Anyone raised a litter of bottle-baby kittens? And tips?

Discussion in 'Other Pets' started by Liz_M, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. Liz_M

    Liz_M Well-Known Member

    I bottle-raised a single kitten about 30-some years ago so my skills are a bit rusty...

    So between this last Friday and Sunday, I have taken in three tiny kittens, because their retarded feral mama was carrying them around, dropping them randomly and leaving them for hours, like in my driveway or the middle of my front lawn. One by one I took them in, and on two occasions put them back out to see if she would take charge but she showed no interest.

    They are (best I can tell) a little over a week old. Eyes just starting to open, ears just starting to stand up, still blind and I think mostly deaf (they don't respond to sound or light but when I get close they start stirring and coming towards me; I read that tiny kittens have an excellent sense of smell.)

    I bought powdered formula and a couple of feeding bottles. They are being kept in a cat carrier for now, I am feeding them every 4-5 hours. And, win, my little Jack mix is an AWESOME mothering dog and she waits for me to get done feeding them, then I give them to her and she cleans them very thoroughly, both north and south ends LOL. They purr and roll around, then back in the carrier they go until next time.

    They seem healthy and as active as kittens who can't really see, hear or walk can be. They do have fleas, but not horribly bad, I've been using a flea comb on them. The smallest one was initially resistant to the bottle but has since gotten the hang of it and now they are all very enthusiastic about feeding time! While I am feeding one, the other two are crawling over my hands gumming me (they also do not have teeth yet.)

    So far so good, but I am reading a lot of conflicting information online. Like, when do I first worm them? And are pet store dewormers really teh evil, or should I take them to the vet? And, much of what I read says to feed kittens under 14 days every 2-3 hours, but none of them are interested in eating that often, every 4-5 hours seems to do the trick. They are not crying, or sucking on each other, in between times, which I read is a sign of hunger, so I hope I'm OK with the status quo?

    I haven't called my vet yet and maybe I should but thus far they seem to be doing OK and I will get them in at 6 weeks for vaccinations, if not before. Or should I take them in just for a check-up?

    I feel badly for retarded mom-cat but she really didn't appear to be holding up her end of the bargain. I am going to get her trapped and spayed within a month.

    Sorry for long post. And I promise I will get photos shortly. They are all gray and white and of course adorable. I think two girls and a boy but I'm not an expert at this.

    Anyhow, any tips or shares is appreciated! I'm thinking they will outgrow the small carrier soon, I do have a larger one. Can't let them out loose unattended because the knucklehead mastiff puppy is liable to step on them or something.
  2. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I have. I usually have the babies in for a vet check right away and get a timeline for things like worming. No over the counter wormers, imo. Get something from the vet for that. They have fleas, they'll have worms. I'm sure you know these things, but just in case: Always feed with baby on his tummy and head looking up at you. Never feed them like a human baby because they can aspirate. Sorry. I'm sure you know that. Also make sure after feeding to take a warm, wet washcloth and stimulate the genitals so they eliminate. Keeping them warm is very, very important. A chilled kitten can die very quickly. If you have a digital thermometer that has a smallish end it would be a good idea to take their temps. You want something around 100-101, 102. Also check gums. Fleas can make them anemic. You want nice pink gums. At that age I generally feed every 2-3 hours. Wash all bedding frequently and wipe down all surfaces to try to eliminate any flea eggs that drop. Ummmm - I dunno. That's all I can think of.

    I just sent a foster kitten off. Someone dropped two strays off at my daughter's clinic. Two little skeletons covered with skin. One didn't make it. The other flourished. I actually have almost a complete can of powdered kitten formula in my freezer. There's a six month shelf life in the freezer and 3 months in the fridge. If you PM me your mailing address I'd be happy to ship it to you. It should be fine going from Indiana to Michigan without spoilage. Just let me know.
  3. Liz_M

    Liz_M Well-Known Member

    Boxergirl, you're amazing and thank you so much. I will PM you. Yes, I am keeping them on their tummies for feeding and changing bedding daily, also cleaning and disinfecting their bottles and the mixing bowl every day. Pretty warm here still and between the fact there are three to get into a kitten pile and I am rotating through my warm woollen winter sweaters for their bedding I think they are keeping plenty warm.

    I will call my vet in the morning, been reading some scary stuff about OTC dewormers but since I am not a cat person it's hard to separate the woo from the solid information. I am so sorry you lost one. Even at this tiny age they have differing little personalities and you get attached. I was really worried about the one who did not want to take the bottle initially because she is the smallest but she appears to have rallied. I actually have two vets I use, one gives me their "rescue discount" because I used to be active in that for years so I will call them in the morning. Oh crap, no I won't. Thursday morning; they are closed Wednesdays. Well I will call my other vet for info, then.

    And I never knew that those tiny ears twitch in rhythm with the suckling, that is just the freaking cutest damn thing ever.
  4. rosiegoat

    rosiegoat Member

    I have volunteer for a homeless/feral cat organization. Do you have other cats? Keep those babies separate in case of FIV or Feliv.

    You can put one single drop of Advantage II on their neck, for the fleas. Just one drop. You won't need to deworm until they're a bit older, 4-5 week.

    Definitely keep them warm and dry. My babies usually sleep thru the night, too. I feed last at 11 pm, and then in the morning at about 6 am. I also rub their little bellies to burp them. Amazing how loud they can burp!

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  5. BAMCB

    BAMCB Well-Known Member

    Yes! Pics please!!
    I raised a singleton who did eat every 2-3 hrs in the beginning but I think it was spread to 4-5 hrs by 2 weeks. We kept him on blankets with a small heating pad on warm underneath. But he was alone with no other kittens to snuggle with. We also kept a clock(for the ticking) outside his box. That was my moms suggestion for mimicking a heartbeat? Who knows but he did survive to adulthood, though he definitely ended up a very strange cat
    Side note: I knew of a barn cat who actually delivered a kitten in the driveway, left it, then another by the dumpster, left it, and another in the aisle, left it and so on. Someone had told me it was because she was so young. Please keep us updated:)
  6. Liz_M

    Liz_M Well-Known Member

    rosiegoat, thank you, I do have three resident cats and they are FLV/FiV free, and on flea preventative, in fact what I have for them is Advantage 2. All the packages contain warnings that this should not be used on kittens under 8 weeks old, though. And my vet does not recommend any commercial flea products until 9-10 weeks old. So I am a little nervous about using them for the babies, do you have any links or further info you can share? I am open for new info.
  7. rosiegoat

    rosiegoat Member

    My info is from the vet that runs the group and clinic. I will try to find her info. I know she says it is off label use, because of the kittens age. I will see if I can cut and paste.

    You could also try dawn dish detergent, but I would hesitate because small babies chill so easily. They do make an advantage kitten. My vet gives to all new patients.

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  8. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I was also going to suggest Dawn, but I was worried about the babies getting chilled. I don't think I'd risk bathing just yet. Can cats take Capstar?
  9. Liz_M

    Liz_M Well-Known Member

    Thanks you guys, I did consider Dawn and washing but because of their age and the chilling concern I am hesitant, and since this is a banner year for fleas and I am rural they will just be re-infested within 24 hours anyway. They are nice and pink and not crawling with fleas, plus I have dusted DE around their carrier so I think they will be OK for the next couple of weeks.

    Yes they can have Capstar, but again it only works for 24 hours. All my other crits are on vet flea preventative but this has been a Godawful year for fleas here; so no matter what I do these kittens will get re-infested quickly, so I'm just going for real-time control until they are old enough for the big girl meds. :) I did get rid of quite a few of the nasty critters with a flea comb this evening.

    I will try to get decent photos; so far all I've managed are some really blurry ones! When they are out of the carrier they are either eating or trying to eat, and I am just me so it's hard to get photos of the little knuckleheads because I am busy either feeding them or preventing then from falling off the bed or my lap.
  10. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    I have done this but it's been many years. Feeding every two hours from bottle and you have to use a baby wipe on their butts to make them potty because they can't on their own when they are so little. I don't recall what the timing on shots, deworming and such was though

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  11. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    I knew one that came and tossed her kitten in our trash can. We tried to return it to her and she would bring it back to the trash each time. The other kitten in the litter she kept and raised. There was nothing wrong with the kitten she threw out but I raised it for her, got it a home and she is still alive today (the kitten) many years later. The kitten was a little bitchy and argumentative though and still is. She is just a diva at heart I guess. :)

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  12. Liz_M

    Liz_M Well-Known Member

    Kudos to all my fellow bottle-baby raisers! It takes quite a bit of energy; I don't even know how people go through the whole puppy pregnancy/whelping/raising thing, three kittens are enough.

    I added the blurry photos of Fiona cleaning them a few nights ago, sorry I haven't gotten any better pics since. Fiona is awesome, though, she knows there are three and is anxious until I put all three down for her after feeding. Then she cleans them, very thoroughly. Then I snuggle them under my shirt or robe and love on them a bit, then back in the carrier they go.

    I've been taking them to work with me. Them in their carrier, a flannel blankie for going over the carrier and feeding/cleaning them on, jumbo pack of baby wipes, formula and bottles, paper towels and trash bags for all the clean-up debris. And extra bedding. Apparently did not clean them well enough yesterday, one had a big liquid poop (well at this point all their poop is liquid) we had three very unhappy kittens with shit smeared on them. They did NOT like that at all! And I didn't much like cleaning everything; that's when I left work and went to buy a pack of baby wipes. Kitten poop dries hard as concrete in their fur, just an FIY. >.<

    I don't have a scale but they are definitely getting bigger, more active, louder, and eating more. I've settled into a routine of every three or so hour feedings. Less than three hours, they are not interested. Between three and four hours they latch right on, I let them drink until they lose interest. Anything longer than four hours, they start shrieking and crawling towards me when I open the carrier and are really hungry, so I've settled on 3 1/2 hour intervals and that seems to be just right.

    Called both my vets, both said as long as they were healthy, no need for them to come in for worming or anything else until six weeks old.

    Nik, many years ago I picked up a cat that had been hit on the side of the freeway. So of course, I named her Freeway. :) She had to have a broken jaw set and some other work done at the vet so he had her for a few days...and she had (sadly) been nursing kittens at the time she was hit. While she was at the vet someone brought in two newborns that had been put in a coffee can and thrown in a Dumpster. :( /mad. Freeway took them right on; of course we named them Onramp and Offramp. All three got adopted out by my vet's office.

    Anyone in Michigan or surrounding states want a kitten, very well socialized and used to dogs, hit me up! I'm still thinking two girls and a boy but I'm really not sure. Maybe three girls.They'll be ready to go in 7-8 weeks. Otherwise I have a strong maybe from a very well-funded local rescue who will take them at six weeks, and a definite yes from someone who fosters and rehomes lots of cats and kittens.

    Attached Files:

  13. That's a lot of hard work and dedication right there. /salute

    Some cute little kitties too!

    Off Topic: I've been feeling bad for keeping my kittie locked in the kittie room. But she has her own bedroom and adjoining bathroom to roam. I'd let her have the other guest room too but my gma sleeps there when she comes over. Normally she gets to use the doggie door but Chase, my little DogVacay guest, is aptly named. Bolted OVER the the child gate I have that keeps my EMs out. So I had to shut the door. Thank god kittie has her own bunk bed lol.
  14. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Liz_M, how are the babies doing?
  15. angelbears

    angelbears Well-Known Member

    Yes, how are the babies???

    Can D-Earth be used on the kittens?
  16. Liz_M

    Liz_M Well-Known Member

    Kittens are doing great! Weather has been perfect - neither too hot nor too cold - so I've been taking them to work with me in the work van. They travel well in their carrier covered with a blankie but now they are starting to toddle about shakily and play with each other, so I leave the carrier open and a drop cloth down so they can come out. I've gotten quite organized with a supply of paper towels, extra bedding, baby wipes and their formula, bottle and measuring cup. (I'm a painting contractor and currently doing a large residential repaint so I have access to running water, microwave, fridge, etc.)

    One note for anyone finding this thread while looking for info on bottle-feeding baby kittens - I don't know what the hell all the articles that suggest using a "cotton wool ball" or "piece of damp kleenex" to get them to poop and pee are talking about. Because when they go, they GO in alarming quantities. I'm going through baby wipes and rolls of paper towels like nobody's business. Like handsfulls at a time, both to catch all the output, then clean them up afterwards. I am very thankful that Fiona takes over that duty the rest of the time.

    Anyhow, healthy and active little knuckleheads. The two solid gray & white ones are so similar I call them Pink and Black (for their nose color.) I think they are both boys. The little tabby gray is Ethel, for Ethel Merman, because she is extremely loud. Yes, DE is safe for little kittens and between that and daily flea-combing, I think we've conquered the fleas. I couldn't find any fleas at all on them today.

    I've tried a couple of times to give them formula from a shallow bowl but so far that's been an epic fail. They wade through it, get dirty, screech because they don't like getting dirty, and don't eat anything. Still working on that. It would be nice not to keep getting up at 2, 3, or 4 am to feed the little monsters.

    These photos are them today in the back of my van at work.

    Attached Files:

  17. Yamizuma

    Yamizuma Well-Known Member

    They are really cute.

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  18. Liz_M

    Liz_M Well-Known Member

    So how many would you like, Yamizuma?

    I can ship to Canada. :D
  19. Yamizuma

    Yamizuma Well-Known Member

    ! I fear Sid would eat them. He is determined to make a meal of the neighbours' cat. He once caught it by the tail as it was making a run from our yard, and stripped the poor thing's tail of fur like a corn cob. Good thing the neighbour still likes us both.

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  20. They are so cute!

    No more cats for me. I'm done with litter boxes. I will be devastated when kittie face goes, but will be happy to also get rid of the damn litter box. By the looks of it though, she still has years left.

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