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When do Kittens Start Cleaning Themselves?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have two just over a month old orphan kittens and I noticed an awful smell coming from their behinds. I see them cleaning themselves on paws and bellies, but never on their behinds. Should a bathe them? Can I use a mild, fragrance free shampoo for babies? I must add, that we cleaned them with a damp paper towel after every feeding when they were smaller, so I'm assuming that they got the habit.

Thank you for your answers!
post #2 of 9
Before you start washing them, get them checked by a vet. More then likely they have worms - that will cause the smell. If they are clean (worm-wise) then its ok to bathe them.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
yep, they are worm free. We used Banminth paste to deworm them, so they are 100% ringworm free, but I'm not sure for the tapeworm. There are no tapeworm eggs visible around their anus and the stool is OK too.

Is there any way to give them hygene habits or is it to early to panic about it It's the first time I've raised orphans and I don't know momma duties quite well

Thank you so much!
post #4 of 9
Hmm I think you meant to say something else.. You can't deworm ringworm because its a fungus not a worm and appear as dry scaly skin with hairloss.
post #5 of 9
If they are just over a month old they still need formula for kittens in addition to solid food. Are you sure of their age? They might also still need help with their toilet needs. Are they peeing on their own? Our small ones was four weeks before they began to go to toilet them selves. This can be tricky to do if you never done it before. Do you have anyone in the neighberhood with more experience? I could never of managed without help when I was in your situation a couple of month ago.
You can clean them with the corner of a soft towel and little bit body tempered water. this needs to be done several times a day untill they begin to clean them selves. You also need to to do the same with nose and eyes if needed. If they are only four weeks and no mama is around they will need a sorce of warmth. Room temperature is not enough for them to keep their body temperature up.

Good luck and please let us know how it is going.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Sorry, it isn't ringworm. It's the other intestinal worm besides tapeworm that is very common with feral kittens.

Malena yes, they are at least 5 weeks now, as they have grown almost all baby teeth. They are probably even a bit more, but I just want to be careful. I found them when they were 5 days old and some wonderful girls at a local shelter and our vet helped me with instructions and of course the lovely people here.

They don't have problems with toilet and in that part, everything is OK - they use the litterbox with no problems now. We stimulated them when they were younger and cleaned them after every feeding (that's every 3 hours) with a damp towel to get the habit of cleaning after a meal. We are constantly heating the room where they stay to about 30 degrees celsius. I hope that my older cat, who was properly socialised and parted from her mother at 12weeks, will help to raise them properly. It was a big responsibility to take, but saving two little lives is worth every sleepless minute!

Thank you so much for your help!
post #7 of 9
I wish I could remember when kittens usually start cleaning themselves. But it should be soon. Meanwhile, you may have to play momma kitty with the washcloth to the butt.

I do remember a kitten we had bottle fed and his first cleaning attempt. He had been watching our other cat, Butterscotch, bathe. Butterscotch made bathing an art. The kitten watched Butterscotch lick his leg, looked at his own leg, watched Butterscotch some more, then finally ran his tongue down his leg. The next minute he was sputtering and spitting like a kid trying to swallow nasty tasting medicine! Mom and I roared for a while, then Mom stopped laughing. She just realized she would probably have to be bathing him when he was full grown! Well, he eventually started to bathe himself and Mom was grateful.
post #8 of 9
It is wonderful that you do this.
I know how much work it is. Our kittens are feral but we had the advantage of being able to trap the mothers finally. I kept support feeding for a while since the mothers was in really bad shape and the kittens were ill.
I noticed that the kitten I had bottle-fed longest had most difficulties adapting to his mother again and he was a little bit later with everything. Even cleaning him self. He is eleven weeks now and still a little bit confused about where he belongs.
I saw that the first thing the mama-cat did when a kitten came to her was to check that he was clean behind and they kept doing that untill the kittens was around eight weeks. Our confused kitten prefered the bottle in front of mama and he could also be dirtier tha the others. When I put him with his mother cleaning him was the first thing she would do.
I think you have to be the mama here and clean them and I have the feeling they will pick up on how to do it them sleves pretty soon since cats hate to be dirty. Good luck.
post #9 of 9
Every kitten may vary a week 1 way or the other. Maia was 7 weeks when I got her, but she was the runt and fit in the palm of my hand! A very needy kitten of love and attention as well as direction. She peed on my bed the first time but that was my fault and the only time it happened. Some develope later and I knew I had to watch her for signs of needing to go, it only took one time and god bless her little body she held it for atleast 10 hours! She started cleaning herself thoroughly within 2 weeks, before that I had to wipe her bottom and little paws. I think when she started getting annoyed at me doing it, she decided to do it herself. So the more you show them what to do, more likely they wil pick it up, just like mommy cat does......Some kitties just never pick it up as much as others.
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