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Author Topic: HOW TO SAVE KITTENS WITHOUT MOTHER  (Read 4311 times)
The Italian Lifter
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« on: August 27, 2012, 09:06:14 AM »

I write the following post hoping that it can be useful to someone who is about or just took home kittens, little cats of 0 to 2 weeks and you donít have their mother.

To Mods: please feel free to correct my English in order to make this better understandable, if so your kind help is highly appreciated.

Edit: I'll add new things on this first post in order not to take too much space and keep the info together.
---

What follows is the result of suggestion of 2 Vets and my personal experience (together with my wife) in growing 3 little kittens without their mother: against all odds all of them survived.

1)   They donít know yet how to eat/drink and urinate/defecate by themselves.

2)   They need to eat at least 10% of their bodyweight per day of water soluble milk, but itís safer if youíre able to reach 15/20%

3)   In any case the little cat MUST eat every 2 (maximum 3 hours) no matter what. One of ours needed really to be forced a lot, was crying desperately, but you have no choice.

4)   If the kitten has diarrhea the a.m. point is of the utmost importance.

5)   Dysentery itís common given that the artificial milk is a big change for them: you must buy a dough that you need to give them, just put it on your finger and force it into the kitten mouth. In Italy we have this product (see picture) so in USA youíll have at least 10 different brands.

6)   Your biggest enemy will be diarrhea so you may need to help the kitten in not getting dehydrated by injecting Ringerís solution 2 to 3 times a day. We almost lost one kitten for this reason but in First Aid Vet we were successful in saving her life.

7)   Keep in mind that some kittens just donít seem to be interested at all in eating from the little baby-bottle: force them, no matter what.
Skipping a meal can really be fatal.

8   If you see that one of them seem to have trouble waking up correctly itís a sign that he/she needs to eat more or the last meal was too far away: itís a wake-up call.

9)   Since they are also growing teeth very frequently they just chew the rubber point of the baby-bottle but donít give up, itís normal.

10)   If you have more kittens and one of them is absolutely not eating, when feeding him/her keep one of the other near: competition for food will trigger, we were successful because of this.

11)   Donít worry about water, if they eat enough milk itís not necessary.

12)   For urine and poo they MUST be stimulated manually: the former with a soft absorbent paper, passing it over the genitals like itís their motherís tongue.
For poo you should buy vaseline oil and use your lubricated finger to stimulate the anus.
Every 48 hours or so they will defecate a soft light-brown material.

13) What Andy said about water is correct, but not for the first 4 to 5 weeks.
This because they really are not able to ingest so much fluids and itís absolutely necessary to put in as much as nutrients as possible.
Remember that weíre talking about a kitten of 250 grs and just by skipping a meal we found one of them unconscious and with body temperature extremely low.
In essence we need to pack as much as nutrients as possible in that little stomach.
All three of them started drinking water by themselves by week 5 or so.

14) Another important point: as with humans youíll always have a kitten which is smarter and starts doing vital things (like drinking water for example) before the others.
Be sure that the others are around him: they will learn from him (at least when theyíll start to see more clearly).


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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 09:16:18 AM »

Tomorrow I'll add other suggestions and things we learned along the way.

If this thread will help saving just one kitten I'll be happy.


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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 09:16:59 AM »

.


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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 09:17:41 AM »

.


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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 02:10:14 PM »

My cat sooty died unexpectantly (we think she ate some poison put out by a neighbour) and she left behind four 17 day old kittens.  I had to feed them by the bottle every couple of hours.  My hands were a mess from them clawing me for food....haha  I just bought some kitten formula and made it up by the bottle when needed.  I cleaned their bums with a warm wet towel.

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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 02:13:19 PM »

.

Look how big her claws are compared to her.   Grin
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 06:02:23 AM »

My cat sooty died unexpectantly (we think she ate some poison put out by a neighbour) and she left behind four 17 day old kittens.  I had to feed them by the bottle every couple of hours.  My hands were a mess from them clawing me for food....haha  I just bought some kitten formula and made it up by the bottle when needed.  I cleaned their bums with a warm wet towel.



I'm sorry to hear about Sooty.  I lost my beloved "son"  Gizmo Herbert Griffin, back in May. 

The only thing from the OP's list I would disagree with is "never mind about water"  I've always been told that milk is food, and should never be used as a substitute for water.  Granted, he may be talking about just those first few days, but all in all cats need plenty of clean, fresh water to drink.
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 08:14:32 AM »

My cat sooty died unexpectantly (we think she ate some poison put out by a neighbour) and she left behind four 17 day old kittens.  I had to feed them by the bottle every couple of hours.  My hands were a mess from them clawing me for food....haha  I just bought some kitten formula and made it up by the bottle when needed.  I cleaned their bums with a warm wet towel.



How many of them Sooty left?
All of them survived?

Our Vet was very skeptic about the possibilities of our 3 kittens: he was thinking 2 survivors excellent but 1 more realistic.
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 07:22:03 PM »

I'm sorry to hear about Sooty.  I lost my beloved "son"  Gizmo Herbert Griffin, back in May. 

The only thing from the OP's list I would disagree with is "never mind about water"  I've always been told that milk is food, and should never be used as a substitute for water.  Granted, he may be talking about just those first few days, but all in all cats need plenty of clean, fresh water to drink.
Thank you Andy and sorry for your loss of Gizmo.   Sad  I think the OP is referring to very young kittens.  The kitten milk formula is mixed with water.  Also kittens breastfed from their mothers do not need any water until they start drinking from a bowl themselves. 
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2012, 07:24:50 PM »

How many of them Sooty left?
All of them survived?

Our Vet was very skeptic about the possibilities of our 3 kittens: he was thinking 2 survivors excellent but 1 more realistic.
Sooty left 4 kittens behind.  All of them survived. I fed them around the clock every 2-3 hours pretty much like when I breastfed my two children..haha
They were so adorable, when they heard my voice or saw me they would start meowing crawling towards me.   
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2012, 11:42:43 PM »

I once had a female chihuahua that adopted motherless kittens on a couple of occasions...I bottle fed the cats, and Poopsi would otherwise provide the mothering functions and a warm affectionate body to cuddle against.  It's amusing to watch a small dog groom little kittens.
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 12:58:53 AM »

I once had a female chihuahua that adopted motherless kittens on a couple of occasions...I bottle fed the cats, and Poopsi would otherwise provide the mothering functions and a warm affectionate body to cuddle against.  It's amusing to watch a small dog groom little kittens.
Awwww that's so beautiful.  Did you end up keeping any of the kittens for Poopsi to have a companion? 
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2012, 11:24:09 AM »

one black one...I will try to find a photo...but my mom sort of lost it at the end of her life and she disposed of most of my negatives, transparancies and prints when I wasn't looking.
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2012, 07:52:36 PM »

one black one...I will try to find a photo...but my mom sort of lost it at the end of her life and she disposed of most of my negatives, transparancies and prints when I wasn't looking.
I kept the little black kitten too from the litter.  I would love it if you could find a pic and sorry about the loss of your mother. 
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The Italian Lifter
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2013, 01:40:34 AM »

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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2013, 02:31:31 AM »

bump

They still alive?  Pics?

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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2013, 08:58:29 PM »

Hooray kittens !
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The Italian Lifter
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2013, 02:56:03 AM »

They are alive and well, and as you can see it's very clear who's in command.
Last 23rd of May it was one year we saved them.

Left to right: Jessica, Nando, Gigio


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« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2013, 02:57:49 AM »

Gigio


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« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2013, 02:58:20 AM »

Nando


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« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2013, 03:00:23 AM »

The Barbarian Brothers...


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« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2013, 03:04:12 AM »

Jessica sleeping...

She's the one we rescued last June thanks to intense care in a bigger city near us (16 miles in 13 minutes no highway!)


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« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2013, 03:05:27 AM »

Gigio sleeping  Grin


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« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2013, 03:06:20 AM »

Nando sleeping in his big confy heart...


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« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2013, 12:09:31 PM »

thank u Italian Lifter Smiley   kittens are so cute
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