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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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newborn kitties - mom not nursing?

Hi all!! I have two cats and just within the last couple of days a feral cat (who we've seen around the neighborhood for a while) came into our office and wouldn't leave. We thought she was a kitten (well, she probably is) and she looked as though she were starving, so we fed her. Oddly enough she wouldn't go back outside - she wouldn't let us near here but that didn't surprise us. (It's a 2-family home and our other cats don't have access to the part of the building that she's in.)

Well, this morning I went down to check on her and I followed her when she ran to a corner. I moved a box so I could see her and give her the food I brought - that's when I heard the scratching and meowing of the babies. Fearful that I had squished them when moving the box (it had heavy items in it), I removed the babies. I found a little blanket and put all three of them together right there in front of the mama cat. Then I heard the 4th - found her in another box several feet away and put her with the others.

But I'm not sure that the mama cat knows to feed the babies. I've seen her in the basement a couple of times today (before finding the babies) and each time she was sleeping on top of a box - not near the kittens. I'm worried that she doesn't know what to do because she's so young.

What do I do and how long can I wait to let nature take its course? The mama kitty is skin and bones - I took her some milk as well as the water and food she's had, but she wouldn't drink the milk. Maybe she will since I left. I don't want to further traumatize the mama cat - I realize after the fact that I did quite a bit of that when I moved the kitties, but I haven't dealt with feral cats before.

Thanks for any suggestions you might offer.

Warmest regards,
Penny

PS - should I put this in a different part of the forum?
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 04:24 PM
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This link should help:

http://maxshouse.com/kitten_care.htm

I would buy some kitten formula (KMR)and a bottle at the Pet Store or vet clinic to supplement mother's feedings. She might not have enough milk. You should hold the kittens upright for feeding and gently stroke their tummies and bottoms to stimulate digestion.

It appears that mother cat trusts you enough to take care of her and the babies. Don't try to pet her unless she decides to rub against your hand. It's possible she has had contact with people in the past.

There is an emergency recipe in this link. There is also a guide to help determine how much the kittens should be fed.

http://www.cathelp-online.com/health/kitten1.php

If mother cat can nurse the kittens, allow her to do that, but supplement with kitten milk (KMR) until you're sure she's giving them enough to flourish. Milk is not the best diet for Mother cat. It gives many cats diarrhea. I would give her canned food. She needs "soupy" food to help make milk.

I hope this is helpful. Please keep us informed.




Jeanie

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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, Jeanie! I'm off to the pet store now. In addition to keeping them apart and washing my hands, is there anything I should or should not do with regard to the two mature cats who live upstairs?

Thank you again - the articles are most helpful: I'm sure I'll re-read them in the next couple of days to make sure that all is OK.

Warmest regards,
Penny
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 07:29 PM
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Your cats will smell the odor of the kittens on you. (they would smell them anyway.) It's hard to prevent that. You're wise to consider that, though. However, unless there's direct contact or they eat from the same dish, I think they'll be fine. Of course, as you said, you will wash your hands and arms before handling them. If you want to be extra careful, you could keep a smock of sorts downstairs to wear while feeding the kittens.

I would just give your cats extra love! They'll like that. I hope all goes well.




Jeanie

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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, Jeanie! I'm not sure how much the kittens are actually eating and if it's enough. I think the mother cat might be snuggling and trying to feed them when I'm not around because I saw fleas on them when I was last feeding them. When was the last time one of us was glad to see fleas on a cat??!! I guess they might have just jumped from the mother cat, but I'm hopeful that she's bonding with them. She hasn't eaten the soft food that I gave her but she's been doing a good job of eating the hard food. I guess she just likes it better - go figure.

Have a lovely night and thank you ever so much for the moral support and great advice.

Warmest regards,
Penny
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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Jeanie - this is just funny, but I need to ask. How do I tell the kittens apart to know which I've fed? One is white but the other three are yellow & white striped and it's dark where they are. In a few days time I can probably start to tell them apart but in the time being do you have any suggestions? the only thing I could think of was a little food coloring on each in one spot but that makes me nervous - I don't like using any sort of chemicals especially on such tiny things. And it might further upset the mother cat. Tags & ribbons are clearly out of the question. Maybe after a couple more times I'll start to remember better.

Warm regards,
Penny
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 11:14 PM
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I think I'd prefer using two boxes. The unfed kittens would not be put into box 2 until fed.

I wish you the best.




Jeanie

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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-29-2008, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Oh, Jeanie - I get the duh! award, don't I?? Can we chalk it up to my being totally freaked out and unprepared to having kittens?!

Well, this morning my dear husband went down to help me. I was really glad to have read all of the articles you sent. Apparently Mother Cat isn't really doing anything - they are now urinating and defecating for us (when gently wiped as instructed.) I surely wouldn't have thought of or known to do that. Mother Cat is staying close by but I don't think she's doing anything with them. I put them in a box lid yesterday but one of those scallawags likes to travel and he was outside the box and lost a foot or two away from it this morning. Bigger box time - don't know how I'll corral him in a couple of weeks

We were able to get all of them to eat this morning. We're both a little worried about how cold they are but I'm not sure what to do to keep them warmer. If I put a lightbulb close enough to warm them, it might hurt them or cause a fire. And I hesitate to use a sunlamp - I don't want to cook them or burn them. But they have a blanket and they snuggle into the folds and we warm them against our bodies when we feed them.

Thank you SO much for your help and guidance!! As you can see from my comment of not being able to keep track of them, some of my common sense has fled.

I have started to worry about what to do with Mother Cat after the babies are old enough to adopt out. Hopefully we can get Mother Cat (who's really a kitten herself) to come around to us so that she can be adopted too. But if not, we're going to need to get her spayed or we're going to be having lots of litters of kittens for years to come since she's found a safe haven.

Have a great day!

Warmest regards,
Penny
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-29-2008, 03:36 PM
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Penny, it's essential that the kittens be kept warm. There is a heating pad made specifically for kittens and puppies. It's safer to use that than a heating pad for human beings. Make sure that you give the kittens a space without the heating pad, so they can wiggle away if they get too warm. I should have emphasized this in my very first post. So, don't feel bad.

Here's another article that might be helpful:

http://homeatlastrescue.org/html/aboutc ... ncare.html

As the article says, if you use a regular heating pad, put it under the box or under many layers of insulation, such as towels. Then keep it on low. All baby animals need warmth, and if mother isn't lying with them, they are not getting the warmth newborns need. Good luck! I think you have saved these kittens' lives.




Jeanie

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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-29-2008, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Jeanie - they're warmer now and eating better. Fortunately they have some resilience and it gave us enough time to learn what the heck we're doing. I know we're still not 'out of the woods' but I'm hopeful they'll be OK. There's one in particular that isn't very interested in eating, but we're being patient and trying to feed her a little more often than all the rest who fill their bellies pretty readily now.

Mother Cat still hasn't 'pitched in' and I'm losing faith in her willingness to do so. But I'm hoping I'm wrong.

Warmest regards,
Penny
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