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Feeding orphaned kittens/other questions! HELP

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, my friends cat had a litter of three kittens. Unfortunatly(and for reasons I don't know) she refused to take care of them(the mother cat was once feral, I don't know if this could be a reason she wouldn't take care of them). My friend doesn't want to care for the kittens herself, and since she couldn't find another cat mother, she gave them to me. I've read every article I can find on orphaned kitten care, and I have been caring for the kittens for about 12 hours now, feeding them every 2-2 1/2 hrs. What I don't know is do I have to keep this up round the clock, or can I go longer between feedings during the night? The kittens were only born yesterday, so they are true newborns. I'm feeding them KMR(powder kind you mix yourself), have them in a nesting box with blankets in it, the nesting box is set over a heating pad on low. The kittens are eating great, which is where my next question comes from. How much should I give them at each feeding? I am feeding them out of a 3cc syringe, and I have been feeding them until they stop mewing, which is usually somewhere between 1 1/2-2 syringe fulls apiece. Should I be giving them any more, or less? I am going to go buy a scale for weighing them tomorrow, but I can already tell they aren't tiny kittens. I know their chances for survival aren't good, and I would appreciate it if people didn't tell me that, since I have been surrounding by doubting people since I took them After they eat I rub their genitals so they will urinate and defecate. How often do newborn kittens defecate? And how much should I handle/pet/"groom" them? I've never even had a cat of my own have kittens before, so I have no experience in the kitten raising department, but I am willing to try extremely hard to help these kittens survive. Am I doing anything incorrectly? I currently own a 1 yr old spayed female DSH I adopted. Will she kill the kittens if she discovers them? Also, they are very squirmy, and VERY vocal at feeding time, are these good or bad signs?
post #2 of 19
i've never raised an orphan - but lots of people here have. check out this article for helpful suggestions. hand rearing kittena
welcome to TCS!
post #3 of 19
Fist of all, thank you for giving these little one a fighting chance.

Kitten-rescue.com was my go to my fist time. (I only wish I had know about this place!) I go tthis from their website:

Quote:
Birth to 1 week: Feed every 3 hours (8 feedings per day)

From 1 to 3 weeks: Feed every 4 hours (6 feedings per day)

From 3 to 4 weeks: Feed every 5 hours (5 feedings a day)

From 4 to 5 weeks: Feed four to five times a day.
Total Formula required per day

Birth to 1 week: 24cc

1 week: 32cc

2 weeks: 54cc

3 weeks: 80cc

4 weeks: 104cc

5 weeks: 128cc

As a guide, a kitten should drink about 8cc's of formula per ounce of body weight per day.

For example, a kitten that is only one or two days old, will need 24cc divided into 8 feedings, which is 3cc per feed. He may drink a little more or less but you'll know if he's receiving enough formula by monitoring his weight gain.
I would feed them around the clock until they are 3 weeks old. My vet told me if they sleep through the night at that point, it's okay not to wake up to feed them.

Ideally they should defecate everyday. However, at this point don't freak out if they haven't gone yet because their little bodies are absorbing all the nutrients. Too runny of a stool means your feeding them too much.

You are doing a wonderful job, really. These kittens are luck to have you. I know how scary it is to have a little life so dependent on you. I only had one orphaned kitten to take care of, so I know you must be going crazy. Let me know if you have questions about anything else!
post #4 of 19
Ooh... I forgot, do you have any pictures of the little ones? I would love to see them. I hope all is going well.
post #5 of 19
Warmth is the most important thing besides the feeding from my understanding.
Good job with the babies. Keep us posted.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, the babies are still doing good today, I feed them every 3 hours, lol, and I can barely sleep I'm so worried I won't wake up at the alarm and I'll starve them Boy does the male kitten eat a lot! He isn't full at all until I give him a full syringe and a half. The female kittens are happy with just one syringe. I would LOVE to post pictures, but my camera cord has chosen this moment to lose itself, lol. Two of the kittens are dilute calicos, of course female. The male is a ginger and white bicolor. One of the calico kittens looks like she is going to be a medium/long hair. I'm already falling in love with them, I can't help it even though I know they aren't likely to live. The mother wouldn't even let them nurse to get colostrum. Thanks everyone for the replies!!
post #7 of 19
How are the babies doing today?
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
The babies are still alive and chubby No major problems, excellent appetite They started to get a little diarrhea so I lightened up on the amount of KMR and it went away. They are now 48 hours old. I've let Raven(my adult cat) see them from a distance, but not up close yet. Mostly she seems to like to watch me feed them.
post #9 of 19
Chubby is good! lol... I've been thinking about them all day. I remember how nervous I was my first time with such a little one. You're doing a great job! Keep us updated.
post #10 of 19
It sounds to me for someone who claims not to know anything about cats, you've taken on a monumental task and are doing fantastic at it!
post #11 of 19
And just so you know, 5cc = 1 teaspoon. I always think the syringe looks huge.
post #12 of 19
Just wanted to give you some encouragement!!! In April, I found 5 orphaned kittens who were about 5-7 days old. EVERYBODY told me they didn't have much of a chance to survive, blah blah. I understand it is a lower chance of survival, but...

Well, 1 kitten died within 10 hours of me finding them, so he would have died regardless of what me or a momma cat would have done. The other 4...have grown up to be happy, healthy, playful 16 week old kittens!!! So just keep doing your best for them, have hope, and believe they will survive but also know in the back of your mind that if they don't that is wasn't your fault.

Great job with them!!
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your encouragement, its helped me a lot! The kittens are now 72 hours old, and they are already bigger than when I first found them; still healthy and happy. If they keep their kittentudes, I can already tell the male is going to be a very demanding cat when he grows up The longhaired calico kitten is the mellowest of the three, which I am a little nervous about as I don't know if its a sign of being weaker, or just her kittentude. She eats a ton and crawls around, just not as crazily as her sister and brother. The third calico, the smallest, is the best crawler of all of them. She amazes me at how fast she is. I let Raven get a closer look at them today, just to see if she wanted to harm or help...niether, as it turned out, she is terrified of them I'm searching frantically for my camera cord, so I hope I can get some pictures up soon!
post #14 of 19
well I you for taking on such young kittens, I had to take over chips feedings at 5 weeks when cookie (mom) got a bad infection and he couldn't feed off her anymore and Im exhausted from the night feedings and he is now almost 9 weeks old.. and growing strong.. they sound like they are doing well
and im by no mean an expert when it comes to kittens , chip is my first kitten that I have had to help rear, but I was thinking about your female cat Raven, if she seems interested but scared maybe you can keep introducing her to the kittens and when she becomes more relaxed around them she might even help with some of the elimination process since I know that is the hardest. like I said im no expert but its better to get her use to them now instead of when there running around and biting and trying to play with her later..

I asked my friend about this, she was brought up around kittens and puppies and she said that female cats except other cats more easily then males, and that she had found a litter of kittens (5) and her other female cat helped by licking and stimulating them even let them suckle on her when she had no milk..LOL so who knows maybe their is hope that her natural instinct will kick in.. im keeping my fingers crossed for you but it sounds like your doing a wonderful job
post #15 of 19
I forgot to add,that when chip was born he was a preemie he had no fur on his feet and they were almost see thru he looked more like a rat then he did a cat, he also had no skin on where his claws were so thats all u could see, I was scared for him since his sister had died after 15 hrs I knew that he was really premature and his survival rate was less than 20%, I kept expecting to wake up to another dead kitten.

this might seem corny or weird but I was the only one cookie would let near him and I would sit in the closet with them for half hour to an hour everyday just talking about nothing and singing songs that were playing on the radio in the background and I would rub his little body gently telling him not to give up and fight he seemed to react to that, I also put a heating pad under 3 sheets as to be not so hot but just warm for him and you could see him crawling around looking for the warmest spot..I know that they are born deaf and blind but I think it was more just the fact of me being their maybe that helped ..but I did this everyday and when he started eating wet food, I still sat with him and talked to him and sang to him while he ate, cookie loves this (mom) she always comes running when i start singing..LOL when he is tired and restless I pick him up cuddle him and i sing this one song and rock him he always falls asleep, of course he still sucks his fingers a bit.. (he has 6 i think they call that polydactyl or something..

ok this is a bit winded but I think sometimes the more warmth and love they get the better they thrieve and this was just my kittens story to give you some hope and encouragement that even the smallest can survive.. and I know my chip will grow up to be a happy and loving cat and he is my baby
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormy55 View Post
Thank you everyone for your encouragement, its helped me a lot! The kittens are now 72 hours old, and they are already bigger than when I first found them; still healthy and happy. If they keep their kittentudes, I can already tell the male is going to be a very demanding cat when he grows up The longhaired calico kitten is the mellowest of the three, which I am a little nervous about as I don't know if its a sign of being weaker, or just her kittentude. She eats a ton and crawls around, just not as crazily as her sister and brother. The third calico, the smallest, is the best crawler of all of them. She amazes me at how fast she is. I let Raven get a closer look at them today, just to see if she wanted to harm or help...niether, as it turned out, she is terrified of them I'm searching frantically for my camera cord, so I hope I can get some pictures up soon!
Glad to hear from you and that all is well. I have been checking in to see. My boys were afraid of the kittens too. It was so funny. They were like Yikes!
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
The kittens are still doing well this morning, I am going to have to take the kittens out with me for the first time today, since I'll be gone from the house helping out a friend all day, I'm a little worried, but I'm bringing their nest box and heating pad along, so hopefully everything will be fine. I've finally given them names, I was slow about it because I didn't want to get to attached in case they died, but I figure they deserve names, with all they've gone through. I have named them all after african animals. The ginger and white male is Jackel, the longhaired calico is Genet, and the small calico is named Cheetah(of course)
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
The kittens are a week old, and Genet and Jackel's eyes are starting to open! They are just little slits right now, but they are opening! All three of them have grown a TON, and they are healthy and hungry
post #19 of 19
I'm so glad to hear that they're doing so well! It's amazing how much they grow at that age. You're doing such a great job, they're so luck to have you!
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