Sunday, September 12, 2010

Orphaned Kitten Care

I recently acquired two foster kittens. They were doing great. They were out of a litter of five. Another volunteer of sorts took the other three home. A week has gone by and my kittens are plump and content. The other day the other volunteer came to shelter to say she couldn't care for them anymore. This saddened me. Who would foster animals and them dump them off to someone else? Not an animal lover I know. Nevertheless, I took them in too and their appearance made me literally gasp. They were ragged, skinny, flea ridden and miserable. I asked her calmly (while under the surface fuming) if she had gotten up several time in the night to feed them because orphaned kittens needed it. She said no and that they suffered through it. At that time she left (thank God) and I was left with these poor excuses for kittens. I didn't have to get up for midnight feedings for my kittens anymore because they had started to eat wet food. I had to start the process all over! It was worth it though. Two of the three kittens still need bottle feeding but they are coming along nicely. They are all flea-free and love the heated blanket and nice area I set up for them!

Some tips when caring for orphaned kittens:

0-1 week: Ear canals and eyes will be closed. Umbilical cord will be intact till around day 2. No teeth. Blue eyes (All kittens are born with blue eyes) 3-4 oz in weight. Kittens need milk and help eliminating waste. To do this get a warm, damp towel and rub their hind parts to eliminate.

2-3 weeks: Eyes are ears begin to open at week 2. Suckling reflex becomes stronger and baby teeth emerge. 6-8 0z. Can start introducing wet mush mix (2 cans of wet food mixed with hot water and dry food. Add wet food after dry food is soft) Kittens still need help to eliminate waste

4-5 weeks: Start introducing the litter box. They wont understand at first but they'll get it. Crawling and grooming begin. Kittens can eliminate on their own. Play becomes a central activity. 10-14 ounces

6-7 weeks: Kittens can eat solid food and use kitty box. They gain the ability to stand. Reactions to sights and sounds begin. Human interaction is critical at this point 1 lb.

8 weeks: Kittens can officially be spayed/neutered at 2 lbs at most veternarian clinics!!

When setting up an orphaned kitty environment here are some tips:
1. Always have available food and water!
2. Have a warm place for them to sleep (heating blanket or pad is a must!)
3. Have someplace for them to sleep in the event the heating pad is too hot for them (a blanket or bed will suffice)
4. Use puppy potty pads to encourage elimination and teach them to "go" in one area
5. Give them lots of attention and care!!

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