i think] has really interesting markings!
post #21 of 25
It sounds like you're doing a good job... Just a thought though.... I realise it is too late now, but are you absolutely sure that they had been abandoned? Often, mother cats will move their litter from a place where they do not feel safe. Could the mother have been going back for more of her kittens?

Just something to consider in the future...
post #22 of 25
Oh my goodness! They are so sweet!
That last litter that you fostered - adorable - I don't usually like ginger cats as much but those are just stunning!
I hope to be able to do what you're doing soon...
You seem like you're doing a great job!

Hope to see more pics, they really are just darling!
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
joyzerelly- No, I am not 100 % sure they were abandoned. But lots of clues, from what I researched online, told me they weren't being cared for either at all or very well by the momma. It was a hard decision on what to do but ultimately I felt their best chance was to be rescued (they were cold, covered in urine, fleas everywhere and stickers all over them). If I waited longer they it might have been too late for them. I have seen one of the B&W cats since and it was all scabbed up on its face and neck...if it was the mom maybe it wasn't taking care of them b/c it was hurt?

Regardless this has finally given me the guts to do the TNR for the colony. They are going in next weekend to get fixed! So I don't think there will be anymore babies.

Tobi- Thanks! I loved the last kitties we of the greatest experiences I've had was socializing them. They were so so mean at first and it just felt good when eventually you got a kiss on the face from them! I hope they are happy in their new home
post #24 of 25
Rox, the pics were worth waiting for! Those little guys are absolutely adorable! The markings remind me of pups I had about 15 years ago. They were blue healer cross pups and were so pretty. I am allergic to dogs now ever since I had my thyroid removed. Cats only in this household!
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
I ran out of KMR yesterday morning so I decided to get some on the way home from work. Petsmart is was out of the way so I went to my vet office instead. This is the same vet clinic I had called a few times and they weren't ever willing to help me out if I needed to bring a kitty in, also the same clinic where the head vet finally helped me out. I got to the vet and brought the kitties in with me b/c
1. I didn't want to leave them in the car and
2. wanted to show them to the helpful vet

Well I walk in with the box and go over to get the formula. The girls up front ask if I had kitties with me so I showed them. They flipped out over how cute they are! I went to pay while they were lookin at the babies and realized I forgot my wallet at home! So I start calling my hubby to get the CC number...while the phone is ringing the ladies just tell me forget it, they don't want to charge me!!

They also said if I ever needed help during the day I could drop them off!
Funny how different they are after seeing them They also said all looked really healthy! And I found out their genders...3 girls and a boy!

They hate their new divided box!! I hope they get used to it soon. Usually after eating they just go right to sleep, now they cry in their box for 30 minutes first(which is not good when i am at work!). They area all doing well and are getting really rambunctious!

More pics to come this weekend.

Skewch- saw that your cat is pregnant on another thread! How exciting. Can't wait to see pics and to hear that everything went well
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