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Premature Kitten Care.

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
I've just been given three premature kittens but one died only a few minutes after they got here. Does anyone have any tips for caring for preemies? Here's what I've done so far:

-Placed them on a pet heat pad but they were very, very cold so I dipped them in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes. Dried them off vigorously but gently to stimulate their breathing and circulation. This stimulated them to have their first BM and wee. Back onto the heat pad.

-2ml subcutaneous saline for dehydration.
- Mum cat left the birth sacs hanging so I've removed those, trimmed the umbilical cord to about 2cm and covered the cord with Betadine (antiseptic solution).
-Once they warmed up, tube fed 2ml formula. Will follow with 1.5ml every 2 hours for at least the first 48 hours.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 60
Hi Kumbulu,
I don't know if I can be much help but I wanted to thank you for taking care of those babies!!!

We've had a mother cat (years and years ago) who refused to have anything to do with her kittens, but luckily we had another mom cat so she helped alot with them, but we still had to feed them every 2 hours because there were too many kittens for one mom to handle.

I've tried to find info on premature kittens but have not had luck, but I did find something on abandoned kittens maybe that will have some helpful information for you.

But it does sound like you are doing everything right, making sure they stay warm and frequent feedings.
Also maybe try keeping a stuffed animal laying with them (as a momcat substitute) it may help them to feel more secure.

Here's a link to the info I mentioned:


Good luck, I will keep you and those babies in my thoughts.
post #3 of 60
Hi Kumbulu,

You certainly have your hands full. I think what you have there are actually neonatal rather than preemies.

I've had litters that were probably just a few hours older than your guys. They were covered in cow poop and still had the umblical cords and placenta attached. Believe it or not, they all made it.

I can't think of a single suggestion you haven't already done. If they got too chilled for too long, then you may not be able to do anything but make them comfortable. On the other hand, keep up what you're doing and I wouldn't be surprised if the rest make it.

post #4 of 60
I dont have any other advise for you, I just wanted to wish you good luck!
They are so lucky to have you to care for them.
post #5 of 60
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for the support. How could I forget that they're with Snugglekitty! Bad kitty mum! So, yes, they're snuggled up to snugglekitty and doing well so far.

Dusty, I have had neonates before and I really do think these babies are preemies. They're only 70% of a 'normal' newborn's weight, they're very, very small, and they don't have fur on their legs, tummy and abdominal area. The furr they do have is more like fuzz, much like the hair on our legs a day after shaving. Also, they can't hold their heads up yet. They do have a good, strong sucking reflex and are taking approximately 1.5mls every 2 hours.

I'll keep you guys updated on their progress.
post #6 of 60
One thing you might want to do is add some plain yogurt to their formula Tania-
post #7 of 60
Kumbulu...you may want to contact Jeri who runs a fantastic rescue for neonatal kittens called Safe Haven for cats. If you email her I'm sure she will answer you.


She has a wonderful section on her site called "caring for newborns"

Here is her email:


Good Luck.

post #8 of 60
Thread Starter 
Thanks MA, will do.

Katie, thanks for the link and the e-mail address. I have already fostered almost 40 kittens this kitten season so I feel fairly experienced with newborns, it's just that I haven't had preemies before. I will e-mail Jeri, though.

I'll post some pics in the next few hours.
post #9 of 60
OOh pictures! Can't wait!!!

they will be fine Tania, they couldn't be in better hands!
post #10 of 60
Oh..I didn't mean to imply that you didn't know what you were doing. I just thought that perhaps Jeri's site or Jeri herself could answer some questions for you (besides...it's always good when fellow kitten people can swap stories etc).

post #11 of 60
Thread Starter 
LOL Katie, no, I didn't take it that way at all. I've sent an e-mail off to Jeri.
post #12 of 60
Thread Starter 
Pics are here.
post #13 of 60
Thread Starter 
Well, the babies have made it through their first 24 hours with me. They're weeing and pooping like they should and appear well. Timmy has gained 2 grams and Tiny has gained 1 gram. They're still suckling well and keeping toasty warm with snugglekitty.

If you can spare them, I'd love for you guys to send some vibes for growth and strength their way.

I'll keep you updated on their progress.
post #14 of 60
vibes being sent--------------
post #15 of 60
I am so glad to hear they are doing so well!!!
Am sending strong, healthy kitten vibes their way!!!
post #16 of 60
You're right; they do sound like preemies. I had one litter of three. Animal control got them to me right away, but I couldn't save them. They just weren't done. Sounds like your guys are very fortunate to have you.

SnuggleKitties are wonderful, aren't they. I found a brand new product--it's a bed with a plush dog attached (slightly larger than an adult cat) that does the same thing. They're going to send me a sample next month. The difference is, the heartbeat is in the bed itself and it takes AA batteries. I always have problems finding batteries for the Kittie.
post #17 of 60
Thread Starter 
Dusty, I am SO with you on the battery thing. I find the batteries in SK last 7-8 days (running 24/7) but when you run out it's a real bummer. I always have AA batteries around and would be very interested to see how you go with the bed product. Keep me updated!

I didn't have any SK batteries when the babies arrived yesterday morning (1am-ish) so after I got them settled , I rushed out to the only chemist that is open 24 hours here in Perth and bought SK batteries. They looked at me like, why is this mad woman buying watch batteries in the middle of the night? What the heck could be so important that it couldn't wait until normal hours. LOL! I really felt the sound and feel of the heartbeat might make a difference to the survival of the little ones.

How prem do you estimate the babies you had were? I really hope these guys make it.
post #18 of 60
It's called a Comfort Pup(TM) by the same company who makes Doggles, the doggie goggles. They're not even on the market yet. She said they would send me a sample after the American Pet Products Manufacturer Association trade show next month.

I'll keep you posted. It also has a pocket for a heater. I believe the website is www.doggles.com
post #19 of 60
Thread Starter 
2 days (-5 days)

The babies are still doing well. They haven't put on any weight today but that can be expected as they're using up all the calories growing their fur and finishing off their internal organs. They're still suckling very well and taking a little more each feed compared to yesterday. I changed to a longer teat on the bottle as Tiny had a little formula coming out her nose each feed. I checked her thoroughly for a cleft palate but her mouth is fine. Since I've been using the longer teat, no formula up the nose. Because I'm having to keep them very warm, plus it being over 100F today, I've given them 2ml SQ to help with hydration. Their fur is a little longer today and they're moving around a bit more too.

These two are real little fighters - they went without their mum for more than 12 hours after they were born and survived. Thank you all for your good vibes for these little babies, please keep sending them.
post #20 of 60
I was just wondering how the little mites were doing today. Thanks so much for keeping us updated!

Sounds like they are little fighters, and very special little lives. I'm sending stregth vibes to both of them and to their angel named Tania.
post #21 of 60
post #22 of 60
Thread Starter 
A good day today for the babies. Timmy and Tiny have each gained 7 grams in the last 24 hours. Another 2ml SQ today as it was 107F. They're suckling well and their fur is a bit longer. They're starting to look a little more like newborn kittens, rather than baby mice LOL

Edited to add: After one of her feeds today, Tiny started up a noise that sounded like lung crackles. I turned her upside-down and patted her back, thinking she had inhaled some formula. I was pleased that the noise stopped. I used a stethescope to listen to her chest and it sounded good and clear. When I wrapped her up again, the noise started again. It had only taken me about 15 minutes and an upside-down kitten to work out she was purring! LOL I didn't think they could purr so early, especially being preemies. So Tiny has begun to purr. It does sound like a really tiny old moped in dire need of a mechanic but it's a definite purr.

I've posted more pics of them in this thread.

post #23 of 60
They are soooooo tiny. Good for you to take care of them. I hope Jeri was a good contact for you.

post #24 of 60
Thread Starter 
Katie, Jeri was very supportive but also very guarded as to the babies prognosis as she said she didn't hold much hope for them. I guess it tempered my outlook and keeps me from being over-optomistic about them. I'm not ready to give up on the babies yet though and will keep hoping they make it.
post #25 of 60
You've had a busy weekend sweetie!!!! You've already gotten great advice, but let me say - what a wonderful, wonderful thing you're doing! You are being so attentive that with all your love and attention and all of our thoughts and prayers directed your way, they'll HAVE to pull through!!!!!!!!!!!

post #26 of 60
Thread Starter 
The babies have been great today. Timmy has gained 11 grams and Tiny, 7 grams. Timmy began to purr today and they can both hold their heads up for a few seconds. The residual piece of their umbilical cords looks like it may fall off in the next day or two. Their eyes are still sealed tightly shut but they definitely raise their eyebrows and frown sometimes LOL. They're peeing and pooping well and crawling around their box more.

Thank you all so much for your support and vibes, they are very much appreciated.
post #27 of 60
Good luck Tania, staying optimistic here, I know how fragile their lives are right now. Just keep them warm, out of drafts- maybe vegamite can help you keep them warm?
post #28 of 60
Thread Starter 
MA, don't forget it's been very hot here the past few days, around 100F. Vegemite (and the other cats) tolerate the kittens, but don't show any real interest. They're on a heat pad with snugglekitty and I'm also giving lots of cuddles through the day so they should be OK. *crossing fingers*
post #29 of 60
Tania, I saw you posted and rushed in here to see the progress! I'm keeping these two little ones close to my heart. They are definitely in the best hands right now.
post #30 of 60
Hissy posted:
...I know how fragile their lives are right now. Just keep them warm, out of drafts- maybe vegamite can help you keep them warm?

Valanhb posted:
...They are definitely in the best hands right now.

They sure are! You're doing a FABULOUS job! GO KITTIES GO! Tania - they're gonna make it! They're gonna make it! I'm continuing to send LOTS of GONNA MAKE IT vibes!
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