Kittens-- No Mother? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-23-2008, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Kittens-- No Mother?

Hi everyone,

I did an introduction post in the "say meow" thread, for those interested.

Anyway, right now, I am caring for 5 Farrel kittens. Their mother has been with them for the first month, but now she is gone. I have no idea where! Haven't seen her in several days. The kittens were born in my back yard on September 25 (2008, of course), and today its October 22. So they're about a month old. They are walking and climbing, although a bit wobbly. Eyes open, but still slightly blue. Not running, playing or purring yet. They have LOTS of teeth! 2 of them eat canned food like crazy, but the other 3 are really fussy about it....

I've chosen to foster them, until I could find good homes for them. I don't want them growing up in the streets. I also have a fixed adult female cat of my own (I adopted her from a shelter) and she's not really sure what to make of these babies, hehe. She just kinda stares awkwardly from a distance... I was wondering who I should go through, for finding the kittens homes. I have LOTS of questions too:

* Should I keep trying to give them canned kitten food? Or should they still be on the bottle?

* Should I just find them homes by myself, once they reach 10 weeks? Would an animal shelter allow me to continue fostering them at my house (to save them some space), and help me with finding them good homes?

* How about veterinary care? If I went through a shelter, would they help with vet costs (its a lot for 5 kittens...)? I know when people adopt an animal from a shelter, they pay an adoption fee, which includes the price of getting their shots and getting the cat fixed. So I don't know, I was thinking the shelter might help with that, since they eventually charge the adoptive family. I want to make sure they are all healthy..... But I'm really bonding with them too, so I'd really like to be the one fostering.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-23-2008, 01:33 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Monroe, GA
Posts: 13,405
Re: Kittens-- No Mother?

I have fostered several orphaned litters, with the youngest litter being orphaned at 9 days old and I found them 2 days later, making them 11 days old with two days of no care.

I foster cats/kittens through a PetsMart adoption program. I pay for all of their food and supplies, and would take them into the PetsMart (Banfield) for their shots and vet wellness exams. I only paid in my time/gas to get them there. I do not know if a shelter would do the same thing, I've never gone through a shelter before.
At 4 weeks old, you can wean them. It is early, but it can be done. Some kittens can begin eating canned food at 4 weeks with most being more comfortable with it at 5 weeks and some kittens take as long as 6 weeks. You could buy a PetAg kitten nursing bottle, I think you'd have to poke a hole in the nipple with a hot needle/pin, and use KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) or a product called "Just Born" which my fosters loved and did very well on. The kittens may or may not take to a bottle/nipple at this age. It is usually easier to get younger kittens on a bottle. You could see if mixing KMR with the canned food would encourage the ones who are slow to try, or you could try a shallow bowl of the KMR to see if they would lap it up.

I would always keep water and dry food available for the nursing mother cats and kittens. For dry food, I use a kitten food with very small, rounded pieces. They need to be small enough to swallow whole, as kitten teeth aren't very good at chewing up food yet, nor are the kittens experienced with doing so. I have used Eukanuba Kitten, chicken flavor, with no problems.

When the kittens reached size/weight/age to be spayed and neutered, I would take them to the adoption center and they handled everything from that point on. I love fostering as it gives me time with kittens at their most cute and playful ages and they get a good foundation of handling on them before they go to the adoption center to get good homes. I also have an adult male cat (LuckyDuck) who LOVES kittens. He assisted me with raising (cleaning them and playing with them) my last orphaned litter.

Other CF members may have more info and a list of resources you could pursue. I only shared my own experiences in my area. I grew up in Tracy, 1 hour East of San Fran. Lived in the tiny town of Arbuckle an hour North of Sacramento for the 1st 6yrs of my marriage. I miss the area, mostly my family/friends, but we do love it here in Georgia.
Best of luck to you,
Heidi



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