TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Pregnant Cats and Kitten Care › Need help with bottle kittens, 2 wks old.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need help with bottle kittens, 2 wks old.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm new and posted this in a different forum and someone suggested I come here. Cool site, hope someone can help me out. For background I run a private orphan kitten rescue but sometimes take in mama cats and kittens too.

I'm bottle-feeding these orphan kittens that were brought into a local shelter shortly after birth. For the first 10 days they were the healthiest tinies I'd ever had that young. Now however, they have developed diarrhea, which is nasty but pretty typical for bottle-babies. It's probably just a reaction to the formula, which is at best a poor substitute for mama's milk.

They aren't showing any signs of illness and my vet and I are treating them for the diarrhea, but it's not really getting much better. They are still gaining weight and have healthy appetites.

Last night I decided to put them with the mama cat of the six(!) 5-wk-olds that I have in my kitten closet. She accepted them and let them nurse, although it took them a long time to get the hang of it, poor little orphans.

The mama is weaning her kittens and doesn't seem that into them any more although they are still nursing. She is also in heat and pretty restless.

The tinies were really hungry a little while ago when I went to check on them. I know that she isn't producing that much milk and would have to work up to having enough so I expect to supplement. Poor thing, this would make 10 kittens, although only 4 are full-time nursers, her own 6 are eating lots of wet food. So I bottle-fed the tinies and now they are back in their box in the kitten closet, asleep.

So my questions are:

1. How should I handle this? The diarrhea would almost definitely clear up if they were back on mama's milk. But mama can't handle 10 kittens I don't think. I can probably handle the diarrhea myself, eventually, but they are sometimes pretty miserable since their tummies hurt and their little bums are a mess. They are still pretty happy kittens most of the time though, and basically healthy at 2 weeks old. I'm working on various fixes (acidolphilis did nothing) but you can't just keep adding stuff with kittens this small.

2. Should I take the mama's kittens away (they'd have to go to a foster home since they couldn't be here and be able to hear and smell mama)?

3. This is a technical question. Is there a way to get her milk to increase to the point where she can nurse all ten kittens?
post #2 of 13
I'm not an expert on "nursing with or without mamma cat" but nursing 10 babies is a huge job for her.

What I have done successfully in the past, to help-out babies & overwhelmed mamma cat, is to let them nurse from mamma cat & supplement with bottle-feeding.
post #3 of 13
Ok not to get to personal but I know when I nursed the more you nurse the more milk you produce. Maybe try to get the 4 to latch on after the 6 have already finished because them sucking vigourusly will make her produce more. Maybe the diarhea will then supside. If they are gaining weight I think it should be ok then All of this is my opnion. Maybe you can give mom a treat and then place the kittens with her and you just pet her and just keep her calm. This way she gets spoiled and the babies get the good stuff. Please just try it can not hurt. I bet the diahrea subsides, but the formula might just be hard on there poor little tummys.

THAT IS if cats are like us
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
That's exactly what I'm doing based on.... my own nursing experience. I was hoping an actual bottle-feeder or breeder might be able to help me out here.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
sorry, just tired and sort of at a loss....
post #6 of 13
It is ok that why I said it was just my opinion and I was hoping to help out a little. They need a breats pump for cats. Sort of like the cow milker
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bittenbyakitten

2. Should I take the mama's kittens away (they'd have to go to a foster home since they couldn't be here and be able to hear and smell mama)?
I cannot answer the other questions, but I will comment on this. In my opinion cutting short the relationship this litter has with their mother is not a good idea. Then you will have 2 litters of kittens who did not have a decent start.

IMO, kittens should be with their mother until they are 10-12 weeks old. The fact is, the 2 week olds will not have that...but why put the weaning kittens in the same situation by taking them away from their mother?

If it were me, I would continue the bottlefeedings with the 2 week olds and maybe place them with the lactating mother once or twice a day (for a 1/2 hour or so) to see if she will supplement them. If she can produce more milk, her body will. If not, you will have your answer.

I would not break up the routine of the mother and her kits by removing them to foster care for the benefit of another litter.
post #8 of 13
Is it impossible for the mom to nurse them all and keep them healthy and still stay ok herself. I know I hear of 8-9 kittens being born. Not sure how it goes. Poor things.
post #9 of 13
Welcome to TCS! There are a lot of people much better suited to answering your orphaned kitten questions than I am and I am certain they will stop in and contribute, but for now ...

What kind of formula are you giving them? Goat's milk thinned with a little rice water may be a better alternative until the diarrhea subsides. If the diarrhea is due to the sudden switch from mother's milk to formula, it may be self-limiting and will resolve as they adjust. However, if you choose to continue with the formula in the hopes the diarrhea resolves on it's own, be extra special sure they stay well-hydrated and warm.

As for milk production for your nursing queen, you can try to manipulate the amount of amino acids in her diet (lots of meat - specially organ meat) but until you know her level of tolerance to it, it may also give her diarrhea.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Is it impossible for the mom to nurse them all and keep them healthy and still stay ok herself. I know I hear of 8-9 kittens being born.
A mother cat would have a very hard time full time nursing a litter of 10 from the start...but it would be a gradual start. So her body would slowly adjust as they grew and needed more.

Adding (4) 2 week old kittens (full time) to a mother who is in the process of weaning, is going to add an immediate demand that her body is not used to producing.

It may or may not work, it may put the mothers health in jeopardy.

Whatever I did, I would introduce it slowly.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am doing just about everything you suggest. I didn't want to take mama's kittens away either and I'm glad no one is suggesting that. I'm using Nurturall which I like better than KMR or goats milk. These kittens were perfect, had perfect poops for 8 days before developing yellow diarrhea. Other than than they seem healthy and vigorous.

What I'm doing now is letting her kittens nurse, then removing them for an hour so she can rest, then putting the tinies in with her for an hour to nurse, then rotating her kittens back in. Remember she isn't really nursing her own 5 week old kittens that much any more; they are busy exploring most of the time.

Wish me luck; it looks like it's working so far.
post #12 of 13
That is what I was suggesting. I know you said the 5 week old wanted the soft food.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bittenbyakitten
I am doing just about everything you suggest. I didn't want to take mama's kittens away either and I'm glad no one is suggesting that. I'm using Nurturall which I like better than KMR or goats milk. These kittens were perfect, had perfect poops for 8 days before developing yellow diarrhea. Other than than they seem healthy and vigorous.

What I'm doing now is letting her kittens nurse, then removing them for an hour so she can rest, then putting the tinies in with her for an hour to nurse, then rotating her kittens back in. Remember she isn't really nursing her own 5 week old kittens that much any more; they are busy exploring most of the time.

Wish me luck; it looks like it's working so far.
I think that sounds like a good plan. If you are weighing them daily, it won't take long to know if the mother cat's milk production has increased enough to handle adding the kittens. I would also suggest switching them over very gradually (you may already be doing this)...like 1 feeding a day for a few days, then increasing the feedings while continuing the bottlefeeding to ensure they are getting enough.

Good luck with it...LOL, sounds like you definitely have your hands full. There is a special place in heaven for people like you!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pregnant Cats and Kitten Care
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Pregnant Cats and Kitten Care › Need help with bottle kittens, 2 wks old.