› Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Very Young Stray Advice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Very Young Stray Advice

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I could use some help. As I stepped out of my place this afternoon, I saw a little black ball of fur I at first mistook for a young squirrel with no tail. Upon closer investigation, I realized it was a tiny young kitten. It was pretty pitiful, eyes closed, could barely crawl. I tried to comfort it as it seemed to be in distress crawling in circles on it's belly on the hot asphalt. I gave it a little dish of water, and sat it down on a towel hoping the mother would come by. I waited for almost 2 hours until a thunderstorm rolled in. I took it in, bathed it to get a closer look at him since he is tiny and has a lotta fur. He doesn't seemed injured at all. However, I'm concerned that he may be dehydrated/hungry. Or possible ill. He mostly wants to sleep, won't eat, and I've only seen 2-3 signs of brief activity.

From what I can tell, I think it's probably about 4 weeks old or more. I'd like to post a picture of the little guy to get a better idea of his age. I'm 95% sure it's from one of the local strays I see all the time, that I have a feeling was once a domestic pet as she will come up to me and is quite friendly, even sneaking into my place if I leave the door open. She is all black, small frame, hangs out with a larger all black same breed male cat. This little guy is tiny, all black, but white near the body you can't see unless you part the fur.

From what I could find, if I'm correct, and he is over 4 weeks old atleast, he should be somewhere on a cat milk replacement, and food. However, I'm concerned because all this kitty wants to do is sleep on my warm body. I've tried using a dropper to feed it the cat milk replacement, but it won't eat it. Barely getting a couple laps in.

Any suggestions/advice for me to help out this little guy?
post #2 of 26
Not very experienced, but I have had three orphans that I managed to get to nine months old now.

My thoughts would be to keep trying to get some kitten milk replacement in it even though it doesn't seem to want it. Keep giving a little very often. A ml or two every thirty minutes in the side of mouth so you don't cause them to choke. That may jump start the appetite.

Check for fleas because flea anemia is a fatal problem in kittens.

Most important would be a visit to the vet as soon as possible. That is a wonderful thing you did for this little baby. Good luck and keep trying.

This site is very helpful.
post #3 of 26
He seems like he is very tired. He may be dehydrated so he is sleeping so much. He probably needs sub fluids and a good vetting to see what is wrong. Could be a number of things with kittens.
Here is a good link with some good info:
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, first of all, he, is a she I think, ha ha ha. The believed scrotum I found earlier I now believe to be a vagina. Although I'm by far an expert in sexing kittens, especially one this young, so I could still be wrong.

I was REALLY worried about her last night, because she basically just slept and slept and slept, and wouldn't take any KMR. I kinda left little drips of it on her lips, hoping she'd get atleast something from licking them even if she refused to feed. One thing I realised is, she does not like to be fed straight on, only on the side of the mouth please :P

She's doing SOOO much better. So much more responsive. 3 baths later, getting rid of 100% of the fleas, and a couple small feedings of cat milk replacement, and she's a LOT fiestier now. My skin can attest to her tiny needle like nails and her increased vivacity. She's urinated a little now, which is encouraging too.

I guess it's still wait and see, but she's definitely doing a LOT better. Thanks for the advice guys.
post #5 of 26
I am glad she is perking up. I wondered if she was not exhausted. When I brought Lucia in to live she was so tired. She slept a lot. Imagine not having to be on guard every minute and being able to sleep.

Keep us posted on her progress. She sounds adorable.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well she's doing a heck of a lot better now. She has put on a noticeable amount of weight. She used to be fur and bones, but she's starting to fill in a little now.

I've got her taking her KMR from a little dish now. The transition from bottle to dish took about 4 feedings, and about 24 hours. She's now drinking about ~25mL 5 times a day from a little sushi soy dish. I run the dish under really warm water and make her KMR warm. She finishes it so quickly the dish is still warm before she's done

I found her last week Monday, and she needed help peeing, but did have a couple accidents all by herself. By Saturday night, she began peeing on her own without any more crotch stimulating. No more needing to massage her crotch yay, finding puddles, boo. I wasn't sure what to use, so far I've been using an ammonia based window cleaner. I just started litterbox training with her yesterday. She's doing well. I purchased a litter recommended by the Pet Valu worker that was made specifically for training kittens. It's basically clay litter with "natural herbs" that she's supposed to like. Well yes and no. When I first introduced her to the box, the first thing she did was try to eat litter. In fact, she still occasionally seems to try to have a grain or two. I think she's stopped though now, didn't do it just now.

I started at first by putting her in the box after she ate, but she gets super focused on getting out. Over the first 24 hours she peed in it once with some keeping her in the box, and trying to massage her crotch as she squirmed to get out. Although after a couple minutes of this, she did sit down quietly and pee all by herself. Which she received profuse encouragement for. But for the first 24 hours, she also had a few accidents shortly after giving up on it because I didn't want to get her too frustrated.

She doesn't mind sitting in the box sometimes, but over the last 36 hours, and about 6-7 or so attempts at this, a lot of the time after a couple seconds of being in the box, she tries to get out, and then won't stop trying. I've tried to get her more comfortable with being in the litterbox by putting her in it, using her paw to paw at the litter, but she doesn't seem to like it, nor care to do it herself. I've tried using my finger to paw at it a bit too and use her paw to paw at it, but I don't think she's getting it yet. Although it's only been about 36 hours. Another thing I tried was to put her halfway in the box head in, bum out, and encourage her if she climbed in first, and continued while she was in there until she tried to get out, but never keeping her in. I repeated this for a little while then gave her a little break. Later on I tried pulling the litter box away from the corner where it sits out a bit, so there'd be a little space between the box and the wall. I would put her in that little area, reward her when she climbed into the box, and while she was in there, while she went through and got out on her own.

On the 5th attempt I tried putting a basket that's just a little bigger then the litterbox over it. The first time I did this she tried to figure out getting out at first, spent 3-4 minutes at it, then sat down quietly, and eventually peed on her own. Three attempts later, when I put her in, then the basket over the box, she realizes what's going on, walks around for a couple seconds, sits, and pees. She's succesfully peed on her own well under a minute now once I put her in the box, and the basket over it the last 2 times for the day. The last time we tried it, it took her maybe 10-15 seconds before she began peeing. I know there's still a long way to go before she'll get into the box on her own and this won't be a worry anymore. But we're getting there. I'm hoping she'll pee on her own tomorrow without having the basket over the litterbox. Here's hoping

As for the pooping, after she started passing poo again, I figured maybe I should stop using the mineral oil in her KMR. That she was constipated due to malnutrition and dehydration. And the last poop I saw of hers I thought might be a tad soft. Well it seems the removal of the mineral oil has once again caused her to get constipated. I've been massaging her bum but there seems to be nothing going on. Before, her anus would start to get warm, seemingly engorged and moist after some stimulation, before she pooed. But now, it stays puckered, and nothing's going on. So I started her back on the mineral oil for the last 2 feedings. Should I be concerned if I seem to have to add some mineral oil to her milk to keep her regular?

She has almost no congestion anymore. In fact I'd say if she does, it's undetectable. However, she still seems to be making gunk in one eye, and I have a feeling it might be infected. I noticed her lower eye lid seemed a little swollen compared to the left one. It's definitely making less gunk now then it was when she was still quite sick, and is less swollen now too, so I think I'll give it another day or two. If it doesn't continue improving, it's probably an eye infection and I will use terramycin to treat it.

All in all, she's doing fantastic. She's now jumping off my sofa with a lot more control, and a lot lower face plant factor. She now can climb up small steps all by herself. She follows me around endlessly, and started trotting a bit today chasing me. She's beginning to try jumping from one thing to another over tiny gaps. She loves to follow me around sometimes, and likes to sit amongst my feet, sometimes playing with them. Which can be dangerous, so I put a tiny little bell on her to help give me a better idea of if she's snuck up amongst my feet.

Oh, one thing that's kinda odd but adorable is, she seems to be trying to vocalise A LOT, but when she does, it's like nothing but a tiny breath comes out. It looks like she's trying to make a meow, but nothing but a tiny breath comes out. It doesn't stop her from trying. Is this odd? Should I be concerned?

Any suggestions on what's going on?
post #7 of 26
Okay first off the kitten sounds so adorable. You are doing so good with her. It is obvious you are devoted to her and she is responding to your love.
You can use laxatone(hairball stuff) to help get her going or some canned pumpkin or squash if she will lick a little.
She will have accidents from time to time and may take her a little longer because she has no role models to help teach her the ropes.
My kittens got the Kitten Attract too and they went immediately. However I still find a stray poo sometimes or a little tiny wet spot. I use enzyme cleaner. You should invest in some for accidents. It gets the urine smell out so that they won't be tempted to repeat going there.
She may be ready for a little soft food that will help her go.

Have you named her yet?
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Yah, I gotta admit she's absolutely adorable. She's becomming much more of a cat, and much less of a baby.

Well after putting in some mineral oil into her formula again, it started helping. I'm starting to integrate some soft kitten food into her KMR now, and I hope that helps with her constipation. She had a soft bowel movement today, so I think the mineral oil is doing it's thing.

She had an accident today, but the last 2-3 times she peed, she went in the litter box all by herself, YAY!!! I'm so proud of her. I even just caught her digging and playing with the litter after peeing, which I hear is encouraging as they are supposed to dig/enjoy litter when the poo/pee.

Her eye gunk seems to be improving, but she's still making some eye gunk in her right eye. If it doesn't totally clear up on its own soon, I will probably order some terramycin for her eye.

And no I haven't named her yet. Think I might hold off on officially naming her when I'm 100% sure of the sex.
post #9 of 26
Ammonia based window cleaner? For cleaning up accidents or stimulating the kitten to pee and poop? I couldn't figure it out.

You have to be very cautious in using mineral oil. It is not a good choice for long term or frequent use.
post #10 of 26
Originally Posted by Mom of 4 View Post
Ammonia based window cleaner? For cleaning up accidents or stimulating the kitten to pee and poop? I couldn't figure it out.

You have to be very cautious in using mineral oil. It is not a good choice for long term or frequent use.
Yeah I would try to switch to laxatone. My Saffron had a little prolapse going on from constipation and the vet told me to give her a little laxatone and some pumpkin to bulk up the poo. You can give the laxatone everyday but the mineral oil could become an issue long term. You want her bowels to be elastic.

We love photos.(hint hint)I am dying to see the precious girl/boy.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was using the window cleaner to clean up her "messes". It seemed to have worked. I have since picked one up that supposedly has enzymatic cleaners in it.

As for the mineral oil as a laxative, actually, if you look at laxatone's ingredients, the very first, and most prevalent, making up the bulk of it, is mineral oil. I know it is not a long term solution, which is why I was a little concerned that kitty seems to get constipated unless I do add a couple drops of mineral oil. Everytime I do use it, I use it for 3-4 feedings in a row, and that usually gets things running again. But then a few days later, she starts to get constipated again. She had 2 bowel movements yesterday after I began the mineral oil treatment, so I stopped using it after 3 consecutive feedings. I would think that any constant laxative type treatment is not ideal. Unless it's more natural, i.e. pumpkin.

I'd love to share pictures, but I've followed the FAQ, and I don't think I have the option to add pictures. Either that or the instructions are incorrect.
post #12 of 26
Have you had a chance yet to get her to a vet for a quick exam? Lots of what you described sounded like she IS very young, and though I agree with everyone you're doing a great job caring for her, still it would be good to have a vet to call on over the years for her. Also, sometimes there are little things that someone who has seen lots of kittens, can show you to make life and learning easier.

I agree with you that constipation isn't something you want to see over the long term, and a vet might be able to help you figure out whether the mixture of KMR you're using could be too rich, or whether the dehydration and stress of last week could have left some lingering effects, or even whether she may have a bit of a chemical or metabolic issue that can be tackled before too much time passes, and you may avoid a chronic condition developing for her.

Sounds like she is VERY fortunate that you stumbled on her and that you took her in when you did!
post #13 of 26
That is the problem with using laxatives - you become dependent on them.
There are other options out there that don't have the same issues - check with your vet regarding the best chocie for the kitten.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Yah, I will take the first available appointment after the long weekend. By that time, she'll probably be about 6 weeks old, and it'll be about time for her first round of shots I believe as well.

She seems to be doing really well. She's growing noticeably. She's definitely gained weight, and I swear she's generally getting bigger. She's definitely a lot more active, stronger, and can run really well now. She started trotting a couple days ago, and now she's really getting going. She's also been doing excellent with litter training. She's got a near 100% peeing in the box lately, and 3 poos in a row in there too. Like I said earlier, she started scratching at the litter recently too. I even caught her licking her front paw so that she could wipe her face with her paw for the first time today. With her having such long hair, I was a little concerned she wouldn't learn grooming skills without mommy. Admittedly, she's only in the mud room unsupervised. But after she gets a little more experienced, I'll let her have increasing times of alone time in the entire place. But I think she's doing great.

My biggest concern is my landlord is replacing the radiators in my apartment in 2 hours, for 9 straight hours. I have a feeling the extra people going in and out will make things stressful for her. My parents are at the cottage for the weekend, so I think I will take her up there. I'm bringing her litter box, food, etc. I hope she'll keep up her great work, although I could understand if she had an accident today. But here's hoping that she doesn't.

Also, I've asked this before, and never really got a response. She tries and tries and tries to vocalise, but when she tries, nothing but a tiny breath comes out. The only time she actually makes a noise is when she's pissed, like when I'm cleaning her eye gunk. Should I be concerned?

Besides the lack of vocalising when it appears she's trying to, she seems to be really growing. Thanks again guys!
post #15 of 26
Thank you for rescuing this kitty! ...and glad you'll be getting her to the vet.

I wouldn't worry at all about the vocalizing. Some kitties don't. We have a kitty that for the first two years just gave the "silent" meow - which sounds exactly like what you're describing. She found her voice after a couple of years (our deaf kitty meows a lot, and the silent meower figured out that if she made a sound with the meow it gets her more attention) - but she still gives the silent meow.

post #16 of 26
Cleo has a soft meow. I would not worry about it since cats communicate in so many ways. There is a theory that they meow only to talk to humans. She has a tiny one right now.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, she's been pooping and peeing just great lately. I've been making her KMR with less KMR and more water, and then mixing it with a little soft kitten food. It could possibly be just that additional water in the mix, or that she was just getting her digestive system back on track after the trauma of being abandoned/malnourished/dehydrated/ill. She poops 1-2 times, and pees maybe 4 times a day on average.

And I think I decided on a name. I figured since I'm still not 100% sure it's a girl, I thought it would be a good idea to give it a name where it wouldn't matter. And when I think about her, especially for the first little while of knowing her, all she did was sleep. For the first couple days, I bottle fed her, and she would fall asleep after 2-3 bites of the nipple. She'd get up, take a couple steps, while her head drooped, then she'd fall asleep. So because of how sleepy she always is, I named her (possibly him) Itis I think it's adorable.

Mostly coming by to post a couple pictures for those of you that requested.

Here's two of her a couple days after I found her.

Here she is during a bath to get rid of fleas.

Just an upclose of her face.

That's her greeting me in the morning.

You'll notice she was so much more eye/nose gunky in the earlier pictures. She's bascially not sick anymore. Even the eye gunk is almost non-existent. She's grown so much over the last 2 weeks. She's still tiny. But she's definitely getting heavier, and is begining to play a bit. She's still more inquisitive then playful. She likes to take her paw and poke at things to learn about them I guess. She does that to everything, my feet, the chair leg, my slipper, anything on the floor.

I guess I'll just enjoy her voiceless meow for now until she gets it, and then I'll regret it when she bothers me constantly :P
post #18 of 26
How is she doing? Such a cutie.
post #19 of 26
She is adorable. Thank you for taking her in.

It looks like she/he might have a flea collar on? If so, you need to remove it ASAP. Flea collars are toxic to cats, especialy kittens.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
She's doing fantastic. The vet gave her a clean bill of health. Even told me not to use the terramycin as it looks like her eye gunk is clearing up on its own. Gonna take her in again for shots soon. She eats well and is basically litter trained now.

As for the flea collar, are you sure about that? The packaging even said safe for kittens, and I brought Itis to the vet with it on, and the vet even knew it was a flea collar and didn't say anything about it. Perhaps I should do some more research on this. Would you guys have another suggestion for flea killing/prevention?

She's really beginning to enjoy playing now. Starting to clean herself a bit. She's growing so fast. She has gained so much weight and size in the 2-3 weeks I've already had her.
post #21 of 26
Why do you think she needs a flea collar? Now that she's free of fleas and only indoors she should be safe from fleas. She is adorable.
post #22 of 26
A few suggestions for constipation:

If you don't have laxatone - use milk (they can't digest sugars and it
gives em runs - just a SMALL or tiny amount will do).

You can also use (very safe)
an 1/8 a teaspoon of olive oil - or a few drops given the size of your
wee one.

In a wee one, constipation should clear up ... but a vet visit may not
be out of order, if you can afford one.

For the clean up - don't ever use ammonia - simple pure white vinegar
works the best. To clean a pee smell - 50/50 strong white vinegar and water - let the spot dry, then a mix of baking soda and peroxide which
you let dry then vaccum up. This really really works, as well as the expensive
cleaners do! To wash bedding use Drift for babies - it breaks down the
pee smells (the detergent does) and is very gentle. Watch the perioxide tho, as it can bleach things...

As far as potty training, if the wee one is small, you can
stimulate them to pee by using a warm wash cloth and
rubbing the crotch/wee area. Just like momma cat would do.

Also there is a "cat attractant" litter which supposedly
tells cat "pee here" cause it smells so good to them, LOL.
I haven't used but others say it works.

Lastly, use a
softer litter like sand or clay, as they like to dig in it... its
an instinct. Do not use clumping litter yet.

Later you can switch to the pellet or clumping
formulas. (Dont' use the clumping w/ little ones, it gets
in paws etc and can be eaten and cause... constipation!!)
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Actually, I took her flea collar off for a little while now. But my sister came by the on the weekend, and swore she saw one jump across her face and dig itself into the fur. So she's had the collar on her since.

The day I found her, I bathed her twice that night for the fleas. About 85% of them died/fell off within the next couple hours. I gave her another bath 2-3 days later, and found maybe another 4-5. After a week, I stopped seeing fleas. A week after that I found a single flea. And a half week later, my sister says she saw a flea. Perhaps these last single ones were eggs or last remainders? I haven't found any fleas or signs of fleas otherwise. But I figure it's a good idea to continue some kind of treatment and prevention until she's entirely flea free for a little longer. I've only had her about 3 weeks now.

As for the laxative/regularity issue. I stopped using mineral oil a while ago. And I figured olive oil would be a better long term solution then mineral oil. The olive oil is probably good for her, while the mineral oil probably just goes right through her. Currently, I'm feeding her maybe 2 teaspoons of soft kitty food, with about 15mL of watery KMR, with about 3-4 drops of olive oil 3 times a day. And she seems to be doing fine with this. She poops either every day or every other day, and pees 5 or so times a day. I told the vet about this, and she says it's just fine both in terms of her current regularity and the long term use of olive oil.

For the cleaning of her pee spots, I used this cleaner that had enzymes and other cleaning things in it. Seems to have worked. She has yet to have an accident in the same place a second time. Thank god my entire place is hardwood/linoleum

She's pretty well potty trained now. When I first found her, I had to massage her to get her to pee/poo. Took almost a week before she started peeing on her own. And then close to a week later, she started pooping on her own. She picked up litter training surprisingly quickly considering she was about 4 weeks old when I found her. She started peeing consistently in the box within 3 days, and the pooing was a little slower, but also less frequent. I never have to worry about her peeing anywhere other then the box. But occasionally, her first instinct is to go under my bed. But she's pretty good about it. The last couple poops have been on point.

I use a clay, clumping litter recommended for kittens. I think the brand is something like Fresh 4 Life or something like that. It has a herbal attractant in it which looks like tiny bits of ground up vegetation of some sort. Works just fine. Her first experience of it was to sniff/taste. But she quickly figured out, this stuff smells fantastic, not so great tasting. She pees and poos in it no problem. Loves to scratch/dig in it even when she's not using the box. I play with her a couple times a day, and in the first couple days of litter training, might've found a couple grains stuck to her, but not anymore. It also clumps well and doesn't make much dust. Not even when I'm shaking it from the giant jug to the box. Definitely on the expensive side, but it seems to work fantastic. Probably buy it again. And most importantly Itis likes it.
post #24 of 26
Flea collars are definitely toxic to cats. VERY toxic. They emit poison gas and the cat inhales it. They have been connected to cancer in pets.
The other issue is that they are ineffective. They don't really kill the fleas on the whole body.
You should use a flea comb, washing, sprinkle borax on everything in your house but the cat. Then vacuum it up.
Once the kitten is 8 weeks then you can use Advantage which is so much more effective and much better for the cats.
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm aware of advantage. Are the toxins in Advantage no more dangerous then the ones on the flea collar? I figured advantage would be even worse since it is absorbed directly into the skin, and then diffuses throughout each cell of her body.
post #26 of 26
Regarding the flea collar discussion.... Other than natural botanicals, ALL flea products have toxic elements to them - they are, after all, various types of poison. What the companies go for is finding the poison/agent that kills the fleas, eggs, and ticks without harming the animal on which the products are used.

That said, Advantage has the least problems and least potential side-effects - OUT OF the non-botanical options.

Here are some links that may interest you:

If our kitties were indoor/outdoor, we would cut up the flea collars and put them in the vaccuum - they're great at killing fleas and eggs when in that close contact. But we would look into botanical options.

On the ferals outside, we use Advantage.

However, if you want to continue using a flea collar, please find a product in a break-away type collar. Too many kitties have died choking from a collar getting hooked on something (even in your home).

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Caring for Strays and Ferals › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Very Young Stray Advice