Cat Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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. :love2

I will post pictures as i go along, but in the meantime, does anyone have practical advice about raising these two?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
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....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
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 :wink

(and looking forward to seeing those pics! Squeeeeee!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

When we first found them.

Tucker

Sasha, her umbilical cord, and the suture the vet used to tie and trim it.

The top of Mr. Tucker

One of my favorite pictures.

Getting bigger..

Eyes starting to open...

Life is sooo hard being a kitten... *yawwwwn* lol

Bigger still...

Lookit dat face. <3

In the newly upgraded nest. They were climbing out of the box, so they now have a nest crate. :p

Lookit da pudgie bewwie. :3

Sasha getting bigger...

Eyes open.

Learning to fly. :) Thought this pic was just so darned cute!

Any suggestions on helping him drop the cord? Sasha dropped hers yesterday. Should I just leave it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
Pics are awesome!!! Babies are gorgeous!!!

As to dropping the cord the only help for that is helping it to dry so it can fall off. A q-tip with plain rubbing alcohol works well - just a dab onto the base of the cord where it connects to his body will help it dry out - just like with human babies lol.

They really do look good. Keep up the excellent work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
Some thoughts on some of the other things you've mentioned/asked...

GNC is actually my favorite formula - Or rather it has become my first choice formula for kittens under 4 weeks - they seem to take to it better and just do better on it. Many kittens on formula - kmr, gnc whatever become constipated. The standard first recommendation is to add more water to the formula, because your 2 were newborns they may actually keep stooling - most of the kittens I get in seem to become constipated due to the switch.
If you aren't getting much in the way of stools but their bellies stay soft, they are eating and gaining, with positive growth/behavior - I don't worry until after 5 days or so, sooner if they seem uncomfortable. The thing that formula lacks is fiber -mother's milk is a natural laxative without fiber but using laxatives on itty bitty kitties can be disastrous - so the best option in my experience (as recommended by other foster moms and the vet) is plain (very important that it is plain) canned (also must be canned for safety) pumpkin - not pie filling - just plain canned pumpkin. If kittens haven't stooled for 5 days I add pumpkin to their feedings until they do stool. In kittens under 2 weeks I blend the pumpkin paste 50/50 with the same water used for the formula then feed that as 1/4 the normal amount of the feeding. There are other ways to help stimulate stools but this is the easiest and gentlest in my experience. If the anal area looks uncomfortable I massage with a bit of olive oil - just a small drop after regular stimulation - vaseline use to be a common recommendation but there are lots of reasons not to use it, I started with just plain vegetable oil but with all the to do about potential corn, wheat and soy reactions I switched to olive oil several months back - that's been 5 litters back with all good outcomes - plus I never use very much just a drop for a day or two and only when the area looks really sore.

Once they get about 10 days to 2 weeks you may notice a week long period of constipation - I don't know why that happens but it seems to happen with most litters, then again at about 4 weeks - right before the introduction of gruel.....

All of that being said one thing to remember is that mama cats lick their kittens all over all the time - it is a constant stimulation sort of thing. Unfortunately I can't manage it for every feeding but if you can do it at least once a day it really helps with general overall health and wellbeing. For this I usually sit on the floor next to the nest, make sure everything is warm and cozy, grab a pile of clean washcloths and a medium size bowl filled with hot tap water. Starting with a piece of a washcloth wrapped around just my first finger I dip it in just enough of the hot water to be warm and damp and mimic a mama licking the kitten with firm strokes starting at the head and working my way to the tail. Each time I need to dip into the water I use a fresh portion of the washcloth then grab a new one when the edges of the first are all damp. basically try your best to have a 'clean tongue' for each area you wipe, from eyes to forehead, nose & nostrils - the whole kit all the way back to the tail. By the time they hit 2 weeks (sooner if you get lucky) this process almost always elicits purrs - it's an all in one cleaning, massage, soothing and stimulator to good body functions and really does work wonders - it is also good to try if you need to 'wake up' or stimulate somebody to eat more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
TNR and the outside kitties - See if you can bring anybody closer to home with food offerings and is possible lure her in then you can check her status - as a rule the people who do the trapping for the group I work with say you don't want to try to trap the same cat twice - they get leery of the traps. I'm sure if you post a new thread on that cat and question you will get good responses. Plus there are lots of stickied links on tnr at the top of this forum with good info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks :) That is a relief. For a couple of days now every time I even pick up the kitties they purr loud enough that you can hear them clear across the room. :D I give a quick once over after most feedings, and I am constantly petting them and rubbing them to try and emulate mom. I have to try the wet washrag. :)

They have both pooed again, and I will definitely stick some of 'the good stuff' in a place I can monitor in an attempt to lure Shiva out and take a gander at her. Would it be more stressful to catch her before she has the kittens or after? I want to do what is best for her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
Thanks :) That is a relief. For a couple of days now every time I even pick up the kitties they purr loud enough that you can hear them clear across the room. :D I give a quick once over after most feedings, and I am constantly petting them and rubbing them to try and emulate mom. I have to try the wet washrag. :)

They have both pooed again, and I will definitely stick some of 'the good stuff' in a place I can monitor in an attempt to lure Shiva out and take a gander at her. Would it be more stressful to catch her before she has the kittens or after? I want to do what is best for her.
Oh Yea on the purrs - that is awesome - if you already have that going I urge you start spending just a bit of time with each foot and claw daily too - makes for an easier go of things down the road if they get use to that from the start - every kitten I've fostered holds their paws still for clipping if they were bottle babies - the older ones don't take to it fast but the bitty ones just consider it normal. ps when they are tiny like you have I have struggled with regular cat nail scissors - sometime human fingernail clippers are easier - just use them perpendicular to the cat paw so you clip and don't crush.


As for catching the possibly expecting Shiva - Before is definitely better than after - in fact I would argue that keeping her in a large dog crate with a blanket over top sides and back indoors would be best for both her and the kittens if she is truly feral. If she is
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Discussion Starter #17

With the red line being the cutting edge? or do you mean holding the handle so it is going down and the blade up? ...If that makes any sense, lol. Their nails are not really bothersome, but you think I should actually clip them and not just mess around with kitten paws?

I do not own the image, btw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
I am going to give you a lesson in forum etiquette. THUD warning. :p You're supposed to warn people before subjecting us to that much cute. They look like they're doing fabulous.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts

With the red line being the cutting edge? or do you mean holding the handle so it is going down and the blade up? ...If that makes any sense, lol. Their nails are not really bothersome, but you think I should actually clip them and not just mess around with kitten paws?

I do not own the image, btw.
Oy! the words in my head and what I typed came out crossed agin - sorry - hold them up and down - the idea is to get the best cutting least crushing edge you can - as to cutting the nails I do suggest doing it directly when you have a chance - in the first few days they can be a bit soft but they become needle shap points of pain fairly quickly, When I first started fostering orphaned kittens it was something I didn't pay attention to but whe one baby scratched the others face leaving a bit of blood on the nose I added that step to every batch after. Mess with them all the time once a week is plenty for the cutting. I always err on the side of caution and basically just 'tip' the nails until they get older - A little bit every week keeps things a little duller and makes it easier on them and me.

:)

Since you seem to be on the start of a very good roll, I also have a digital postage scale I use for weighing(use the tare button with a nice plastic bowl on top and I just plop them in right quick at the same time each day - more often when there is cause for concern), keep a spiral notebook for daily weight and any notes, symptoms or meds - making note of when eyes opened, what foods, any meds, teeth erupt from gums, etc. gives something concrete to go back to plus it'll give you a good guide for future reference.

Add - I just looked at little Tucker - his claws are alreading looking quite sharp and longish....they are both beautiful!
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top