The (ongoing) story of two orphans and their colony - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-19-2011, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
Tom Cat
 
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The (ongoing) story of two orphans and their colony

I am a cat person. I had three cats growing up until my mother decided she was tired of them and took them to the shelter I was only 10 or so at the time and thus had very little say in the matter.

I have always wanted to get another cat so as SOON as I moved out(actually a week beforehand ) I sat my little butt down and perused Craigslist for a cute baby kitten. There were SO MANY 'free kittens' ads with cats that were only 7-8 weeks old, and they were so cute, but I looked at one ad where there were four kittens and I was sold. two were six months old and two were four-five months old. One look was all it took, and I knew that one was mine. The most adorable calico I had ever seen. I named her Kyra, and she is a year and a half old now(born the 26th of April 2010). She is absolutely /nuts/. At times she is the sweetest, calmest, most wonderful cat, at other times she is a crazy and high energy. I don't know if it is just because she is still young or if it is because she is a calico or what.

Anyway, The first place we moved to was in the middle of the country, and there was a feral colony there. At the time I really had no idea what I was doing other than I put food and a large dog crate out during the blizzards of that winter. I didn't know about TNR or anything. We ended up having to move from that house when our roommate skipped out. Which brings us to the topic of this post; the Ten Hills Colony.

We moved to the city and one of the first things I noticed was how many 'outdoor' cats there were. Then I noticed how shy they were and I put two and two together. Ferals. I have observed at least five individuals on a regular basis since moving here July 9th. There is Zira, a beautiful grey tabby and white queen who I want nothing more than to catch, spay, and (I know this isn't going to happen) rub my face in her tummy fluff. Salt, a grey tabby and white van male who is around 9 months, best guess. He is Zira's son I believe. Shiva, a black/dark brown girl who is very pregnant(hopefully we can wrangle her and have her birth and raise the kits in our apartment so we can spay her and tame and adopt out the kittens), she is Salt's sister from the same litter. There is another black/brown kitten from the litter, but I do not know the gender, so I have not named it yet. And there is an orange tom I have yet to name.

I have decided to look into becoming their caretaker, as I love watching them, and I want to get them all altered and cannot afford the 50$ a cat they ask for TNR if you are not an official caretaker.

Anyway, The other day we were outside at 11PM and heard kitten noises. So off we went into the woods(yes woods in the city lol) where we eventually found the culprits. Two three day old kittens. Probably Zira's, as she had been looking rather plump. We took them to the emergency vet where we were instructed on how to care for them, and here we are 73 1/2 hours later.

We think we have a boy and a girl. The girl has the same colors as her mother in different patterns, and the boy is hard to tell. He is white on his belly and buff/cream/light orange on his top. His face is white, but his skin on his back or his undercoat is a really dark grey. They both have fleas, but are too small to do much of anything for it. We are bottle feeding every hour to three hours(AROUND THE CLOCK) depending on how they act. Their temporary names are Tucker(boy) and Jasper(girl), but we will probably rename once they get bigger and start to show more of their personalities.

Tucker's eyes have begun to open and he is a good 20g heavier than his sister, whos eyes are firmly sealed shut. I really think her conception date was a few days after his. It is the only thing I can think of. That or she is a runt, but she is loud, active, and healthy so I am not worried about her size. And they are both Kitten pudgy.

I will post pictures as i go along, but in the meantime, does anyone have practical advice about raising these two?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-19-2011, 01:44 AM
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HAND REARING KITTENS

Try that link - tons of great info.

Any chance of trapping mom? Better for both her & the kittens if you can reunite them.

Little bitty babies like you have cannot deal well with fleas - washing the kittens with plain dawn dishwashing liquid is safe and will manually remove the fleas - just be sure to have the room temp in the 90's and a warm nest for them after rubbing dry - the link I posted has more detailed info on safe bathing.

Another option for fleas in kittens this small is a flea comb & picking them off and squishing them one by one - I have also found a bowl of warm soapy water helpful - it takes less effort to dunk a flea pinched in between your fingers into the hot soapy water and leave it there than it does to manually crush them and they are less likely to hop away- man I hate fleas.

You didn't mention stimulating the kittens to urinate & defecate - at this age they cannot pee and poo on their own so they need that as often as they need feeding unless you can bring mom back into the picture....
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-19-2011, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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I stimulate twice for every feeding, burping as well. I have a flea comb that does not pull fleas off the kits so I have been using tweezers when I see them, and I drop them in a glass of vodka to kill them. Adds a lil spice to the shot.(LOL) My usual vet recommended we wait till they are 7 days to bathe to be double sure they don't get cold/sick, you think I should do it sooner?

And they were abandoned. Thus the 'orphaned' bit. They were cold and hungry when we found them. Tucker was on the verge of dehydration, which we did not catch right away, and he gave us quite a scare.

This is all stuff I left out, I apologize for not making sure I had all info in the post. They have a nest box kept at 90*F as per the vets recommendation, monitored with a digital thermometer with probe.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-19-2011, 05:15 PM
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SO glad for the extra info - so many times well meaning people separate mamas and kits too early when they don't have to & good job on what you are doing so far. If you can please read the link I posted it covers most everything.
As to the fleas I guess it depends on the level of infestation & your comfort level/experience. For kittens this small who have fleas I typically put a small space heater in the bathroom and warm the actual room to 90 degrees or so, I also set up a humidifer and keep the humidity at 70% - 80% near the nest box. If you have a digital thermmometer and can warm the room to 90 I would dip them in water at about 100 degrees farenheit up to the nick while scruffing and supporting the bottom - most of them relax even more in the warm water a few swishes and rubbing under the water should drive all of the fleas up to the head - if you dip them in a bit slowly you can actually see the fleas all run up onto the kittens head, a second pair of hands is helpfulwrap the wet kittens body snuggly in a warm clean towel and then use a clean washcloth dipped in warm clean water to wet down the kittens head like a mother would lick until all fleas are trapped or removed and killed. Then rub kitten dry - use flea comb to help remove eggs and put in fresh clean nest then start on next kitten.

Fleas are so invasive and difficult to erradicate that I do get rid of them as quickly as possible - if the kits are unstable and the vet really didn't think they could deal well with the trauma following the vets advice is best. If I was unable to produce such a warm environment - almost like a giant nest box temp & humidty wise, I wouldn't bathe kittens that small either.

Nora

Last edited by marie73; 10-20-2011 at 03:09 AM.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-19-2011, 10:39 PM
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Fleas can take a kitten down very quickly especially that young. I've seen a ten week old up for adoption almost dead from a severe infestation. I'd really revisit the issue with the vet, and honestly would probably go against him if the infestation was bad enough. Just use warm water in a warm room, dry them well and quickly, then straight into a warm nest.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-19-2011, 11:00 PM
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Yes! I agree with all of you. Fleas should go asap. You can also use hot water bottles or a heating pad to have a warm nest ready once you are done with the bathing.

Good luck with everything! You are such a great person for doing this

(and looking forward to seeing those pics! Squeeeeee!)
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2011, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Alright. I will definitely do that. It is strange, I know they have fleas, I have picked off many and killed them in the vodka, but none of the flea combs are pulling any off. We have a plastic one and a metal one and nothing. The kits have very thick fur, though so I think that may be the culprit. I used ivory soap on Kyra(she had fleas when I got her) and that worked okay, does the dish soap work better? Or should I just do warm water?

Sorry for so many questions, and I was not expecting so many replies! LOL

I read the link immediately after replying to you. That was very informative.

BUT, it is my shift to sleep now, and believe me, I need it! So pictures will have to wait a little while.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2011, 09:48 AM
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Plain blue Dawn. It'ss what's safest. It's what rescuers use after oil spills.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2011, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Mmkay. We are going to do the warm water thing a little later today, and if that doesn't work, we will move on to dawn. I have another question, though. How often are they supposed to poo at this age? They pee twice for every feeding, but pooing is less frequent. Especially with the boy. I just want to make sure he doesn't need a vet. He had two small poos in 24 hrs. The girl had only one full sized poo. I am using the powdered GNC brand formula because PetsMart did not have KMR and walmart only had Hartz. I do not trust Hartz for preeeeetty much anything.

But reading online a lot of places said GNC could cause constipation, so I am looking for somewhere that sells and has KMR in stock.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2011, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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I just saw Shiva outside. She is looking really plump. If she has had the kits by the time I trap her, how should I go about finding them, or should I just wait till I find the nest to trap her? I DO NOT want to risk trapping her and not finding the kittens. This is likely her first litter, as I am sure she is from the same litter as Salt and the two of them only look to be about 6-9 months. =/ And I double checked, she is not ear marked.

My friend came over last night and saw Salt. I had been worried, as I had not seen him in a few weeks, though this is around the age a male would leave the colony. I hope he doesn't leave. Him and Zira are my two favorites. Apparently Salt was there with four other cats. The ginger tom was not there, and neither was Zira. I wonder if Zira had more kits that she didn't abandon? Welp, I am so grateful my boyfriend likes cats, or else we would have a problem, as (at least) until I TNR the majority of the colony, there is a chance we will have kittens in the apartment for socialization and adoption.

I went around and spoke to some of the neighbors, one woman is interested in a kitten or two if I wind up trapping Shiva. This is good, as after socializing the kittens, they are going to need homes. Tucker and Sasha(Alex changed her name) are going to stay with us. And three cats is enough. (for now at least, as we live in a two bedroom apartment LOL)

I am going to have to redesign how we have the apartment to accommodate a quarantine/kitten room. It is going to be difficult as we have three birds and four rats and a slew of other small animal rescues(three of the rats are fosters, two of them are going home soon, they are going to be dorm pets. ) And they are in the second bedroom.
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