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I found an injured stray kitten...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I found a small kitten in my front yard. It was just there huddled in the grass under a shrub. I looked around and could not see any others, only this one.
I have seen the mother walking through my yard before, the reason I know it is it's mother is it has the same colourings (both are grey with white socks). I originally thought the mother belonged to someone in our street but I think it may actually be a stray cat. I plan to check with people along the street tomorrow.

I have nicknamed her Smokey and have set up a cardboard box with an old soft fluffy jumper in it as a mattress.

I rang a vet after I found it (it was after hours) and got some advice. Give it lactose free milk and a warm, quiet and dark place to relax is what I got from the vet. I went to the store and bought some lactose free milk for kittens and I bought a satchel of whiskas food for kittens also.

The kitten has not touched the lactose free milk but hooked in to the small amount of the satchel of kitten food (whiskas). I have since given him a small container full of fresh water and have laid out the water, more food and lactose free milk alongside the bed.

The kitten does not appear to be using the bed or even seem to be remotely interested in the bed either. At first he huddled behind the entertainment unit the TV is on. After that he huddled behind the bin, then under the dining table (that is where he ate the whiskas I left for him).

He has since gone for a lap around the loungeroom and settled once again behind the entertainment unit.

I am wondering if there is anything more I can do for this kitten. I am planning on taking him to the vet tomorrow. It is late in the evening here (almost time for bed) and I am wondering whether I should pull an all nighter to keep an eye on the kitten. He does not seem to trust people and is scared of us. He is probably a little stressed as he is in a foreign environment.

Any and all advice would be appreciated. I have never owned a cat before much less a tiny kitten (it fits in the palm of my hand comfortably and does not weigh much at all, it is small). I have only ever owned dogs.

I took the kitten to the vet today (there is no microchip) and $107.00 later I am pleased to say it looks like it will be ok. I am going to keep it. I was calling it a him most of last night but have found out it is female.

I am still going to call her Smokey. The vet gave her an injection of antibiotics and told me she had hurt her toe (her claw has fallen out) and told me she was a little underweight. He wormed her while I was there and I have also gotten a flea treatment (Frontline) and a heartworm treatment from the vet. I also bought worming medications for future use and a packet of science diet kibbles for kittens.

She seems to prefer the beef flavoured whiskas over the chicken flavour so I am getting my fiance to pick some more beef ones for her on their way home.

I bought her some cat toys and a basket today with a nice comfy mattress in it. She is snoozing in it right now after eating her chicken mince whiskas.

A funny thing happened on the way back from the vet. My mother drove me so I could comfort Smokey and on the way back home she did a pee on me!! LOL!!

I have afew questions given that I have never owned a cat vefore... those being;

Is it hard to toilet train a cat?

Are cats ok with being left alone at times for a few hours or do they claw up the house?

Do you bath cats? I am aware they groom themselves and I have heard some people in the past state they do not necessarily bath their cats. If I can bath her, at what age are you able to do this?

How territorial are cats? Sure, she is getting used to her surroundings at the moment but I have a dog. Will they aregue and are there tricks to making a cat and dog get along from the beginning? I have had my dog staying at my mothers since I acquired the cat as it was very scared of almost everything when he first got here. I figured I would introduce my dog at a later stage (in the next few days) is this too soon? Should I have my dog here sooner?

Once again, any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 14
Hi there! Some answers to your questions.

It isn't hard to toilet train a cat. Buy a litter tray and some litter, let her sniff around it and she should use it. Ideally, the mother cat teaches them but as her mother is not with her, you'll have to introudce her to it. Cats can be left alone during the day but if it's going to be for a long time, it's best that they have a companion. Is she going to be left alone for long?
Cats can have a habit of clawing at furniture etc in the house but if you provide them with toys and scratching posts, they should use them. We use to cover a block of wood with carpet when we had kittens and they loved to claw that and left our carpets alone.
Cats do wash themselves but they will also benefit from a brush a couple of times a week if they are short haired. Of course, if the kitten is long haired you will need to groom every day, perhaps twice a day to keep her fur from knotting up. Of course, when she hits the age of 6 months (or may be a little earlier), you will need to think about having her spayed.
I wish you and your kitten every success I'm sure you'll enjoy many years of living with a cat! Hope this helps.We've had cats and dogs together and they have got alone fine after the iitial hissing, spitting and growling but you have to keep an eye on them for the first few weeks.
post #3 of 14
She seems to prefer the beef flavoured whiskas over the chicken flavour so I am getting my fiance to pick some more beef ones for her on their way home.

That is great that you found something she likes to eat. Try putting some KMR (milk replacer) over the food...like a mush...this will give the kitten some added calories & nutrients.

I bought her some cat toys and a basket today with a nice comfy mattress in it. She is snoozing in it right now after eating her chicken mince whiskas.

Cats & kittens love a hide-a-way spot. I usually give them a small box layered with towels and/or old blankets where they can snuggle-in.

A funny thing happened on the way back from the vet. My mother drove me so I could comfort Smokey and on the way back home she did a pee on me!! LOL!!

Lucky you that she can eliminate on her own...no need to stimulate her. As for a litter pan, depending on the size of the kitten, I usually buy small baking pans for them to use. The baking pans are great!! They are small enough for the little ones to get in & out and they are inexpensive & disposable. Do not use any sort-of clumping litter or litter that can be dusty. I use a brand called Yesterdays News...really for ferrets but this stuff is terrific for little ones or injured cats.

Is it hard to toilet train a cat?
Toilet training meaning litter trained...a cat's natural instinct will dictate it to dig & bury its waste. Try leaving a small pan out with clump-free litter...you may be pleasantly surprised when she pops in there all on her own & does her thing.

Are cats ok with being left alone at times for a few hours or do they claw up the house?

I don't like leaving real little ones with free-reign of the house until they are a bit bigger. Cats/kittens can be left alone for hours. As far as clawing up the house...as your little one gets bigger, try a small cat condo with sisal or a scratching mat. They love those things.

Do you bath cats? I am aware they groom themselves and I have heard some people in the past state they do not necessarily bath their cats. If I can bath her, at what age are you able to do this?

I don't find the need to bath my cats. I have seven cats and do quite a bit of fostering (presently 7 fosters). Cats/kittens will clean themselves. The little ones tend to have accidents and shovel their food...you can try cotton balls with warm water and gently clean face & paws.

How territorial are cats? Sure, she is getting used to her surroundings at the moment but I have a dog. Will they aregue and are there tricks to making a cat and dog get along from the beginning? I have had my dog staying at my mothers since I acquired the cat as it was very scared of almost everything when he first got here. I figured I would introduce my dog at a later stage (in the next few days) is this too soon? Should I have my dog here sooner?

Cats tend to be territorial but I have had six cats & a crazy Boxer all at the same time living in peace. What sort-of dog you have? What is his personality like? I don't like separating animals...I feel it creates behavioral problems. Patience!! It may take some time for both to coexist in peace.

Good luck with your little one...please keep us posted & feel free to PM with any questions. Hope I can help you out.
post #4 of 14
Forgot one more thing...

Get some premium kitten food (wet & dry). All my fosters and my own kittens get Pro Plan for kittens mixed with some premium dry food...a bit of KMR is squirted on top and all mushed-up.
post #5 of 14
I agree with the KMR-all my kittens when I had them loved it!!! Your kitten may chose a place to crawl under as she may feel safer that way. She had to get used to her new environment!!
Its really easy to litter train a kitten, I would wait about 30 minutes after she ate then bring her to the litter box, place her in and I would dig with her two front paws so she kind of has an idea of what to do-you might have a miss or two but after a day or two she should catch on!!
I would keep the dog away from the time being just so she gets used to her new surroundings.
What a very nice thing you have done!!
post #6 of 14
THANK YOU FOR RESCUING SMOKEY! And welcome to the wonderful STRANGE world of cats, lol! Hubby and I were totally new to cats four years ago when we rescued our first kitten. We have six now.... guess that says a lot all by itself.

You've already gotten some great advice, but just wanted to add a couple of things.

First and foremost, cats are NOT dogs. Dogs are social animals, and want to be with people. Dogs want love and attention. Dogs want to make you happy.

Cats, on the other hand, tend to be fiercely independent. They are - for the most part - totally unconcerned with making you happy. Of course they can care, and they let you know in many ways that they love you - but unlike dogs, they do not come "pre-programmed" to want to make you happy. It's more like.... you earn the privelege to enjoy being loved by them. (And I really have to respect that!)

Also, when you first meet a "new" dog, you hold out your hand for it to sniff with your palm up. With kitties, if you're going to hold out your hand, do it with the palm DOWN. Palm up is perceived as a threat by many.

And don't look directly into kitty's eyes. This is for cats an instinctively aggressive behavior, and you want kitty to learn to trust you, not think you're challenging her. Look at her forehead, or her ear. Kitty may sit and stare at you (and believe me - the first night I woke up in the middle of the night with a kitten sitting on the bed staring at me was very of unnerving!) - but don't stare back.

She will learn her name, and pretty quickly.

1) ANY cat is scared in a new environment, and kitty is "new" to people. It would be nicer for your little kitten to have a defined space at first - like one room, and then when she's comfortable there, then let her be free to explore if she wants to. Put the litterbox on one side of the room, and food and water on the other. Spend as much time as you can in there with kitty - not necessarily playing with her, but just being in there. They do NOT instinctively like to be picked up or petted - for most cats the enjoyment of being petted is something they learn over time. We've had some rescues that like being on a lap being petted, and that got their little purr motor going. Others we had to wait for them to be comfortable enough. The most important thing is that you pay attention to kitty's signals, be patient, and give kitty time to learn to trust you. It's something people "earn" with cats, not something that comes naturally to cats.

2) Interactive play is a great way to help kitty come to trust you as something "good." Get some toys for him/her (our cats' favorite toys are all little furry mice - especially if they have something inside that makes it rattle a bit), but make sure you get some "wand-type" toys that are designed for interactive play between a person and a cat. Kitty is a kitten, and WILL want to play! But make sure you put ANY toy with string or line on it away when you are not there to use it with kitty. They will often eat that string, and it can be a very serious health risk, requiring surgery. So while the "wand type" toys are great toys for cats, they should never be left anywhere kitty can get at them when a person isn't using it with them.

3) Kitty wasn't taught to clean itself by mum. He/She will slowly begin to do this on his/her own. But in the meantime, if he has a runny poop or something, he may need a little assistance from you. A cloth with a little warm water on it works just fine.

4) Smokey probably peed on you because she was scared. That's a very natural reaction. Not only are people scary - but the vet was scary, and the car is scary!

5) Discipline. Cats do not learn the same way dogs do. Smokey will be naturally "bitey." Her baby teeth are growing in, and somewhere between 3 and 5/6 months her baby teeth will fall out and her adult teeth will grow in. She needs LOTS of toys she can chew on throughout this entire period of time.

DO NOT PLAY WITH HER WITH YOUR HANDS OR FEET. This is VERY difficult behavior to change, so don't let it start. The moment she nips at a hand, fingers, your ankle, etc., stop immediately whatever was going on, lean down, and blow a short sharp puff of air into her face. If you were playing, just walk away, at least for a few minutes. If you were walking past, and she "attacked" your ankles, stop walking for a half a minute or so before moving on.

For these months of "teething," we found that a box of bendy straws strewn throughout the house was the best method for getting kitty to chew on things that are OK to chew on. The plastic is maleable enough that kitty won't immediately chew through it (throw away any really chewed up ones) and swallow dangerous plastic pieces, and it's chewey enough for kitty to really enjoy it.

Puff of Air in Face: this method of discipline is the very best method there is to teach her anything you want her to learn. Jumped up on a counter you don't want her on? Say "NO" sharply, gently pick her up, blow that short, sharp puff of air in her face, and gently set her down. Etc.

Some people use water squirt bottles. We never found this helped. It just freaked the cat out and didn't "communicate" anything, because the whole idea behind it is that the cat doesn't associate you with the "discipline." But cats in communicating with each other indicate what's OK and what isn't by hissing. So by "puffing" sharply in kitty's face, your telling her in a language she understands that something isn't OK. And they learn pretty quickly.

6) Clip her claws. It is not only natural for cats to scratch, physiologically they NEED to scratch. So make sure you have places she is supposed to scratch. Some cats like to scratch on a post. Some cats like to scratch on a cardboard thing that lays flat on the floor. Some like both. Bear in mind that cats LOVE to stretch and scratch as soon as they wake up, so wherever she takes to sleeping, put something she's allowed to scratch on near it. This is the best way to avoid inappropriate scratching.

And so she doesn't hurt you (or the dog!!!), work on getting her used to having her claws clipped. They're very much like fingernails when it comes to clipping. You can clip the "clear" part without hurting them. Clipping is something that usually takes time for them to be OK with. We managed it by clipping when they're asleep. For some cats, we'd get one nail done. For others, we could get up to a whole paw done before they woke up and PULLED that foot back, lol! But we stuck with it, one claw at a time, until slowly with time they learned that it didn't hurt and wasn't scary. It took up to two years with one of our cats before I could hold him in my lap and clip all his claws. But they get there, and it's safer for everyone - including kitty. When their claws get too long (even though they scratch), they get snagged in things.

Don't freak out when you see an entire "nail case" on the floor. Your kitty hurt its paw and one of its nails (poor Smokey!) - but as they grow and as adults, they actually do "shed" their nail sheaths from time to time. We rushed kitty to the vet (even though we couldn't see anything wrong). Turns out we couldn't see anything wrong because it's something normal, like a snake shedding its skin.

7) Make sure kitty is going to be safe in your house. Go to each room, lie in the middle of the floor, and search EVERYWHERE. Find little holes they can get into, cords they might get caught in, etc. Make sure anything they can get onto, in, or chew is OK with you and for kitty. If they can get their little heads into a space, they can get in there.

8) Tie up drape cords. Too many people have learned the hard way that kitty can get strangled to death by accident.

9) Introduction to your dog should be supervised. They'll figure out how to interact, each other's boundaries - and who knows? They may become best of friends. It happens a lot. They may LOVE playing with each other. Or kitty may love to torture your dog. Cats almost always prevail in the "dog cat" relationship - they can go vertical. But little kitty may be too little to hop up onto some of those safe spaces just yet.

10) Cats like to go vertical. They like to get up on things. And little kitties LOVE to explore everything. So make sure that anything valuable that kitty can knock over is moved to someplace where kitty can't knock it over. At least until kitty grows up a bit, learns her abilities, and develops that "finesse" that we all associate with cats. They're not that graceful when they're young and just learning.

Oh - as kitty is starting a new "diet," she may have runny poops/diarrhea for a few days. Kittens/cats have sensitive stomachs, and new food almost always is an issue. When/if you decide to switch foods once she's gotten used to something, just introduce it slowly by including a little bit with the old food, and slowly increasing the amount so it takes like a week before it's all the new food. This is most important regarding dry cat food, which you should probably leave a bowl out all the time for her (unless there are problems with the dog eating it. Then once she learns to climb or jump, put her food up somewhere doggie can't get to it). This is called "free feeding." While there are a few cats that will overeat (or feral cats that will eat until they're sick), cats are used to many little meals over the course of a day (think of their "natural food" - rodents, small mammals, etc. They catch one and eat. They catch another one after a few hours and eat. This is how their digestive system is geared to work.

We always feed our cats "dinner," which is wet food we call them to come eat. We put it down, let them eat it, then pick it up and clean the bowls. It's best not to leave "wet food" out for an extended period of time, as just like with people food that should be refrigerated, it can spoil.

Ummmm.... petting. Dogs love to have their chins scratched and their bellies rubbed. Some cats love getting their bellies rubbed right away, but this is NOT usual. Cats easily get overstimulated from petting, and they will reach out to "bite" you (usually pretty gently) or "kick" you with their feet to let you know it's "too much." Every cat we have and every friendly cat I've met loves to have it's cheeck stroked. They have scent glands in their cheek where the back of their gums are. Start at the back of their mouth and stroke up towards their ears. This is how they "mark" things with friendly scent markers, and apparently it's a very enjoyable thing for them. Some of our kitties also like having their chins stroked downward from the mouth towards the neck. And they also all like having a stroke down the whole back from the top of the head to the base of their tail. Most of them have "elevator butts," where they'll lean up on their back feet when you stroke their backs at the base of their tails. Again - wanting to be petted doesn't come naturally to most cats. It's something they learn to love, so start slowly. They get overstimulated easily. If she doesn't love being petted right off, it's something she'll learn to love with time (most likely. Some cats just don't like being petted). But follow her clues. She'll let you know what she wants, how much she wants, and what she likes.

And.... there is LOTS of great information available on this website! Read as much as you can, and whenever you have questions, ask them!

But the most important thing to remember is that cats only are NOT dogs, they are just about the opposite, and anything you've learned about being a pet parent from your dog probably doesn't apply to being a pet parent to your cat.

One last thought.... please keep kitty as an "indoor only" cat. It is NOT cruel as long as someone plays with her for at least a little bit every day. Cats naturally sleep 16 - 18 hours a day, and will often play by themselves - but they do need the stimulation of interaction. But it is SO MUCH safer for kitty inside, and being able to sit in a window and watch outside is not frustrating for them, but it's like cat "TV." We've put up bird feeders outside a number of our windows, and our kitties derive endless pleasure from watching all of the activity. A couple of them hunker down, wiggle their butts and chatter their teeth - like they're about to pounce! It stimulates that "hunter" instinct, and after that a good game of "chase (and catch) the feather" with a wand toy is a perfect kitty moment.

Most of all - have fun!

Laurie
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi again,

When I first came across Smokey (a couple of nights ago) her foot/leg were bleeding. That is why I took her to the vet first thing the next morning for treatment.

The vet said she has lost a claw and because her foot was so swollen he was unsure if it was broken but gave her antibiotics (a needle) as it was infected.

The cat ate the first night she was with us, I guess she was hungry. I have identified her favourite flavour of whiskas for kittens now and am giving that to her.

The vet told me she was around 6 weeks old. He also identified her as a female... I was unsure prior to that vet visit! He told me she was a little underweight but nothing to worry about and then told me about the science diet kibbles for kittens and said they would put some weight on her.

He has asked me to come back in 5 days (I took her to him friday morning) so next wednesday I will be having a follow up with the vet and he will then make a decision on whether to go ahead and do x-rays or not. Smokey limps and often does not want to tread on her sore leg/foot.

I have a couple of questions... is Smokey too young (6 weeks old) for a frontline treatment? Also, is 6 weeks old too young to bath her?

I appreciate any and all advice.

Sincerely,

Smokey's adopted mother!
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
BTW, thank you for all your valueable advice so far. It really helps and I read it all and take it on board.

Thank you very much, I truly appreciate it all.
post #9 of 14
If you really need to bathe her, if she got into a nasty substance outside for instance, it is really really really important that you keep her very warm until she's completely dry. Kittens can get chilled very, very easily and a chill can turn into a very serious health matter very quickly. Have plenty of towels ready, if possible have a couple warming in the clothes dryer to put her into, and keep her snuggled and warm until she is dry. Be sure to use a shampoo that is formulated for kittens - do not use a dog shampoo as those can be toxic to cats. Avoid anything with Tea Tree Oil as that can be fatal if ingested.

If possible, I would wait to give her a bath if it's not really necessary. My two are 6 years old and have never needed a bath.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Here are a few pictures of Smokey... you can see her sore toe/foot in a couple of the pictures.

As you can see she is adorable!!







post #11 of 14
She's absolutely beautiful!!!
post #12 of 14
Aw, she is adorable...Bless you for saving her!!
post #13 of 14
no wonder you fell in love - she's beautiful.
post #14 of 14
Congratulations on Smokey! She's ADORABLE! I really like those white tips on her chin & paws! By the way, in addition to the other tips, I'd like to add that kittens like getting stroked lightly about the head & face, including the eyes, just the way her mama-kitty would clean her! Kitties often like to get groomed just before eating! Please keep us posted on how she's doing!
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