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Well, we got 6 of the 7 orphaned kittens to eat solid foods (dry food with water). They're now 6 weeks old, and we're trying to adopt them out to people who visit the refuge. One is gone, another should be gone tomorrow.

But the little runt of the litter isn't eating yet. We thought he wasn't going for the moistened dry food because he wasn't ready, or because he was bottle-obsessed. But we got some canned food to try and entice him, and then we discovered the big problem. He can't eat. Not won't eat, can't eat. He gets so excited about the cat food that he'll shove his face in (so he wants to eat, but he can't. He starts choking and vomiting. Now, i know when the rest were first checking out drinking/eating from bowls, they got a littke up their noses, causing them to sniffle and sneeze a little bit, but nothing like what's going on with the runt.

He's also acting more reclusive and is playful for briefer periods of time. Right now, we keep giving him the bottle so he still gets nutrients and doesn't dehydrate, but he's awfully tiny and really needs to start eating something more substantial than milk.

Any ideas?
 

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Anber, there's something very wrong with that kitten. Please take him to the vet. The other kittens should stay together, ideally until 12 weeks old. I hope all turns out well, but I had a puppy once who couldn't even suck, and he didn't make it. I tube fed him.

Try strained baby meat with some added water in a bottle. That way he'll get the protein he needs. And let us know how things go, ok?
 

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I wish I could explain what an awkward position I'm in, and how horribly embaressed I am to even be posting about this on the forum. If these were my kittens, they would have gone to the vet a long time ago, but they're not mine. They're not anyone's kittens, really.

Two of us have brought them home, fed them on a regular schedule (including getting up at 3am for the first 3 weeks), "pottied" them when they were too young to go themselves, bathed them when they got themselves filthy, bathed the orange kitten's crusty eye, transported them to and from the refuge every day, educated all our co-workers about the kittens' changing needs as they changed, and just generally devoted our time and money (some of which we were reimbursed for, some not) to them in the past few weeks.

But, ultimately, they our not our kittens. The day they started eating solid food, we were told it was time to start giving them away. We've had a sign out since Sunday, and only one customer has taken one (the other went home with another intern's mom) so far. Most are on vacation and cannot take a kitten. We've had the kitten with the crusty eye, and the other who we found near death one night, both of which I've posted about. It kills me to post this stuff, but I need ideas. I don't want people to think this is the way I treat my animals. When I took my baby kitten from my backyard, I paid for all his shots/deworming/tests/neutering/etc out of my own money, then did the same for his mother when we finally caught her.

I had a job then, so I was getting a paycheck and could afford that. Now I'm in a basically nonpaying job (we get a little grocery money every week) and had 7 kittens tossed into my lap (I didn't want them, but my suitemate volunteered), and I'm doing what I can. The refuge can't really afford to take the kittens, who they never wanted either, to the vet. We have a hard enough time keeping up with our own cats' medical problems. All I, personally, can do is keep my boss up to date on what's wrong with what kitten, and the best she can do is pass that info along to her boss, who pays all the bills.

There is some good news, however. The day we found the kittens, we called the local humane society, which is a very nice place, and asked them to take the kittens, but they couldn't. This afternoon, I got a call from someone there who said they could take the kittens now. I'm very excited about this, because it will allow the kittens to get the medical attention they need. Hopefully it works out as 1) there's a $50 surrender fee and 2) I didn't mention the runt's problems yet. But if everyone can just cross their fingers for us and the kittens, I will let you know what happens.
 

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Amber, I remember the thread about the black kitten and the orange kitten, and that your colleague also took a kitten, right? Are they all right? I know one died. Did you take in another litter?

Obviously, I don't know what's wrong, but have you checked for a cleft palate? Only a vet could diagnose the problem, and in the case of the pup I tube feed, the vet found nothing at his visit, and yet, he died that night--from a genetic problem, I assume, someone not obvious to the vet.

Here's my best suggestion. Are you making formula with canned milk, egg yolk, Karo and water? There are recipes on the net. That would save money. You'll want to make a small amount at one time. Also, I would buy a few jars of baby meat and dilute it with water, so that the kitten can take it from the bottle. You're right; milk alone is not enough. Kittens need extra protein. Pureed meat should help, but won't diagnose the problem. If it's a diet problem, I'm assuming he lacks protein and iron. Just a theory. I'm afraid that this baby will be put down if he cannot eat. Can you hold out longer?

Please keep us informed. God bless that little one.
I'm so sorry about your financial situation right now, and will pray that it improves.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Jeanie,

We haven't had a problem with either of the black kittens, and none of them died. The only problems we've had are the the crusty eye (which is now completely open), the orange kitten (who recovered and has been fine since), and now the runt.

The kittens are now at the Humane Society. The people there were very nice, and the kitten will be brought to the vet probably tomorrow. Very good. In addition to the required $50 surrender fee the refuge provided, we (me and the other intern who's been caring for them) brought in 3/4 bag of kitten food, 1/2 bag kitty litter, toys, brush, shampoo, and towels/shirts we'd been using as blankets. Also made a monetary donation.

We were using Hartz powdered kitten milk as a formula... I saw other options online, but we thought that would be best because it has all the required vitamins and minerals like Taurine (and we see every day what happens to cats who grow up without those things).

Thank you for your concern about my financial situation, but it's not a problem. I get a place to live and grocery money, so I stay alive. That's all I need, unless of course an orphaned litter of 7 kittens is tossed into my lap. They're where they need to be now, and I'm very happy for them. If one's left by the time we leave the internship, the other intern who raised them with me will probably adopt one. In the meantime, we were given permission to visit them as often as we like.

thanks,
Amber
 

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You have really given your all, haven't you? I am hoping that the little runt will make it, so I can only guess how you feel. I pray that all the kittens get good homes.
 
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