Help! Abandoned stray newborn kitten! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 04-19-2007, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Long story short--I'm bottle nursing a newborn stray kitten at my desk at work right now. I have no proper equipment or food--I just made a run to the grocery for some whole milk and an infant medicine dropper. My coworkers were tearning down a wall at work and found this tiny, eyes-still-closed kitten in the sheetrock. There was no mama around and all the sibs were passed... I took it, maybe I shouldn't have, but I did but I'm not sure what to do next. I've seen kitten formula before but couldn't find any in the store. Does this kitten have a chance? I have no idea what I'm getting into. Is it going to eat every two hours like a newborn baby? Help? Advice? Anything?

Thanks so much in advance!
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#2 of 12 Old 04-19-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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GOOD FOR YOU! That poor baby.

You are doing the right thing, you CAN do this.

Mine was starving and dehydrated, but she made it... she wasn't as little as your kitten though!

Here is some advice I found online just now, it looks really sound:
=========================
Nutrition in the first several days is critical to the survival of a newborn kitten. Follow these step-by-step instructions for bottle-feeding a newborn kitten, including precautions to take, helpful tips, and the follow-through "cleanup job," including stimulation of the bowels and urinary tract, and you will be a competent surrogate cat mother in no time.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 10 to 20 minutes several times a day

Here's How:
Prepare your supplies. Sterilize the kitten-sized baby bottles and nipples in a boiling water bath for about 5 minutes. Cool before using. Place a large towel, a rough-textured washcloth and a bowl of warm water on a table next to a comfortable chair.

Fill bottle with desired amount (see tips) of commercial kitten milk replacement such as KMR, or an emergency formula if you can't get to a pet food store right away. Warm the formula by placing the bottle in a bowl of very hot water, then test it against your forearm. It should be 95° to 100° fahrenheit, or approximately body temperature. Test the nipple to ensure the flow is just right.

Sit in the chair with the towel folded in your lap. Place the kitten prone (face down) on your lap. Make sure the kitten is warm before feeding. Feeding formula to a cold kitten can cause serious digestive problems. Without raising the kitten's head, place the nipple in his mouth. He should start nursing right away. If all goes well, let him continue nursing until finished. Do not overfeed.
If the kitten does not start nursing right away, or if he seems to have trouble getting the milk, check the nipple again. It should not drip milk when held upside down, but should drip given a small amount of pressure. It may also be helpful to stroke his head or gently pet his back to start his nursing reflexes, but once he gets the idea, he will nurse readily.

Much like human babies, kittens may need "burping" after nursing. This is best accomplished by holding one hand under his abdomen and gently patting his upper back. Not too hard - you don't want him to vomit. If he doesn't burp right away, go to step #6.

The mother cat will stimulate her kitten's elimination by licking his anus and genital area with her rough tongue. You can emulate this process with a warm, damp, rough washcloth or dampened paper towel. It may take a couple of feedings to see results, so don't despair if he doesn't defecate right away. Urinating may take a bit longer.

Your kitten will want to sleep after nursing, so put him back into his bed to let him sleep undisturbed.

Your newborn kitten will need approximately 32 cc (1.1 oz.) of formula a day, divided into 9 - 12 feedings a day, depending on his size and condition. Count on feeding him every two hours or so, around the clock, for starters. Yes, it's a demanding job, but intensely rewarding to watch your newborn develop and grow.
Tips:
In a pinch, if you can't get kitten baby bottles, an eye dropper will do. Be very careful to drop only a very small amount on the kitten's tongue to avoid aspiration of the formula into his lungs.
Weigh your kitten every day, on a food scale covered with a clean cloth. He should gain 1/2 oz. ever day for about the first two weeks.
Buy several bottles and nipples, then sterilize and fill a number of them at once, and refrigerate. Warm as needed, following the directions above.
Proper positioning of the kitten is critical. Raising his head may cause aspiration of the formula into the kitten's lungs, which could be fatal.
What You Need:
Commercial Milk Replacer
Nursing Bottles & Nipples
Soft towels
Coarse wash rag
Paper Towels
Kitchen Scale
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#3 of 12 Old 04-19-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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Go to www.yahoogroups.com and search for "orphan kittens". This is a discussion and teaching group that specializes in helping people save tiny kittens. Join NOW!

You need the kitten formula. Whole milk is not an adequate substitute for mother cat's milk (just like it's not a substitute for human milk).

The Pet Ag nipples are the best. Others are OK, but not as good. And usually, the nipple the kitten eats from first is the kind they will prefer.

I've bottle fed many kittens, and yes, he will need to be fed every few hours - all day, all night.

I ended up emptying out a plastic "bills" box to carry one kitten to work. It had a slot through which you are supposed to slip the bills, and a large interior space for files, etc. I just took out all the innards, lined it with towels and took the kitten to work with me. Nobody (but my immediate area co-workers) knew anything was up.

Kittens, like infant humans, really want and need contact with another living thing. Do you have a sling? I've raised several "sling kitties", and they LOVE it.

For the kitten that I took to work with me, I wore pants, and tucked my shirt into the pants. Then I slipped the kitten inside my shirt (down near my waist) and tucked that little corner of the shirt back in. This helped the kitten regulate it's own body temperature, helped keep it warm in the overly air conditioned office. After a week of this, kitten's eyes were open, and it started crawling around and around my waist - SO FUNNY.

Good luck. Definitely go over to the Orphan Kittens group - they can give you LOTS of support.

Ann-Marita. I deleted my usual signature due to, oh, wait, if I say why, that might give too much away. 

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#4 of 12 Old 04-19-2007, 09:42 PM
 
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Good for you for saving the kitty! I have done this before and it's not too bad. it does take a fair amount of time for a while but they're so darn cute it's not a bother!

Good luck!
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#5 of 12 Old 04-19-2007, 09:52 PM
 
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I might sound "radical" here, but being this is a natural parenting safe haven I'll be blunt. Kittens do best on mother's milk. The odds for a newborn kitten surviving without mother's milk aren't that great. The best situation would be to find a "feline foster mother" for the kitten if possible. I've known several people in rescue situations who have done this. They've contacted vets who knew of/had queens who had recently birthed. Then, the abandoned kitten was introduced and the feline queen "nursed them" and took care of them as if they were there own.

In breeding situations, if there are two moms with kittens they often swap kittens. One will take an extra one, that sort of thing. : They tend to be pretty receptive to it LOL. I had two litters with two different queens when I was helping out a breeder friend and they did just that!

So, I'd contact some vets/rescue organizations first and try to find a queen who has recently birthed who could nurse/care for her. If it is truly a "newborn" kitten as you've said it's likely the kitten will die otherwise.

http://www.feralcat.com/raising.html

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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#6 of 12 Old 04-20-2007, 01:34 AM
 
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I ended up with 3 tiny 3 day old kitties almost 2 years ago when their mama was hit by a car. They were dehydrated and very weak when I received them - and had likely only nursed a few times before their mama died. Our vet didn't know of any foster mom ideas for us, but did give me help in tube feeding and dropper feeding since they were so tiny and weak. Unfortunately, despite even tube feeding the weakest little kitty, 2 of them died in the first 2 days. They were just too weak and hadn't had enough care early on to survive, I think. The other little one, who was just 2 1/3 oz when I got her is now almost 2 years old. I dropper fed her for 2 weeks as she couldn't seem to figure out how to suck, and then was able to transition her to a bottle. She's still a smaller kitty, but healthy and happy.
Definitely you need to feed frequently, and keep him/her warm. We used a ceramic heating element over her box at night, and in the day my teenager held her a lot.
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#7 of 12 Old 04-20-2007, 08:42 AM
 
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GOOD FOR YOU for doing this! I am working with a woman at the local cat rescue now who is doing this. Someone dumped off a litter of newborn kittens & just left! : The GOOD news is that this was 2 weeks ago & they're doing great! ALL are spoken for (we're taking one) and will be in their forever homes the 3rd week of May.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#8 of 12 Old 04-20-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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Don't know if it's too late for this link or not, but it's very helpful:

http://kitten-rescue.com/

I also second Christy, start calling rescues and vet's offices to find a mom cat with babies about as old as your guy. You can bottle raise a kitten, but it's HARD. lots of work and if you can find a willing mom cat, so much the better.

The other thing to remember is to keep the kitten warm! warm kitten eat and kittens who eat have a better chance of living.

Good luck!

~Julia
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#9 of 12 Old 04-20-2007, 12:31 PM
 
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Please let us know how the kitten is doing! I hope all is well.
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#10 of 12 Old 04-20-2007, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your tips and replies--I had no idea that another mother would possibly take in a foreign kitten so that was very helpful. So I stopped on the drive home and picked up some kitten formula and a bottle, I couldn't get her to eat much from the bottle but she kept trying to nurse my bottom lip so I kept dribbling the formula on it until she'd eaten all she wanted. : My husband thought I was crazy but I knew it needed to eat and it was the easiest way I could figure to do it.

Once my two year old daughter realized she wasn't going to be able to play with the kitten she was NOT happy with the situation--she's an only and has never had to really share my attention before. That was a real eye opener.

My husband got home from work and was able to feed it from the bottle, he grew up bottle feeding abandoned pets so he had a a clue whereas I had NO idea...Anyway, he fed it twice before about 10 p.m. and then we put it to bed in a box in a warm room with a hot water bottle and the baby monitor. I didn't hear a peep all night and was concerned that maybe she passed but when I checked in at 6 she was sleeping soundly and had no interest in waking up. I'm guessing it was probably the first full-tummied/cozy warm night of her life. She woke up at about 7:30 and my husband fed her again and tried to help her pee.

We called our friend at animal services and they do have a litter of newborns there that they're going and try to set her up with. If she's not accepted then my friend is going to take over the bottle feeding duties until she's old enough to be adopted.

I really wanted to take her in--I thought she came along just as I'd been waiting for her--but my husband and I both work outside the home for a good 8 hours a day and neither of us could get away with bringing her to work. Plus, I want my daughter to be part of bringing in a family animal when we're all ready and this was going to be an exercise in frustration for her and constant vigilance on my part to keep her from hurting the little thing.

So thanks again everyone. I'm glad I took her in. It dropped to 30 degrees last night and she was all alone. Even if I wasn't the ideal parent I think I still helped her through a tough transition.
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#11 of 12 Old 04-20-2007, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The shelter had a number of kitten-less mamas who were looking for babies to nurse! I mean, I guess it's not really a happy update--considering that somehow all these mamas lost their babes, but happy for this one little guy. And, my husband got it to pee! Granted, it was all over his work pants but you know, whatever.
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#12 of 12 Old 04-20-2007, 03:35 PM
 
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Yay kitty!!! And yay for you saving his life!!! And double yay for your DH getting him to pee I love happy endings - both figuratively AND literally. Hahahahahahaha!!! I crack myself up....
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