Kittens abandoned by mother -- help!

Tonight, while my brothers were doing chores, a wild mother cat came into the barn with a newly born kitten – as in he had been born only minutes earlier. He hadn’t even been cleaned off by her. The only thing she’d done was chew off the umbilical cord.

My brothers watched as she abandoned one kitten in the walkway behind the cows. They thought, “What the heck? Cats just don’t abandon their babies like that.” They saw her go out the barn door and she disappeared for a while. They had to move the kitten in the walkway so it wasn’t trampled by cows when they let them out for the night. They put it in an empty calf pen.

On the way up to the house, the oldest brother found a bigger, drier kitten by my grandparents’ back porch. It had been there for a while, they assumed, since it was crawling in circles in the gravel and crying. There were tomcats malingering not far off.

Agh. She’d left kitten all over the place. Right now, those two are in the calf pen in a little fence made out of straw bales, so they can’t crawl into any of the other pens with calves in them and be sucked to death or stepped on.

What I want to know is if there’s anything we can do to save these kitties. One’s calico and the other appears to be yellow with calico or tabby spots. What’re their odds for survival? Can anyone recommend a milk replacer/formula for them? We’ve “saved” other abandoned kittens before, but they were much older, with both their ears and eyes open, and able to drink cow’s milk.

Is there any chance of them making it with help?

Well, the smaller kitten has died in half-four since I started this thread. The calico is currently ensconced in a shoebox with a hotwater bottle.

Do you have a doll baby bottle, for milk maybe? I’d warm the milk. like for a human baby. An eyedropper might work.

I don’t know if this idea will help, but if you have a bottle of nasal medicine, the kind you shoot up your nose, with a narrow tip, empty it out, clean it out to remove any chemicals, and try using it to squeeze out milk.

In any even, I’d get the kitten to a vet as soon as you can tomorrow morning. the hotwater bottle sounds like a good idea.

I’ve seen newborn formula at pet stores and some groceries before. I’ve never handfed a kitten myself but I know you have to feed them every three or four hours at first. And definitely keep them warm. Also you have to stimulate them to defecate like the mother cat would have. Here’s some useful links.

Well, we’ve been trying to feed it warm milk out of one of my insulin syringes, but it really wants something to suck on. It’s sitting in its box on the computer desk next to me right now. I think I’ll try a Visine bottle, rinsed out with hot water. We got rid of all my dolls and accessories looong ago. We’ll call the vet tomorrow morning and see what he says.

Agh, forgot to say thank you. Thank you, both.

Soak a clean sponge in the formula and let the kitten suck that. That should work: I’ve had to do it before. (The kitten I did it with grew up to be a fine cat who was almost doglike in her loyalty to me.)

Use Pet Milk, you can get it from the grocery store, be SURE to test the temperature on your wrist just as you would for a human baby. There is other milk made just for baby kittens, but I don’t remember the name of it. I know our Vet advised us to use that stuff temporarily more than once, for kittens, and puppies. I wouldn’t nuke the stuff. Make sure you keep the kitty warm, and feed it about every 3? hours throughout the night until you can get to a Vet’s for better advice. Hope the poor thing makes it.

You can also try goats milk. Your vet will tell you more, but if you’re still reading this try to feed the kitten every 2-4 hours with warmed milk, formula, etc. And definetly hie thee to a vet ASAP. It is possible for a kitten abandoned this young to survive but it will probably be very touch and go. Keep it warm and full and cross your fingers. Good luck and as a cat lover I thank you for even trying to help it.

Woot! I got about 6 ccs of warm milk into the little bugger. Only took me an hour to find a way to get it into her. She is currently cuddled up next to her hot water, sleeping. I’ve done the rub under the tail with a cotton swab thing, but she hasn’t produced any waste yet. I’ve also rubbed her down with a warm, damp washcloth.

I’ll update y’all tomorrow after the vet.

Thank you all so much! I feel like I can actually get this kitty to survive.

PucksRaven, I have an abiding love of all things small and fuzzy. Tiny baby kitties are very high on my list of things that make my heart melt.

I know it’s kind of premature, but I’m already thinking of names. Eek. Stupid soft heart.

Your vet will have some tiny bottles with soft nipples that your baby kitty will like much better. I didn’t click on dwyrs link, so scuse me if this is a repeat of what’s offered there, but you’ll also have to bath the kitten because normally the mama cat eats the kitty waste.

We’ve reared several abandoned litters and found that either a warm washcloth bath OR a warm sink bath is best, using a very mild soap like Ivory. Then, you should blow dry them on the warm setting, not hot! If you leave them to dry on their own, they can contract a nasty little kitty cold with eye and nose mucas (conjunctivitis if I remember correctly) ~ blech :eek: If you have other cats, sometimes they can be tricked into doing the cleaning for you. It seems to be instinctual for mama cats to do that to ALL baby kitties they come across :smiley:

Good luck :slight_smile:

I got a 1 day old kitten which was discovered in a roll of astroturf in the now gone King Dome.

I was lucky to take the first few days off from work to care for this little critter. The feeding gets easy after they get used to the bottle. To keep her warm I fixed up an old sweatshirt with a pouch of sorts. She’d snuggle down in the pouch and sleep when I was sitting watching TV or reading.

One thing my vet told me is the kittens like when moms clean them. To mimic this, take a glass of warm water, dip a finger in and “lick” the cat. I mostly did this around the kittens face as she seemed to like this the best (she’d purr the loudest when I did her forehead and ears). I’d do this once a day and every other day I’d take a damp washcloth to the rest of her.

The helping her poop business is the most important next to feeding. I used a wet wad of toilet paper and run from her belly to tail at about the speed you see cats lick themselves. That worked pretty good.

I also tried to mimic cat traits the best I could. When I wanted to move her I’d pick her up by the scruff. When she got older I played “get the mouse” games. When she was about 5 weeks we ended up getting another cat who was shot in the spine with a BB gun. Lucky for us that cat had kittens in the past so she took over as mom for the rest of kitten boot camp.

The cat grew up just fine, but she did have some interesting non-cat like traits. She used her paws alot. She’d also pet us with her paws. It was kind of interesting.

There are several brands of kitten milk. If I remember if was a bit spendy, but it seemed to do the trick.

Keep us informed of kittys status.

Your vet will probably have you come in so they can show you how to tube feed the kitten. Neonates being bottle fed are very prone to aspiration pneumonia, so we put a little tube (we use red rubber urinary catheters) down the esophagous into the stomach and squirt the food in that way until they’re big enough to drink from a bottle safely. We sell KMR (it stands for Kitten Milk Replacer, ain’t that clever?), but there are other brands of kitten milk out there. They need to eat every two hours or so for the first few days, then you can cut them back to every three hours, then to every four hours.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about her box.

The hot water bottle is good, but you have to keep it warm. If not it cools into a big bag of cold water (not good)

I bought a heating pad and placed it under a shoebox on warm. Inside the shoebox I put a couple of washclothes and made a little nest out of ripped up old t-shirts. I put another t-shirt half over the box to help contain the warm and stop drafts.

I had to play with the amount of washcloths and heating pad settings to get it just right, but it worked like a charm.

CCL, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to tube feed the cuddle-lump. I’ve had to do that with calves, and it is not fun. (Okay, I assisted in tube-feeding a calf, which involved tackling it, straddling its shoulders, and then holding it by the ear and the tail. Even when they’re sick, they put up a fight when you want to shove something down their throat.) But I’ll do it because she is charming and defenseless and snuggles inside my shirt and under my chin.

For a box, I’ve basically got what Seven had for her kitten, except with a hotwater bottle I’m changing every hour.

I’ll try to be as mama-cat like as I can, but I think I’ll draw the line at eating the poop, okay? :stuck_out_tongue:

DON’T USE MILK! It hurts their tummies. If you have to use anything, use yougurt. You can buy kitten formula at the petstore like at Petsmart. I raised some kittens myself, but they weren’t just born.

Time for a longer reply, just wanted to get out the ‘don’t feed milk’ thing.

I used to sleep with my kittens to keep them warm. If you don’t roll around too much they will curl up next to your face or on your belly and it is lovely. Get a tiny brush/comb and brush them as well as ‘wash’ them with your finger or a slightly warm rag.

To warm the bottle of milk, I used to run it under warm water. When kittens nurse on the mom, they like to “make biscuts” as we call it in Ohio. They basically kneed you with their little paws. It helps if you let them do that by putting them in a towel or shirt while you feed them. Mine got used to the smell of human and would cry if they were placed in anything too fresh from the laundry. lol I fed mine through a baby bottle I bought at the pet store. Be careful about feeding. I used to overfeed mine, but they grew up fine.

About using the bathroom and litter training, they usually meow before they need to go. You just place them in a bit of litter to help them. I used to carry my kittens around with me EVERYWHERE until they were big enough to take care of themselves. Even then, they used to follow me.

As Ava said, don’t use cows milk. If you can’t get KMR from your pet store or vet, goat milk is a pretty universal formula. The wildlife rehab centre where I fostered fuzzy babies used goat milk for eeeeeverybody – raccoons, foxes, bunnies.

Tube-feeding kittens and puppies isn’t nearly so bad as all that. After all, they’re too little to fight back very effectively. :smiley: I usually pin the head between my index and middle fingers, slide my thumb and ring finger under the forelegs, and hang on to them like that. Then I slide the tube (pre-primed with warm milk, please, air in the tummy isn’t fun) down the hatch to the pre-marked length. You have to be careful to make sure it doesn’t go into the trachea, but if they can mew indignantly at you, you’re not in the trachea.

Glad to see the kitty made it through the night. Hope this trend keeps up. sends motherly vibes to the waif
When we took in Rhiow last fall, a male cat took up some of the “motherly” duties. She was weaned already, and figured out to use the litter pan we made for her out of a foil pan so she could get into it. But he groomed her and taught her catly manners. He’s an odd fellow, but very loveable, and nurturing by nature. He’s got fluffy white fur, and golden eyes, and when she first saw him she gave a mew of joy, tail up, and acted like he was her long lost mother. She’s white with short fur, and golden eyes.