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Concerned about found kittens (long post)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My friend and I have found kittens in her back yard and have taken them in to take care of them (one has an infection we wanted to treat). Mom and dad are feral cats.
We took them to the vet on Thursday and they estimated that they were 4-5 weeks old, two females and one male, and they weighed about a pound each (maybe plus a few ounces). They gave them their first deworming treatment and ointment for the sick one's eyes (We call her Goober).
We have been researching and putting a lot of time into figuring out how to take care of these babies, but I am concerned about them.
Two of them didn't eat all of yesterday or today (at least since we took them away at around 12:30 PM), except for the male, who lapped some KMR out of a shallow bowl I put out after they wouldn't bottle feed. I have warmed the bottle and milk, put it on my finger and in their mouths, and they'll lick it off of themselves and each other if one accidentally steps in the bowl, but won't eat.
I also tried giving them soft food and each of them were able to get down maybe one bite of that. They sniff at the food and show interest, but won't really eat.

Goober has only just now been able to open her eyes fully, so she's a bit behind on development. She took about an ounce of milk from the bottle today, but won't go to the bathroom. None of them have pooped, but two of them have figured out how to use the litter box and have done so themselves.

I'm hoping that their instincts will kick in and they will try the food more readily on their own, especially since they won't bottle feed. They just chew on the nipple and then lose interest.

Also, I'm worried about them because Goober twitches a lot in her sleep while the others don't, and her back legs are a lot weaker than the others. I'm thinking this is because her eyes were stuck shut so she wasn't as mobile as they were, and she is gaining strength. Today she was able to climb in and out of the litter box on her own, so I'm hoping this is a sign of improvement.
They are also very vocal, one of which in particular. She meows at me when I leave the room, or if I am in the room and not paying attention to her. She doesn't ever want food, and she quiets down after she gets some attention or realizes I'm not coming back for a while, but sometimes she is a little more persistent. She's very strong and playful for such a young kitten, as is the boy, and she is very content to sleep and snuggle with me as long as I don't move too much.

I guess my questions are:
1. How can I get them to eat, without shoving it down their throats? Should I try to stimulate their bowel area to try and get them to poo if they are peeing on their own?
2. Should I be worried about the shaking during Goober's sleep and her weaker back legs?
3. Is the meowing an emotional thing, or should I contact the vet?
4. How long can they be left alone? I am out of town and my friend is checking on them three times a day until my mom gets home tomorrow night and can see them more frequently. Today they were fine and were just sleeping when my friend saw them at 6 or 7 PM, and that is when Goober finally started eating, so should they be okay for another day with this amount of attention?

Thanks so much. i'll add pictures of my babies later.
post #2 of 6
The meoving seems to be they are accepting you as a sorts of mom.

I think the idea of stimulating the bowels is good. Yes, excellent. Cant hurt but can do a lot of good. Should stimulate the bowels, and thus also stimulating their appetite.
And will give them the feeling of you as their mom. Use a cloth a little wetted in warm water.
Frankly, you can thus massage them over the whole body! Thus they will feel yet more as home with mom!

Make sure they have it warm and nice.

Goobers weak legs is bothersome, but it may be partly because of her difficulties to open eyes (perhaps because of the ifection). I do buy your theory on that.
But the main issue as now is for them to eat enough.
So dont bother too much about the legs as yet: you have enough to think about anyway...

You being away isnt optimal, as you are becoming their "mother".
But you cant split in two. You must do what you got to do, so dont worry about it and dont have bad conscience.
Do what you can - it is great doing, but dont worry you cant work miracles.

Your co-worker, the friend who found them and is participating in your quest saving them - should be just fine.

Good luck!

Btw: The most difficult is usually saving kitten "infants". Yours should normally not be too difficult, unless they are sick or something.
This link may be useful for you http://www.kitten-rescue.com/.
It is mostly about orphaned small kittens, but...
post #3 of 6
Most epople may not find this optimale to do but when I find a orphan kitten. I give 10 cc of water either orally or Sub Que. That will get there systems moving if they are dehydrated.

Then once there a little more livly I will also take a small amount of food on my finger. Pointer finger then open the mouth enough with my middle finger to put the food on there toung a lot of tmes they say hey this is good. I give soft food for one week and add hard to the other side of the plate if there not interested in the hard food. I start making mush.

KMR-Canned food of your choice-Kitten kibble of your choice.
Thats Mush they are all about equal then I take the KMR out then slowly add les canned food over a four or five day period normally they are on dry about 1 1/2 weeks after I found them.

The kittens I have now are 5 weeks and 1 day and there eating hard and wet and drinking off mom at night.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Good news! My friend went to check on them this morning and they drank all the KMR left for them in the bowl. Goober drank out of the bowl, too, which means she is catching on!
The other female also started to eat some of the mush from the other bowl they had. They are becoming more lively and climbing around, so I'm not nearly as worried as I previously was.


This is Goober. Her eyes are completely open now.

The three of them. (Left to right- Goober, the unnamed black and white one, and Mister Skitches.)

Goober and the black and white.
post #5 of 6
Absolutely adorable. I want one :p
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Another update: They've all started eating a lot more. The little one, goober, only eats when she is separated from the other kittens because they push her out of the way. They're going to the bathroom and everything now.

The black and white one is a terror, she loves climbing up my mom when she visits them, and is most certainly the loudest.
All in all, they are much better now and seem to be healthy.
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