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Mental retardation??

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well Little is surely growing up but as he gets older it becomes more and more apparent that he is behind developmentally. He is 4 weeks old and can barely walk more than a few steps. I encourage him constantly to walk around and explore but he will only take a few steps before he sits down and looks around, bewildered. He does not run, or jump..he does try to climb a little, but not well. And if I don't watch him he will walk right off the edge of a counter or the bed or whatever he is on without any hesitation whatsoever. Sometimes he just sits and stare into space with a 'stupid' look on his face, for lack of a better word. I think he sees a little but not well, I know he hears a bit too because when my alarm goes off in the middle of the night he immediately wakes up and starts scratching the side of his box.

I guess I have never raised a kitten this young but it seems he should be curious and rambunctious and playful but now and he just isn't. I worry for his mental health. I will love him just as much either way but I need him to at least be functional enough to use a litterbox and eat on his own eventually. Maybe I am putting the cart before the horse here?? Any thoughts??
post #2 of 18
It sounds to me he is blind....
How did you get him? He is awfully young...
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Little is an orphaned kitten from the clinic I work at. I 'spose there are others on here who missed the first post so here is his story:

I work at a vet clinic. The owner of his mother brought her in after she had been in labor 2-3 days and not produced a kitten. She was not dialated at all but obviously contracting, and the vet recommended and emergency c-section and as we were shaving her for surgery we discovered hemhorraging all over her abdomen. For some reason she wasn't clotting and there was no way she would make it through surgery. So the doctor called the owner who opted for euthanasia and aborting the kittens. She vet, after some persuasion, got the owner to agree to let her check for viable kittens before euthanasia. When she opened her up there were 3 kittens, one was stuck in the birth canal and had obviously been there for days. The other two were alive but about a week premature. Little was the worst off of the two and his heart kept stopping, the vet was doing CPR for about 30 minutes before he finally came around.

The owner decided to try to take them home the first night and brought them back the next day and dropped them off saying she couldn't do the bottle feeding, the other kitten was very dehydrated and lethargic and died a few hours later. So that left Little. I took him home when he was 3 days old and have been bottle feeding him every since. He is now 4 weeks old (yesterday) and a whopping 15 ounces
post #4 of 18
It's possible he suffered some sort of birth defects....but at 4 week it is hard to tell. Some kittens develop slower than others (like the "runt" of the litter). I had one "special" kitten out of Eden's litter, but she had been severly malnourished/did not have water/etc when I got her - she had kittens about 2 weeks later. By 8-10 weeks, she was up to par with her littermates, just slower developmentally starting off.
post #5 of 18
There are possible problems. Retardation is not an impossibility. But four weeks is a little young to be extremely active, although it's at the beginning of that time. It seems you mentioned that he was late opening his eyes; if he was truly a week premature, he is really only 3 weeks old, right?

Also, not having a playmate can be a problem, too.
post #6 of 18
Hydrocephalus first came to mind but he's still really young so give him a few weeks - at 4 weeks they don't do much anyway. Keep us posted.
post #7 of 18
I was thinking it might have been a lack of oxygen.

that he will become functional enough to use the litter box!

You are an to take that on!
post #8 of 18
Im remembering back when Monster was that little. I dont think he was very active, when it came to walking around or playing, at that point in time. Monster never walked off of the bed or any high surface he might have been on. Maybe he is blind, you could figure that out by waving something in front of his face and see if he follows it with his eyes. But, the fact that he just opened his eyes, it might be that his eyes are still adjusting and he isnt blind at all. Another thing, about the "retardation", it seems pretty possible, giving that you said his heart kept stoping and the vet had to do CPR for 30 mins after being born. It seems to me, that during that time, maybe if he stopped breathing (which im pretty sure he did, if his heart stopped beating) that maybe he COULD have lost some brain cells with lack of oxygen. But maybe, this is all just him being behind, with him being premature it could be a possibility. You will find out in time.
post #9 of 18
Awww poor baby. He could be a little slower developing. And because he's an "only" child he has no other brothers/sisters to play with and encourage activity.

I had one cute little rex kitten (in a litter of 5) who was a bit slow compared to the rest. She had everything wrong with her (type wise) but had the sweetest personality. She didn't try to run away from dangers and tended to latch on to one adult cat and follow them around all the time.

Keep an eye on things - maybe document the "development' or worries so you can let the vet know when you take him in for shots in a few weeks.
post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
a week premature, he is really only 3 weeks old, right?

Also, not having a playmate can be a problem, too.
From what I understand from my profession, mrblanche has it correct. If he was a week premature that is cause for him to be "developmentally" a week behind the normal. So he is developmentally 3 weeks old.

Great guide is if he is eating, drinking, eliminating and growing.....you are doing a fantastic job!

Just give him time and spend lots of time holding him and loving him. They need love to grow, too.

www.kitten-rescue.com helpful site
post #11 of 18
No advice, but just best wishes for your munchkin, and feeling grateful that there are such kind-hearted people in the world as you. May you both be blessed in all you do.
post #12 of 18
Bless you for taking on Little. condolences to your office on the sad outcome for the mama-kitty I shudder to think of the misery she suffered for those endless days in labor ; at least your vet was able to release her from her torment and she is able to play happily over RB
I had a developmentally delayed cat named Forrest Gump. He was from a litter of 5 kittens found in the brush; an elderly couple had heard mewing kittens for 4 days before my daughter found out & rescued them. Their eyes were just opening when I got them. Poor Forrest couldn't even suckle - he had to be dropper fed.
However, he grew into a gorgeous, affectionate, altho extremely clumsy & slow-responding fellow. I had my dog & my kids to help raise the litter, and the dog & kids gave him lots of extra licks/pets and we worked with him on chasing string - it took him awhile and he never could really "hunt", but he enjoyed trying
On the other hand, he wasn't destructive or mischievous like the others and didn't mind the playpen as much, either. And eventually, he did learn to cover his potties in the box - he used the box, just wasn't good at the covering.
I am sure that Little, with extra stimulation, will come around, too. Sending prayers and vibes out to you both
post #13 of 18
My Aya was about the same age when I found her as your little guys is now. But a sick survivor of the streets, rather than a rescued premature kitten. At first, she did have a propensity to want to walk off things unawares, like tables, the sofa, the vet table... Now at 15 weeks she's very active and normal.

While it is very possibly given his history that he may be permanently affected. It's a little early to get too worried about it.

Keep trucking!... He's darn cute though.
post #14 of 18
One of my cats had an extremely difficult birth, and had to be rescussitated after he was delivered by c-section as he had stopped breathing, so possibly suffered from lack of oxygen.

He is a completely normal cat in most regards, except he is extraordinarily clumsy compared to the others - he can't judge jumps at all, he'll go to jump onto a chair 2 feet away and miss, sliding down the side while he tries to scrabble onto it, he crashes into things (he's just knocked a load of stuff off a shelf as I was typing this and has gone headfirst at full tilt into the side of the computer!), he has on occasion fallen off the sofa, in fact if any cat made me feel like I ought to put padding on any corners in my home, it's him.

If I didn't have the others to compare him to though, I would not notice his very slight problem. He's a lovely cat, just as bright and affectionate as the others, but just with this slight clumsiness and slight lack of co-ordination. He is just fine.

Do have your kitten's sight checked out though just in case.
post #15 of 18
Originally Posted by Lyrajean View Post
My Aya was about the same age when I found her as your little guys is now. But a sick survivor of the streets, rather than a rescued premature kitten.
Firefox was about 4-5 weeks old when i took her in. wasn't playing yet - too sick, for one thing. but even after a week, when she was well enough to get around, she was just walking around, investigating things - not playing yet. i think she was about 8 weeks old before i noticed true 'playing' behavior.
here are some pix to illustrate...
1st night inside

about a week later

about 2 months old - maybe a bit older

but today, she's very active, playful - & when Cable's no longer w/me, Firefox will probably take over 'top cat' position - i think she's 2nd right now [a true tortie!]

post #16 of 18
My husband and I both think my cat Thor is a little off in the head sometimes. He doesn't jump at all or if he does, he misses and just rolls off. He's slightly cross-eyed which might account for some perspective/distance issues. He also walks a bit funny (more like a cross between a waddle and a saunter) but he's my beautiful big guy and I wouldn't trade him for a million bucks

That said, 4 week old kittens are probably still just adjusting to opening their eyes and checking out the world. EVERYTHING seems to befuddle them! They don't move around much, aren't sure what to make of things and are generally just adjusting.

I would give the lil one a couple more weeks to see how she develops and a checkup from the vet on her vision. Please keep us posted on her progress!
post #17 of 18
I got Luna when she was just about 4 weeks old, and she was very sick at the start as well. For the first few weeks she'd walk around, but she'd walk into things, if we didn't watch her while she was with us on the bed she'd walk off it, and she didn't do much, you'd pick her up and go to move and realise she was asleep (and these days she still falls asleep sitting up).

NOW she's a bundle of energy, she's constantly running around, and I wish I hadn't encouraged play so much because now she never stops!

But I did wonder at the start if she was a little slow in the head and I think she still is, but even if it is, she's still fine.

But she still runs into things, she's always head butting the wall, or jumping off things straight into the wall or door, she'll walk out my bedroom door and then sit outside my window crying because she's separated from me - even tho the door is still open and she chose to go out there. Or managing to climb into a hole in the wall and getting stuck in there for ages even though she knows she can't get out without me. And then reopening the hole after I fill it up and going back in there.

And remember when I freaked because she ate an ENTIRE plastic bag!

And she doesn't seem to learn that certain things hurt, like trying to eat food while it's on the stove.

But I love her and generally she is ok. She doesn't walk off surfaces anymore...I think that's kind of normal though for a itty bitty kitten that has no siblings or mummy cat!
post #18 of 18
It may not be a big issue at that age.

We got our torti/tabby, Mitzi, years ago when she was very small, the shelter said she was 6 weeks but I think they were "stretching it".

She lived a very good life, we lost here in late 2005 at 14 years of age.

She was "backward" when she was small.

She did not meow until she was almost 1 year old.

She seemed slow to pick up or learn things.

As a kitten, she would make a strange vocalization while lying on the floor, jump up and run into a closed door or wall, back off, shake her head and run in another direction.

All of this passed and she turned into a normal, happy and entertaining cat who we still miss.
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