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Cat-Clueless Finds 2 Kittens

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, I've just found two very young kittens on my patio being harassed by my semi-pet turtle. They look to be quite young, and judging by the information I've read so far, I'm guessing they're about 3-4 weeks old. They have teeth but can't quite walk yet and keep on crying or something.

I have absolutely no experience with raising any animals aside from the aforementioned turtle. I have begun reading around but I'm not sure where to start as far as looking after them goes. They are surely the offspring of the stray cats that I see around my apartment ever so often, so I'm worried that they might have diseases or something. I have no idea what to feed them, although I have read that regular cow's milk isn't good enough. I have, however, attempted to put some ziplock bags filled with hot water in their little box, but they seem to ignore them altogether, so I'm guessing they're not cold.

Please, please, please could somebody help me out here because I really don't have a clue what I'm doing. The last thing I should probably mention is that I live in China where finding a vet is harder than finding a restaurant that serves civet cat. I do know one family that raised newborn kittens but I haven't been able to contact them yet.

Thanks a lot in advance~
post #2 of 13
Thank you for caring about them, even if you are inexperienced. Is there no sign of a mother cat around? Being honest, she is the best person to take care of them, especially if there were any way you could keep an eye on their progress? But that may not be possible. The first thing they need is food and shelter, and it sounds like you have taken care of the latter. Is there any way you can get some cat food from any kind of shop? If not mince/chop some cooked chicken (no salt) and try them with that. If they are too young to eat try some beaten egg yolk, mixed in goats milk if you can get it or water if not, and see if they will lap. If not then try and get a syringe without a needle from a pharmacist and see if you can slowly get some egg mixture or clear chicken broth into them, by inserting it into the side of the mouth and squeezing in a very little at a time so they don't choke. They do need feeding often or they will quickly starve - small kittens have very tiny stomachs. And they need liquid. As you know, cows milk is bad and could only dehydrate them by giving them the runs. Obviously, if you can find a vet somwhere then take them in for advice and a check, but I know how hard that can be in some countries, having just moved to France from Bosnia, where I raised 5 street orphans. Good luck and welcome to TCS. There are several really good experienced kitten raisers here so I am sure you will get help, but do try and get some nourishment into these little ones as soon as possible, off your finger if need be.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for replying so quickly. I've just gone out to buy some eggs, but for how long can they survive on this substitute formula? I've found some cat food but I don't know if its for kittens, and I don't even know if they can eat solid food yet (absurdly, the can of "Whiska's" has instructions and ingredients in japanese of all languages). They have teeth and they bite softly but can't even see the spoon with water that I put in front of their eyes. How often should we try to feed them, and how do I tell if they're crying for their mother or for food? Also, we left them outside on the patio in a box so that if the mother cat did come back she could hear their cries better. How long do you think we can keep them out there? It doesn't really get all that cold as its mostly hot and humid where I live, but its noisy all the time and open to the environment.
post #4 of 13
Are there any pet stores there? When I took in some baby kittens that weren't old enough for solids I fed them KMR...Mothers milk replacement... using a tiny bottle. They almost always sell the KMR and bottles at pet stores. I don't know if you have a Wal-Mart but they usually sell it there too. As mine got a little older I would soak some dry kitten food with the KMR and mash it up when it got soft. Sort of a gruel consistancy...and feed them this with the bottle. I would have to make a little bit bigger hole in the nipple. Are they able to pee and poop on their own yet? It not you may have to help them. You should be able to find some good information in this link. http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74659
Good luck with the kittens!
post #5 of 13
You can give them cat food mashed up with egg, milk or water if they can eat it. Make it fairly liquid to start with so it is easy for them, and put a little on the side of their mouths so they lick it off and can get the taste. Many cats have survived without kitten food! But do make sure they get enough liquid - dehydration is one of the easiest ways to lose an orphan kitten. Pinch the back of the neck and let go. If the skin stays up more than a second or two the cat is dehydrated. Get water into them from an eye dropper, syringe or as a last resort, your finger by rubbing their gums with water. Keep them upright - don't turn them on their backs to feed them, they can choke. How often they are fed depends on their age - if they have teeth then I would say about every three hours. If they are constantly crying then they need more.

If they are in an open box then I would provide a cover for at least part of it. Can they poop or pee by themselves? If so you should provide a litter pan (use a baking tray or any shallow plastic box) with litter if you can get it or if not a mix of sand and dry earth. If they are not going on their own you will have to help them by stimulating them about 5-10 minutres after they eat. Take a warm wet soft cloth and gently rub their little behinds for a few minutes. It takes a little practice so don't worry if you don't get it right the first time.

You are trying hard and that is great. But a great proportion of orphan kittens die, so please don't feel guilty if you lose them. The mother cat may even have left them because they are ill - there is no way of knowing. But the best of luck.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, so far I haven't had much luck feeding them some egg yolk mixed with water so its been something akin to force-feeding so far. However, there has been an interesting new development. Overnight, we left the box with the kittens near the patio with the door open, hoping that the mother cat would hear their cries and come for them. Instead, what happened was that it rained overnight and in the morning we heard more cries outside. In fact, we found two MORE kittens hiding in the bushes that had been crying all morning for who knows how long. They were completely soaked through so we brought them in and toweled them off, but we still haven't had much luck feeding them. What I'm thinking is that the mother cat should be around, but we still haven't spotted her. This is quite strange because I thought that she would at least return at night. We now have four kittens crying in a little box together.

Right now, the immediate problem is that when we put them together, they try to suckle each other, but if we separate them they all start crying like crazy. Which one should I go for?

Thanks~
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Out of these four kittens that we now have inside their little box, there is one that is of particular concern to me. He's black with brownish stripes and seems to be the odd one out in his little family. First, he's the skinniest and smallest, but at the same time, he's the most active, lashing out at everything with his little claws. Second, he cries incessantly and has been doing so for about the last four hours. Third, he doesn't feed as well as the others; he lashes at the bottle and gulps somewhat spastically. Last, his tail vibrates/shivers constantly, which is another worry. I have no idea what's wrong with him but it just bothers me that his crying is keeping the other three on edge.

If any one can think of a solution, please let me know.
post #8 of 13
They are crying and suckling because they are hungry. Is there any way you can post a picture of them (look in the technical forum for how to do that) so we can better assess their age and then someone may be able to advise you better.
post #9 of 13
It seems as if you will need to feed them formula for kittens with a syringe or baby-bottle for kittens. They will need food every third or fourth hour depending on their age. If they don't seem to be able to pee or poo you will have to help them every time you feed them.
They also need warmth. Room temperature is to cold for them if they are less then five weeks. A heating blanket, bottle with warm water in a towel or a heating lamp for chickens will be ok.
Here is a link where you can find everything you need to know: http://www.kitten-rescue.com/
Is there any chanse you can trap the mother and lock her up with the kittens? It would make it a lot easier for you.
You can probably borough a trap from the nerest cat-shelter, vet or cat-rescue group.
If you live in US this a handy link: http://www.alleycat.org/
Good luck with the babies.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prezpoonly View Post
Out of these four kittens that we now have inside their little box, there is one that is of particular concern to me. He's black with brownish stripes and seems to be the odd one out in his little family. First, he's the skinniest and smallest, but at the same time, he's the most active, lashing out at everything with his little claws. Second, he cries incessantly and has been doing so for about the last four hours. Third, he doesn't feed as well as the others; he lashes at the bottle and gulps somewhat spastically. Last, his tail vibrates/shivers constantly, which is another worry. I have no idea what's wrong with him but it just bothers me that his crying is keeping the other three on edge.

If any one can think of a solution, please let me know.
PLEASE try to "change his diaper" by gently wiping his bottom, to stimulate him to pee. At this time, there is danger that he could die from uremic poisoning, and he might be in a lot of pain.
As for the momma-kitty, she is probably unable to come home to her babies.
You are getting very good advice; if only we were closer to come help you. I will send {{{prayers and vibes}}} for the successful rescue of your new kittens! Bless you for taking them in Susan
post #11 of 13
If the kittens were 3-4 weeks old then they've made it over the first hump but they're not quite out of the woods yet.

At that age they still need to be safeguarded against hypothermia--that will kill a kitten faster than almost anything. Consider placing them in a box with a hot water bottle covered by a blanket. If they appear chilled and lethargic, DO NOT feed them until they've been warmed--it could kill them. They sound like they're old enough to begin generating their own body heat, but better safe than sorry.

As for feeding, at their age kittens are still nursing and will need a primarily liquid diet. KMR is recommended, warmed to slightly above room temperature. Let the kittens suckle at their own pace and do not try to force-feed them, as you could drown them. Watch their ears--if they go up and down it means the kitten is suckling comfortably.

If you have difficulty using a feeding bottle you may want to consider a feeding syringe. Again, the important point is to let the kitten feed at its own pace, and when it wants to. It will let you know when it's hungry by crying--just like a human baby.

It's vital that young kittens eliminate immediately after feeding. If they do not do so on their own, stimulate their genital region with a warm, wet washcloth (this simulates Mom's tongue). Don't be too concerned if the kitten's poop is runny--remember it's diet is primarily liquid.

By this time, however, they may be ready for introduction to solid food. Hill's Science Diet canned turkey and liver kitten food can be mixed into a thin slurry with KMR and fed through a syringe--gradually thicken it. By the time you reach a 50/50 mix the kitten will be ready to eat from a shallow plate and shold be encouraged to do so. Another week or so and it will be ready for dry solid food.

Kittens will be ready to drink water from a bowl at about the same time, and litter training can also begin. The latter is quite easy--provide them with an easily accessible litter pan a few yards away from their food/water, and they'll pretty much do the rest.

Good Luck....
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Let the kittens suckle at their own pace and do not try to force-feed them, as you could drown them. Watch their ears--if they go up and down it means the kitten is suckling comfortably.
It is very important that kittens are fed in a PRONE position....all their feet on the ground. Tilt their head slightly so they can nurse.

Katie
post #13 of 13
My advice is based upon my experiences with Ralph, a nine-day old kitten I found by pure chance. His eyes had only just opened and were infected; I brought him in literally minutes before a strong summer thunderstorm. The vet told me he would not have survived 24 hours if I hadn't found him--he'd have died of either starvation or hypothermia.

That first night Ralph was given an improvised mixture of coffe creamer and sugar and slept on my chest for warmth. We later received and followed veterinary instructions, but his immediate care came from an orphaned kitten FAQ on line.

Ralph is now a very big, healthy and happy tomcat living with a new family and another cat. They send us pictures from time to time.

The flip side was George.

We had become something of a neighborhood "aid station"/collection point for sick and injured cats. Last May our neighbor brought us George.

He was a day old--still has an atrophied umbilical cord attached to him. His mother must have given birth and then been forced to flee and abandon him; the cord was wrapped around some weeds and my neighbor heard his cries. She brought him to us and we immediately warmed him; we then fed him what we could until the next morning, when we got some KMR and took him to the vet.

The big mistake we made was trying to use our own body heat to keep him warm. He suffered an injury during the night--probably the result of us tossing and turning--and bled out internally the next morning. I wasn't quite right for about a week after that.

We've since upgraded our equipment so that we can accomodate such a foundling, and it was for kittens like George that I began my neighborhood's TNR program--such that it is....
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