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Moral support for fostering unweaned kitties

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I mostly just need moral support. I am fostering two lovely 12 day old kittens for the animal shelter. Two of the litter have already died, one passed when I was picking them up! So that was a shocker. but the other two seem to be troopers.

I have formula for them, and they have a warm water bottle in there for them I can keep warm. I learned how to stimulate them to eliminate. Also the feeding cycle. I am going to take them to work and put them in a closet during the day.

They need to eat every 6 hours, the trainer said that you can let them wake you to feed at night, does this sound right? Or should I put on the alarm?
As you can I am a little nervous, but ok with it all.
post #2 of 17
Marge...what a wonderful thing you are doing for these kittens. There is a site that a woman in California started who works with neonatal kittens and there is a TON of really useful information under the page.."caring for newborns":


You can even email Jeri and she will give you some advice.

Good Luck...I hope these kittens pull through.

post #3 of 17
They actually need to eat a bit more than every 6 hours. And don't count of them waking you up. I would be feeding them every 2-3 hours 24/7 Kitten glop would be good, you can find the recipe in our Bottle Babies Forum a sub forum under strays and ferals.

Two good books to order Amy Shojai's Complete Kitten Care and Dusty Rainbolt's Kittens for Dummies, both have excellent tips and resources to help you.

I would also pouch these kittens, it helps to keep them warm, it soothes them and it acquaints them with your smell.

Take an old pillow case and fold down the open ends forming a soft purse. With a soft cord measure around your neck so the cord is about the same level as your heart, add a few inches, and cut the cord. Run the cord under the fold, secure with a running stitch, add some soft padding at the bottom, place it over your neck and shoulder and add the kittens. Take a baggy shirt, button it almost all the way up and you have a secure place to keep these babies.

When you feed, feed them on their bellies (most people are inclined to feed them on their backs)

Good luck!
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks I read it that helps a lot. I am calming down, my own cat seems ok with it all. He isn't freaked out so that was good. I even think he would be helpful, lick them etc but they told me to keep them apart due to possible illnesses.

I do keep checking if they are breathing. Seeing that little dead one really got to me. But they told me how fragile young ones are.
post #5 of 17
Marge, how wonderful that you are able to foster these babies!

I just finished fostering 3 week old kittens for about a week until I found a "wet-nurse" for them. I fed them every 3 hours and boy did they need to be fed that often. For 12 day old kittens to go 6 hours is too long. At night you can go a little longer (maybe 4 hours).

Good luck!

post #6 of 17
They are very fragile and with one of their littermates already deceased, the concern mounts for their survival.

If you need help you can PM me at any time, I am up late at night helping Anne work on the two websites.
post #7 of 17

Jeri was my very first "neonate" mentor -- she's a very wise lady! And pouch-carrying the kitties is SUCH an excellent thing!! Warm, well-fed, burped, stimulated and cleaned, those are the big things with teeny kitties, I think. (I wish I could mail my friend from Virginia to you -- she is an insomniac, and always wants us to send her teeny kittens to raise just until they are around weaning age. :-)).

Do NOT be surprised at a bit of diarrhea, especially if this is the first litter of very young kits you've worked with. You can easily mix up formula that is too rich, and/or, the change from diet of mom's milk, to formula, to different formula, can cause havoc. Don't be afraid to ask LOTS of questions, and it wouldn't hurt to check in once or twice either with a vet recommended by the shelter, or your own vet.

If you have a good sensitive scale (a postage scale often will do in a pinch!), try to weight them OFTEN - like, every day. Weight can be the ONLY signal you may have of a kitten that is not doing well, so keep a log, don't rely too much on "I THINK they're gaining."

I believe in handling them as much as possible too. I think that, like human babies, kittens are stimulated in MANY ways by kind contacts. I think it actually helps give them a WILL to live. So cuddle them plenty! Do lots of laundry too -- keeping their bedding clean will go a LONG way to keeping them from getting sick.

If you're even getting a chance to read this -- BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!! You are giving a truly priceless gift!
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, it really helps to read all of this. They are doing well, have big voices! I do worry they aren't too interested in food. I have had them home about 5 hours and one only seemed interested in eating. But the other did at the shelter-he was my tester, so maybe it will come in an hour or so.

I do think the holding them helps, I put them on my leg and they fell asleep, it was so cute. I told them to hang in, we are getting them through this and then on to wonderful homes.

The pouch does sound good, I will do that. I could do that work too, I am lucky to work with nice people.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
OH and Hissy I will take you up on that as needed. Thanks.
post #10 of 17
Marge..you will love this community...everyone is sooooo helpful!!!

post #11 of 17
Good luck Marge what a lovely job you are doing.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
First night report: They did wake me up. So no alarm needed. They eat but not heartily. Little spirts. They yell very loudly so that's good.

My grown cat can't seem to figure it all out. He walks by their box stealthily. And just stares at it. He doesn't seem to like to be right by it but will peer in from time to time.
post #13 of 17
That's sweet about your adult cat! One of my cats did the same thing.. I think he was afraid of them! :-) My other cat (born feral) tried to kidnap one of them! I had to chase him down because I was afraid he'd stash her somewhere that I couldn't find her! I don't think he intended on hurting her but you just never know. (Boys are so weird!)

If you haven't done so already you should read the link that TNR1 provided for you. The information is unbelievable and very helpful!

Good luck with the babies...
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeah it's very endearing watching my cat react to all of this. I am giving him extra treats, he is really being a gentleman. But I can tell he doesn't know what to make of it all. He keeps staring at their box.
post #15 of 17
You are doing such a loving thing.
Thank you.
I have been foster Mom to many kittens.
Some survived some didn't.
They are very fragile but they also can be strong little fighters too.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and the wee ones.
Love and Life,
post #16 of 17
As you can see, we have several very experienced members. Kumubulu, if she finds the time to check in, is also very experienced. She has managed to save several prematurely born kittens!

You are doing a wonderful thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I am a bit sleep deprived but not bad. It feels kind of good actually! They woke me at 4am. But I am happier they wake me then they stop if you know what I mean...

They are sleeping a lot today. They love that sock with the rice that Hissy told me about. I zap it for like 10 seconds so it's warm but not too hot and they crawl right up to it. I think it must be a good surragate thing. I am at work now and people are being nice, someone covered for me while I fed them. I found a good spot for them, a closet that is warm no drafts. no one goes in there but me.
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