Has anybody here had any experience with hare-lipped kittens? Our shelter took in a very young (probably under 6 months, according to the vet) pregnant cat two weeks ago, and she gave birth to three kittens on Wednesday. Anyway, one kitten has a harelip (no cleft palate, as far as we can see), and is having a little bit of trouble suckling, and so is also getting extra bottle feedings. I called three area vets this afternoon to ask about him (or her, we can't quite tell, but we think a male), and none of them have had any experience with harelipped cats, though one vet said she had a dog with a harelip as a patient, but that nothing has ever been done about it. I'll call an animal clinic I'm fairly sure can deal with it on Monday. My question is: Is this something that has to be "repaired" ASAP? I can't imagine anything being done when the kitten is so young and tiny. Is such an operation done once the kitten is a few months old? Is there anything other than extra bottle feedings that we can do to help? I'm saying bottle feedings, but actually we're (I've got the 6 a.m. feeding) using an eye dropper. A syringe is simply too big at this point, and he really has trouble sucking. We're holding him upright, and squeezing a few drops of KMR into his mouth at a time. I looked inside his mouth, and his palate seems to be intact, and he has no trouble swallowing. Momma cat seems anxious, but isn't rejecting him. Any advice would be appreciated!
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4/15/05 at 12:10pm