or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Question from a first timer
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Question from a first timer

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hi, my name is Susan and I'm a wildlife rehab specialist. Last Tuesday I found 6 kitten with eyes still shut in a neighbor's bush. The Mom is a neighbors cat who lets her roam outside and when she gets preggers, locks her inside and claims she can't find the kittens. The Dad is feral. I lost one yesterday, and now noticed that they are sucking the head of one bald! What can I do to stop this? They are on KMR and have great suckling reflex. Since I do wildlife rehab, I had everything already on had. This is new territory for me. I have always adopted grown cats.
post #2 of 40
Hi Susan-

They are sucking for comfort, they need their mom and so this is an impluse they cannot control. As young as they are, they need to stay at about 93 degrees of warmth and out of drafts. One of the most useful tools I found with orphaned kittens is called Snugglekittie


This tool is a great comfort for the kittens and they will suckle on this instead. The kittens need to be fed round the clock every two hours (which you probably already know) I raise a lot of feral babies that have been orphaned. Please email if you need help, I will do what I can-

post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Would a stuff animal do? Also one more question, what to do about constapation? All eyes are open and only two have had a BM. Should I worry? I have rubbed like I should with no result.
post #4 of 40
I'll PM hissy for you as I have no experience with kittens that young. Did you use a warm towel to rub their bellies with? I don't know if that makes a difference (the temperature).

Re: snugglekitty... a stuffed animal may help, but the snuggle kitty uses batteries to create a heartbeat, and that has made a tremendous difference with the kittens we've fostered. It also can be used with heat packs (that last for about 3-4 hours) and a bottle for suckling (though I think that is generally if there is only one kitten).

If you mention that you were referred by TCS, they'll give you a nice discount.
post #5 of 40
Susan, I just zipped off a PM to hissy.

I forgot to add - I think you're wonderful for rescuing these kitties!

Any way you can trap that neighbor's cat and have it spayed? Irresponsible owners really irk me!!!!!!!! (I'd use much stronger language, but we don't know each other yet. )

Also - several members of TCS and myself host a website called www.savesamoa.org .

We would LOVE to host some of your rescue stories - if you ever have the time to write any of them up!
post #6 of 40

You need to take a warm wet cloth and stimulate their tummies and bums every time they eat. Do it gently in a rotating motion and they should eliminate right away. You want to be careful not to rub them raw. Any chance of finding a surrogate mom to take the pressure off you?
post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! I have been rubbing their tummys, and all I get is urine. No BM. There's some small BM in the cage, but I didn't see from who. LDG, you can use any language around me! I am a former Marine's wife, I have heard it all! I have called around, and all of my vet resources are either tubbing or using bottle, no foster mom's. I'm use to it. If I can do sqirrels, possums, and racoons, I should be able to do this. I'm just more attached. I can't just let these guys loose, and run wild. Heck my 4 YO Lab has become Auntie Molly. She even sleeps at their cage at night and will not let anyone other than myself and Hubby pick her babies up.
post #8 of 40
Susan, we're not allowed to use THAT kind of language on the site, LOL!

You're a sweetheart for mommying these little guys.
post #9 of 40
Susan, I don't know if you want to get involved in this way, but what your neighbor is doing is against the law. In Mississippi,

Miss Code Ann 97-41-1 et seq.

Animal cruelty is defined as: “override, overdrive, overload, torture, torment, unjustifiably injure, deprive of necessary sustenance, food, or drink; or cruelly beat or needlessly mutilate.†Cruelty to animals is a Misdemeanor with a fine up to $1000 or imprisonment up to 6 months.
Just a thought.

How're the kitties doing?
post #10 of 40
I've hand weened 2 litters of orphaned kittens, the last were 10 days old when their mom disappeared (only one had eyes still shut). The first one did not have a BM until they were close to 3 weeks old, and the last one waited until about 5 days later.

A couple of things that worked very well for us:

We kept them in a stereo-size box on the floor with a lot of towels in the bottom to keep them warm. We covered most of the top with a towel to keep the sunlight and drafts out. It seemed to calm them. Once they decided they wanted out, we created a boxed in area about 5X5 with heavy throw rugs and towels, expanding the area larger and larger while their inquisitiveness and physical abilities grew.

We started feeding them every 4 hours, then slowly worked to twice daily (once they were eating a lot on their own). We spoiled them so much that they didn't get off the bottle until they were close to 8 weeks old.

We sat on the floor with towels on our laps to feed them. They didn't take to bottles, so we used syringes for the purpose. We would rub their backs to burp them, but typically the handling we gave them with their post feeding bath stimulated a burp. If after bathing they hadn't burped, we held them up against our chest and lightly tapped their backs.

We kept washclothes in a bowl of warm water after feedings. Rinsed the water out thoroughly and wiped their entire body from head to rump after each feeding. It was this spring, and pretty warm in May so we didn't worry to much about drafts when they were wet. They were messy eaters and we always had to wipe off the excess KRM. For their rumps, we started with a dry towel (they always peed first), then switched to the damp to clean them off and stimulate their BM. When they started peeing without stimulation on a regular basis (about 4 weeks), we started using toilet paper and holding them over a litter box. By 5 weeks they were trying to use the litter box on their own. We did have to show them to lift their tails away from their body when they used the litter box.

The early poops are really hard on them. You would expect them to be very runny, but some were as firm as a healthy adult cats. It really hurt them, and they will grunt, squint, meowl and make all kinds of noises. A little disconcerting at first. They didn't BM every day to start....sometimes skipped a day or 2 between the first week.

We kept them away from all the other cats until they were fully weened, then only introduced them one cat at a time.

There is a better orphan kitty site out there, and will continue to look for it. I read it after I had weaned the last litter and found that I did almost everything as they suggested. Here is one that at a glance, appears to be pretty good.


Good luck! You are an angel for doing this!

btw....Scarlett, Muddy and Koko are the 3 that we kept from the 2 litters we weaned. They are absolutely wonderful babies and worth every minute of it.
post #11 of 40
Miss Code Ann 97-41-1 et seq.

Animal cruelty is defined as: “override, overdrive, overload, torture, torment, unjustifiably injure, deprive of necessary sustenance, food, or drink; or cruelly beat or needlessly mutilate.†Cruelty to animals is a Misdemeanor with a fine up to $1000 or imprisonment up to 6 months.

.....its hard to get ANYTHING! done anywhere around where I am in MS!! I think the best idea was to try to talk to the neighbor and see if she will have her spayed...she probably doesnt have the money...If you are near the coast I will help you pay for it if she will agree to have her spayed!
post #12 of 40
Can you go talk to your neighbor and ask if you can care for the mother cat until it is time to adopt her kittens out? Since she does not care for the mother cat enough to get her spayed or let her care for her newborn kittens she may be willing to let you take care of her for a little while. Then you could have her spayed while she is in your care. I know that some people are hard to talk to but it seems like the neighbor will benefit from the situation in the long run, so it may be in her best interest to let you take the mother for a couple months.
post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
The neighbor is not friendly, and I saw the Momma cat and it looks like she has no milk. Since I lost the kitten that was the spitting image of hers, she can deny it. My other problem is the one kitten that they sucked it's head bald. I put it in a different cage and treated it's head, cause they sucked it raw, and it has a nice big scab. But it's so much smaller than the rest of the litter. I mean really smaller. He's eating, but not as much as the others, so I feed that one more frequently. Would vitamins help, or is it doomed?
post #14 of 40
Thread Starter 
I lost the little guy tonight. Is there any thing I can do to stop them sucking on their um privates? I have a call in to a local rescue group to see if they have the stuffed animal ya'll recommended. Money is tight right now. Thanks guys for your help.
post #15 of 40
So sorry about your little guy. It's so hard to lose them so young!

Our's all suckled off each others privates. Our vets advice was to just keep separating them. You can't watch them 24X7 so you aren't going to stop it entirely. Keep checking them to make sure there isn't any inflamation starting. I can't think of anything to put on them that wouldn't irritate them or cause harm if injested. They are now almost five months and Koko still attempts to suckle off of Muddy. They were neutered last week and Muddy no longer stands for it. Jake and Elwood (adopted to friends) attempted to suckle each other up to the point of neutering.
post #16 of 40
Thread Starter 
On two of them, there is some swelling. They look like males. Also, when do I need to decrease the heat for them? TIA!
post #17 of 40
We had 3 out of 4 males, and we were able to sex them earlier than usual because they were all slightly swollen from suckling. When the vet checked them, he said that some swelling is normal for their situation, but to get them in if the swelling looks like it is turning into an infection (bigger swelling, redness, open sores). We just kept pulling them apart - when they were a little older (maybe 4-5 weeks) we distracted them with toys.

I didn't use a heat pad, as it was already hot here when they were very young. This was the one item that I discovered I should have done after reading about orphaned kittens after the fact. I kept them on multiple rugs, blankets and covered their box to keep them warm. They were closer to 4 weeks old when I gave them a bigger area to roam outside that box, but still kept multiple layers of throw rugs under them at all times. We also tipped their original box on its side and put rugs/towels in there - they always went back to the box to sleep. My suggestion would be that as long as they are small enough for confinement, that you continue with the pad, and continue to use it in their "sleeping" area.

One more thought - wash their bedding daily (at a minimum). Fortunately I have lots of spare rugs and towels around my house.
post #18 of 40
Thread Starter 
One more question. A woman told me I could use apple bitter or apple cider vinager, dab just a little on the gentitals, to deter sucking. Is that safe? Wouldn't that upset their tummys?
post #19 of 40
I would think that bitter apple wouldn't be a good idea to put directly on any animal - it is used to deter them, so why put it directly on their body? Snuggling is important to them right now and they only have each other.

Apple cider vinegar is edible, not sure if it would upset their tummies, and equally important, irritate their bottom. My personal opinion is that I wouldn't want to carry that smell around with me, why subject them to it on their body? Again, if it deters them, would they want to snuggle with each other?

This is why we didn't put anything on them - we debated a lot of these options and ruled every last one of them out. Perhaps someone out there has some ideas???
post #20 of 40
Maybe we could start a fund and buy a snuggle kitty to send to these poor kittens. Is anyone interested in contributing?
post #21 of 40
Thread Starter 
Well a contacted the vet today and he suggested started feeding them soft kitten food. They're about 3 1/2 weeks. Their ears are up, and they are walking on all four and climbing the cage. I tried tonight, and they didn't like it to much. I mixed soft with KMR. He said as long as there is no sores, they should be ok. Boy I sure didn't know what I got into, but I'm enjoying every minute of it!
post #22 of 40
Thread Starter 
Here I thought I was doing good, and saw no sucking today, and picked one up to feed and it's bleeding. What can I put on it? Vets not in til morning.
post #23 of 40
Really nothing at such a young age. I would make a box and put a lot of soft bedding in it. Make cardboard partitions and keep each kitten in a partition. Tube- feed them at least every two hours and keep them warm. Very important not to put these babies in a drafty cage. Fading Kitten Syndrome can strike orphans at any time. Treat them carefully. Make that pouch I talked about for the weaker ones.

I am moving you to Health as this can become a serious health issue for these babies.
post #24 of 40
Some people like your neighbor, probably dosn't have any real idea on what the overpopulation situation is like. She is probably going to get defensive if you try to talk to her about spaying, and having the cat spayed while in your care is a devious thing to do. Suggestion: gather a bunch of informative articles about pregnancy and overpopulation and spaying, include some info about an organization that may help or do spaying low-cost. Put it in a folder with a business card and a note telling her she can call you if she has any questions, or would like help with her cat. just drop it in her box and hope she will do the right thing.
post #25 of 40
where is the kitten bleeding, how much, has it stopped?
post #26 of 40
I would....if she left these kittens out there to die?? You let me get my hands on that kitty...she would be spayed in a heartbeat!
post #27 of 40
....and then we cross that line that makes us just like them.
post #28 of 40
so be it
post #29 of 40
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Maggpie
where is the kitten bleeding, how much, has it stopped?
He's bleeding on his Pee pee as my kids say. It's stoped this morning, and looks real good. I'm washing after every feeding with a warm soft cloth, and he had a BM so I think he'll be ok. He's the only male I think I have.
post #30 of 40
If he is the only male, it makes sense that the other kittens are suckling on him. If he is bleeding, they have overtaxed the poor guy and you will need to get him to the vet. I think you just might have to separate him from the rest unless you are there to supervise and give him a snuggle-kitty. Let them be together when you can be there to watch over them - they desperately need live companionship with each other during this period. I only had one female and she didn't have the parts to suckle on - so she was left alone.

If they are 3-1/2 weeks old now, they are getting more agile and will want to spend some time exploring when they aren't sleeping. You should try to make a larger area for them - we used a lot of cardboard to make larger "boxes" for them - simply taped cardboard pieces together into a 5X5 square. Still keep rugs, blankets, towels on the floor for them, and make sure you have a covered area that they can crawl into to sleep. Started putting toys in there but they didn't have much interest.

For feeding, Science Diet A/D is great transitioning food - very mushy and we initially mixed it with KMR. Ours were so spoiled that they didn't want to make the effort to eat (they liked the syringe), and I didn't get any of ours to eat (or lap) until they were over 5 weeks old, and some of them 6 weeks. But like I said, we overspoiled them.

My husband reminded me last night that at about this age, he started sleeping on the floor with them at night. He doesn't toss and turn much, can take hard surfaces, and laid next to their sleeping box with his arm in there to surround them. I know that is a lot to ask of anyone, but he was absolutely fulfilled bonding with those little guys.

Sorry I didn't see this post until this morning - how did he fair last night (the male that was bleeding).

And....most importantly.....have you named them yet?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Question from a first timer