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Tiny kitten please help

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I have just joined these forums because to be honest I am looking for some advice, I hope you guys don't mind and may be able to help.

I just got a kitten from my boyfriends sister last night. He is only 45 days (just shy of seven weeks) but she has a lot of pets and they seemed to be doing well, going to the toilet unaided and eating kitten food, so I offered to take him early.

However I did think he seemed very small for seven weeks but haven't had such a small kitten before (my other cats were both recue cats at approx 2 yrs and approx 3 months).

This morning she contacted me to say three of the original six kittens had died and one was very poorly. My kitten had only taken a small amount of kitten milk from a saucer last night in front of me but I had put it down to the stress of a new home, especially since I had bathed him and given a flea tablet that night as he was badly infested. When I checked him immediately after her call he had not eaten or drunk any more and seemed lethargic.

My boyfriends sister contacted me again to say she thought the problem was that the mother's milk had dried up and she hadn't noticed in time, it may have been a couple of days since they were fed from mum and had got more and more tired, unable to feed themselves completely. However her neighbours cat also had a litter of only three and was accepting towards the two survivors she had who were now feeding and going to stay with the neighbour until they were recovered, would I like to bring my kitten as I had no apparatus to try and feed him myself yet?

I only live a street away so took the kitten round immediately. Sadly this didn't work as he refused to feed from the other mum cat but the neighbour gave me a syringe and managed to feed him one ounce of kitten milk. This was at one p.m. today.

However she has never hand reared a kitten either (the syringe was a spare one of the type used to give babies medicine) so couldn't give me much advice other than a rough guess that he would take about an ounce every two hours.

So - sorry for the novel I am writing here by the way! - since one p.m. I have been feeding him on demand and he has taken 6.5oz of pre-mixed kitten milk - does this sound OK?
He has urinated but not had a bowel movement the whole time I have had him - should I be worried?
What else should I be doing other than feeding, grooming (very messy eater!) and keeping him warm?
When should I think about introducing solids back into his diet? I know he is old enough for it but god he is so tiny - especially now I have seen him next to other kittens two weeks younger and a third larger - it is kind of scary.

And finally, should I feel justified in being incredibly annoyed that my boyfriends sister somehow failed to noticed that her kittens were smaller (at 6.5 weeks!) than the neighbours kittens aged 4 weeks! And! That she allowed them to be so infested with fleas the bathwater was bloody last night!

I feel totally out of my depth and just have no idea what I should be doing but want to give this wee guy the best chance he has...any advice would be much appreciated.
post #2 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hi again,
Sorry to double post but he just threw up quite dramatically, can I assume I have given him too much to eat or is it liekly to be a sign of something worse? He doesn't seem too fussed just wandered to a different part of the rug he is on and has actually perked up a lot since before but...sorry...am worried...
post #3 of 40
Wow, I hope someone with more experience helps you soon. Is a vet available on call?

Have you tried wet kitten food too? Poor little thing
post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 
Yes I tried him with dry which he had no interest in at all but I think he was on wet at the sister's house (I handed in a box of dry food and some kitten milk to help out a few days ago but I don't know if she used it). I offered him wet food today from a teaspoon and he took a few licks at it and a teeny tiny bite but that was it.
I have never had any problems at all with my other cats (of whom I only have one now, one went with my mum when she moved) and other than neutering and shots have never been to a vets, I'm pretty clueless and feel terrible that is catching up on me now, I don't even think there is a vet open around here tomorrow but will be visiting Monday I assure you.
I just need to know how to get him to hang on til then if I am doing something wrong just now.
post #5 of 40
Please get this kitten to a vet! A flea tablet? From a grocery store or feed store or pet store can kill a small kitten. Please contact your local ER vet (do they have those in Scotland?) and take the package in with you when you go. I have heard these horror stories before when they fall into my email bin during kitten season and the outcome unless the person acts quickly is never pretty. I know there are so many products out there that "look" so safe for kittens, but they really aren't. Not when they are given without a vet's supervision and the tablet or topical treatment isn't from a vet. Factor in that three of his littermates died and this could mean a genetic issue, a disease or any number of things. The kitten's health is compromised and giving him anything over the counter could further complicate what is going on already.
post #6 of 40
What is the kitten milk you are talking about? Is it milk for cats, or is it mother-substitute milk for kittens?

It is the mother substitute milk which is most useful here. the brand KMR is probably best, Royal Canin has also a good one. there may be others - must be for kittens, not for dog puppies.

Cat wet food is also good, he is big enough for it, and it should be mild for his stomach.

He does pee, right? But not poo yet? You can try to massage him a little on the tummy and the behind, after he has eaten. Use preferably a cloth, somewhat wetted in warm wather. And rub it in circles.

(and yes, if you can talk with a good vet as the other said).

Good luck!
post #7 of 40
I have to agree you need a vet, it sounds like this little guy was in dire straights before you even got him . In the mean time, keep him warm & well hydrated, even if you have to force feed a little.

Keep him on the milk replacer, if you really want you might try mixing the wet food with some milk-replacer to make it more palatable.

If he's still got lots of fleas grab a flea-comb and some soapy water (I use baby shampoo, just enough to break the surface tension so the fleas will drown), and give him a comb through to get ride of any fleas he may have.

Yes, he should be peeing/pooping by now.

Why don't you try another a nice warm bath? That might help with both getting him to relax so he will go & if you use a gentle shampoo (again baby is good) it will knock down the fleas a little (you'll still have to grab a comb to get the buggers out, they really like to bury in).

I'm sure the flea infestation is what has made him so lethargic - just keep trying, I hope he pulls through .

post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hi and thanks everyone for the advice.
I feel so stupid for giving him a tablet now but just wanted to relieve him from the fleas, honestly the poor guy was jumping with them and I honestly (stupidly) didn't know they would drown in a regular bath. Especially as my home is flea free as I treat furnishings and my big cat regularly so it's not like he would have reinfested right away - ARGH! If it helps I was not so stupid as to give him just any old thing, it was stated as suitable for over two weeks and recommended by a breeder we know but I don't know now...

I WILL get him to a vet ASAP, unfortunately no animal ER here but my mum knows an experienced breeder (same lady as above advice giving) who will hopefully be able to come here tomorrow and tide me over to Monday morning.
I have been looking around the site a bit more now I am less panicky and have tried the rubbing the bum thing, he passed very very little but enough to reassure me his bum works if nothing else.
As for fleas, asides from me worrying about what I gave him, that is now a non issue. I had bought a flea comb with the pills and after bathing him (didn't use baby shampoo though used kitten shampoo but not an anti-flea one or anything like that) combed him out and he enjoyed it so much I just kept at it until he was nice and sleek and flea free, haven't seen one all day.
The milk he is on is Lactol milk supplement for both kittens and puppies as it's all I could get here - we have three pet shops one of which is fish only and the other two are not up to much, the only decent one closed last week (Acorn Pets), I thought he would be self feeding and only need complementary milk so had to run out to find some but again it is something I will discuss with the vet and replace ASAP if he advises this.
I think I will go bathe him now and just keep hoping it has been a poor level of care and attention from his mother and owner for the last few days and not anything genetic. He is a really sweet little guy and very vocal about getting fed now which can only be good right?
post #9 of 40
No one thinks your stupid!!! We all make mistakes & you were just trying to do whats best. It sounds like you gave him something that was just fine for kittens.

Kitten shampoo is even better then baby shampoo, baby shampoo is just what I use because I have a baby in the house. I'd keep bathing him every day for awhile if he'll put up with it -we're trying to fight some fleas too.

He may just be a runt and that's the only reason he's so small .

Has he perked up at all after his bath?

I may take a few days if he's anemic from the fleas, I really hope he is feeling better! We're routing for you over here!
post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for your kind words, I feel a bit more reassured that I am doing what I can correctly until I get to a professional.
I will definitely bathe him often, he really likes it which makes a nice change as I usually get clawed to bits with Bateman!
He is dried off and curled up asleep on a lukewarm hot water bottle wrapped in his blanket now, he perked up for a bit then decided a nap was a good idea again.
However he was a bit sick again after his bath, I may have been pressing too hard on his tummy when drying as he had just eaten again before his bath and the previous time I mentioned he was lying in an awkward position, should I be gearing up to panic or is it common for kittens to be a bit ill if they overeat?
I placed a measuring spoon (tablespoon size) of milk and wet food mush near him and he showed some interest but didn't eat yet.
Thanks again and I will keep you updated, you all are a great community.

PS - He was one of the smallest, my boyfriend picked him out as all his other cats growing up were the runts of the litters and he says he likes them best as they are scrappy and fighters - my big guy is too placid for him which Robert blames on him having an easy start to life, I hope he is right and this wee guy is giving us hell for many years to come.
post #11 of 40
You've gotten great advice and it sounds like he's starting to perk up a bit. One thing I want to suggest though. I don't know where you live in Scotland, but if you can get your hands on goat milk, it is very good for kittens and usually much cheaper. 5 of my 7 were bottle fed on goats milk and they liked it better than the replacement kitten milk you can buy at the pet stores.

Good luck and let us know how he's doing. Pics are always appreciated too!
post #12 of 40
If being stupid means having a heart as big as yours, I'll take stupid every day! And you are not stupid! You're doing absolutely the best you can - and I know the little knows how much he is loved. Best wishes for all of you!
post #13 of 40
ok wow! yes you are completely justified in feeling annoyed with her... i would be downright irate! as a matter of fact, I am! That little gaffer needs to go to the vet STAT. reasons being 1: it is more than likely severely dehidrated. between the mothers milk and the fleas its no wonder its littermates died!
2: fleas can sometimes carry things like lime disease. if you have a 24 hour vet clinic get it there really. if you cant get in for a few days, here are some tips. he may also have worms... he needs to get checked out
treat it like a newborn kitten. keep feeding it the kitten milk, you may want to add an extra tablespoon of water to the milk so that he is getting rehydrated. If he has not had a bowel movement, he may be too weak to do the doody himself, you may need to stimulate him. Now this is done by wiping in quick short strokes just below the genitals, my experience has told me that wiping in a motion from back to front produces the best effect. keep feeding him, and yes about one ounce ever hour is a good start as this will begin to hydrate him. He is also old enough to get about 1/2 an ounce of water into him / feeding if he will take it. you may want to mix it with a small ammount of tuna juice just to make it taste yummy.
I jsut wish you luck with this endeavor.
you are an amazing person to not be tempted to go over and throttle this woman. negligence is not a good thing especially when you have young ones (no matter the species) involved.
thank you for loving this poor little kitty. Dont lose heart.
post #14 of 40
Thread Starter 
Overnight went really well - he slept through pretty much or at least didn't miaow loud enough for me to hear. I had left him a bowl of fresh water to have a go at as didn't want to leave anything richer after him being sick and he must have gulped it down! When I went to check this morning the bowl was licked dry.
Since then (about 30 mins ago) he has had another ounce or so of kitten milk and some more water, my boyfriend is now offering him a few flakes of tuna to see if he will go for it.
Best of all, when I let him out his enclosure this morning he ran right over and followed me while fighting with my toes. As he was so much better on his feet today I was going to let him walk with me to the kitchen for milk but he was so playful I thought I might stand on him by mistake so I picked him up and let him eat my fingers instead. He is so much more feisty today! He also had an unaided bowel movement which was monstrously huge but firm and normal in appearance.
I will post pics soon, I have a couple I took the night I got him which I'd like to compare to the ones I am going to take today, thank you all once again.
I know I have a ways to go with him to make sure he is going to be OK in the longterm but it is so satisfying to at least see a difference in his demeanour that makes me think I am helping.
post #15 of 40
I'm so glad to hear he's feeling better!!!

It sounds like he was just a little anemic from all the fleas & he'll be right as rain in no time (I'd still take him in for a check-up, but during regular hours). That's a great sign that he wants to play!

for him continueing to improve, keep us updated!
post #16 of 40
I am glad he has perked up - I dont know if things are different vet wise in Scotland than England, but in England, vets have to provide an out of hours service - it isn't always with the same practice, but they do have numbers on answerphones, so it might be worth ringing your vets number and seeing if they do have an answerphone with a number on it, even though he is perkier, just so you have it to hand. I dont know what the breeder recommended though, I only know of one tablet over here that is used for fleas and I dont know how good it is - Frontline spray is the most widely used for tiny babies. I hope that his littermates did only suffer from flea anaemia and there is nothing more sinister genetically going on, I would definitely get him checked over this week, and I hope she gets the mumcat neutered.
post #17 of 40
Thread Starter 
So we have had a pretty good day. My mum's friend visited and clucked and fussed over him with me. She says he is very small and seems to be behind by a couple of weeks development wise but that he might not take long to catch up as he is being treated so much better now.
She gave me some vitamin drops with taurien and argenine (sp?) to enrich his goat milk with, he refused to take the kitten milk after this morning but goats milk is easy to find and he seemed to like it so I have given him that today.
He has been really active all day chasing, hiding and pounching and has been enjoying lots f cuddles. He just fell asleep on my lap and has apparently learned how to purr yay!
Here is a pic from the night we got him and anohter of him talking to Bateman this morning (just after Bateman had run through a bowl of dry food scattering it every which way to get to him, please don't judge me for the mess I promise my furry friends bedroom is kept as clean and tidy as the rest of my house...just not at 9am on a Sunday when there are two of them playing!

We have decided to name him Dollarhyde by the way and will be at the vets tomorrow with him. The vet we are going to see has a kitten program which we are proabably going to sign up for which will cover all flea and worming treatments plus shots for the first year, plus neutering, and microchipping, thank you all once more - I hope I will be welcome to hang around and join the forum proper instead of just barging in in a panic? I really like the community spirit you have here.
post #18 of 40
What cuties!!!! and what messy room? I don't see a messy room - I see a room full of love! I would just love to see more pictures and get updates as things go along - and I really wish you the best of luck in rearing this little one up to be a healthy active kitty!

PS you should see my place - cat toys and trees everwhere!
post #19 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the kind words, yeah you can't see the part of the picture I cropped out...cat tree, various toys, cosy box, Bateman's bed, litter trays, four food bowls of varying sizes, a stack of god only knows how many kinds of milk and food...the list goes on!

In response to Shimadea's post I want to assure you all I am not letting things lie with this woman. She is my boyfriends sister and I do not want to create a family rift but I cannot turn a blind eye to the environment her pets are in. She still has several animals in the house all of whom I am assuming must also have fleas by now at the very least.

Her mother is a major cat lover - my boyfriend got his love of cats from her - and I have called her and told her that she needs to speak with her daughter and convince her to clean up her act and have her cats, ferrets and dog neutered to prevent this happening again and to stop getting more pets until the situation is under control. If she cannot do this then she needs to surrender at least some of the animals.

I have made it clear that if her mum cannot get her to start taking better care of the animals I will contact the relevant authorities. I may not know a lot about animals but I know they need somewhere safe and clean to live, they need good food and exercise and they NEED to be neutered or the problem will just continue!

I know this little guy alone has been a lot of work just over the past couple of days and that multiplied by six would have been tough for her BUT if she had been paying proper attention things would not have got so out of hand, I would have been happy to step in to help and take a healthy 5 week old to handrear rather than a weakened 6.5 week old...and at the end of the day that is the responsibility she took on when she irresponsibly allowed her pet to breed unchecked.

PS - I have nothing against people with a lot of pets, the sister's neighbour who originally tried to help us had an absolute houseful including chinchillas, two dogs (that I saw), three cats, a litter of 3 kittys and a litter of 4 pups BUT they were all well fed, well groomed, and HEALTHY - that is the difference.

OK getting off my soapbox now...
post #20 of 40
I'm glad to hear the little guy is doing better. He's adorable and you're doing a wonderful job with him.

Please keep us updated, little Dollarhyde is so precious.
post #21 of 40
From the first post to the picture post.. sounds and looks like such an improvement!

Keep up the good work, I'm glad there are more of us that want to take care than not. Being family will be difficult so good luck, but sounds like everyone is on your side.

He is so adorable, and it is great your other kitty has taken to him too!
post #22 of 40
I'm just now seeing this thread. You've gotten some good advice and it sounds like things are going well. I have one question, though. If the kitten is really 7 weeks old, why are you feeding kitten milk? Most kittens are completely weaned, or very nearly, by 7 weeks. He should be able to eat solid food. You might try him with some wet kitten food, possibly mixed with the kitten milk. Baby also works for some kittens that won't eat. Just make sure it's meat with no spices or garlic in it.
post #23 of 40
Awww, what sweeties you have! And, you're right, he is tiny for his age. I'm glad the goat milk is working for you. I didn't know anything should be added to it, but I'll keep that in mind if I ever have to bottle feed more kittens (god help me! )

Of COURSE you are more than welcome to just jump in here! The cat lounge is where everyone just hangs out and gets to know each other, but feel free to explore and see where you're comfortable.
post #24 of 40
I've just now read this thread. Your little guy is so cute!! You've done a great job with him. When kitties start acting "normal", you know they're feeling better. So glad you're taking him to the vet and will get him on a good program. I'm sure with lots of TLC and a safe, loving home, he's going to flourish!
post #25 of 40
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
I have one question, though. If the kitten is really 7 weeks old, why are you feeding kitten milk? Most kittens are completely weaned, or very nearly, by 7 weeks. He should be able to eat solid food.
Yes, with healthy, normally developed kittens it is entirely thrue what you say (although they may suck on the mother a couple of weeks extra, if they do have mother). Substitue milk is there not necessary, and even cat milk (=essentially low-lactose milk) they can do without.

But here we had a kitten very undernourished, little for his age, bad appetite, weakened by fleas...
It was necessary to get him every extra chance possible.

Of course, now when he is better and everything is more stabile, soon he can make on normal kitten food.

Excellent work, Porce!
post #26 of 40
Thread Starter 
Yes this is correct StefanZ, he was unwilling to eat anything else so I was happier handfeeding him replacement milk every few hours instead - at least this way I can track how much he is taking in and I know he is not going without from lack of ability/strength to manage himself.

However - it went really well at the vet today, he was SO nice and reassured me I was doing well (my boyfriend too! He has been helping a lot).

He thought the kitten looked around 4/5 weeks so he is definitely runty and he told me Dollarhyde is still slightly anaemic although he is a decent weight proportionally for his size (i.e. he isn't all bones anymore!).

He told me to go back to feeding him the Lactol if he will take it but if not goats milk with vitamins will do.

He told me to not worry about solid food for about another week but make it available - he says the kitten SHOULD be able to eat solid food but I have tried everythng and he just ignores it. I do not want to stress him with force feeding if I don't have to so I will just let him see it and let him see Bateman eating maybe that will peak his interest.

We have signed up for the kitten first year plan I mentioned before and the vet is kindly allowing us to pay monthly instead of all at once - I guess cos we cannot be sure what is going to happen at this stage but also it helps us a lot financially. It is only going to be about ten pounds a month for a year so NO excuses for people who do not treat their pets properly.

We have another appointment in two weeks to start the worming/de-flea/vaccination program and for a checkup.

I really liked the vet - he gave me a teeny tiny bottle and spare teats to feed the kitten with as I am getting fed up of the syringe and so is Dollarhyde, it goes everywhere and I worry it is going to hurt his mouth as he wriggles about so much sometimes. I also got the vets out of hours number and he also said they have a free advice line at the reception so if I have any questions about what to do with the kitten someone will be happy to help.
post #27 of 40
It's great the you liked the vet and he's easy to work with! You will probably find the bottle a lot easier than the syringe. We actually bottle fed Harley and Monster a lot longer than we had to (up to 4 months) just because they enjoyed it so much. They were eating solid kitten food, but a little bottle at night made them to right to sleep hence WE got a decent nights sleep too! It was so cute though...Harley would lay on his back in my arm and reach for and hold the bottle with his little paws just like a baby would do, watching me the entire time. It was enough to make you melt!

Keep us up to date on how he's doing!
post #28 of 40
It sounds like you had quite a scare and really put out a Herculean effort to pull this little guy through. Hand raising kittens is a heart-breaking task so often; they can go bad so quickly.

But just you being there to love him and care about him is very important.
post #29 of 40
Did the vet weigh the kitten? I'd be interested to compare it to the weight chart I have from Ginger's litter.

post #30 of 40
I have been following this thread, and am very glad your little one is improving. You have done a great job!
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