Need advice from someone experienced in hand raising young kittens!

Shana SteppShana Stepp Member Posts: 118
edited 27 August, 2012 in Kitten Corner
Yesterday afternoon my mom & I found two kittens (around 2 & 1/2 weeks old) under a table on our back porch. The mother cat is a feral who we've been unable to trap & spay. In the past year Mama kitty has had many litters that always die. She has always given birth to her litters away from our property. We're sure her kittens die or are killed because within 2 weeks of having them she'll show up on our back porch looking for food & won't leave again until she's full term again & ready to have a new litter. Anyway, this last litter she actually had under my house. She had them 2 & a half weeks ago. Yesterday afternoon we found the two on our porch & wondered why the Mama kitty brought them out of hiding & exposed them to the danger of all the other strays, ferals we take care of, as well as the many racoons that come on our porch at night. We spent all day & night watching to see if she was feeding these two babies, but she never did. A couple times she laid near them & just watched them. But she kept disappearing under the porch. At one point we heard some loud cries coming from under the porch. I climbed under there with a flashlight & was shocked to see the Mama kitty sitting with three kittens! These kittens were almost twice the size of the ones she brought up on the porch & looked much healthier. I want to point out that the Mama kitty is in bad shape. She is painfully thin & can't gain weight no matter how much we feed her. I wonder if she has contracted a serious disease from the tom cats who impregnate her. Maybe that's what's killing all her litters. Or maybe because she is so emaciated, she cannot produce enough milk to feed her babies. I'm guessing she abandoned the two tiny ones in order to give the big, healthier ones a better chance of survival. I'm sure the two tiny ones couldn't compete with the three large ones to get enough milk. Needless to say, by late last night the two abandoned kittens didn't look good. So we brought them in our house & began feeding them kitten formula every 2-3 hrs. It's only been a little over 24 hrs since we've had them, but they are already thriving. They've become much more alert & active & their appetites are excellent. We've been feeding them with small, 1-ML syringes. We tried in vein to feed them with a kitten nursing bottle, but they are so little the nipple is too big for their mouths & they don't have the mouth strength to suck the nipple. They are eating well from the syringes, but we're so confused on how much to feed them. The directions on the formula goes by weight, but we have no idea how much they weigh & we have no way of weighing them. Also, all the info online talks about giving 2 & a half wedk old kittens around 50cc's a day, but we are using 1-ML syringes. Also, I'm worried that neither kitten has had a bowel movement since we've had them in our care. When we feed them, we first try to stimulate their bowels by rubbing their genitals with a cotton ball soaked sith warm water. After they eat we try to stimulate them again. They almost always urinate, but no poopie so far. How long can they go before I should be worried? Also, is it normal that their urine is a bright yellow? Sorry for the LONG post but I wanted to share as much info as possible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially from someone with experience hand raising kittens.


  • Shana SteppShana Stepp Member Posts: 118
    edited 26 August, 2012
    New update: I'm getting really worried because the black kitten hasn't had a bowel movement in 2 days! The tiger colored kitten has had several bowel movements, but I wonder if it is normal for a 2 & 1/2 week old kitten to have dark yellow poo that is more liquidy...not solid or anything. At first I thought it was her urine, but it's started to become darker and have a tint of brown in it (not much brown...mostly yellow). Both their urine is a light yellow so I've realized the difference between that and the tigers bowel movements. The black one who hasn't had a bowel movement is eating ravenously. I stimulate his bowels before and after each meal. He is urinating quite a lot, but no poo. How concerned should I be? Also, still worried I'm not feeding them enough formula! I am now up to giving them 6 or 7 1-ML syringes (per kitten) of formula each feeding (every 2-3 hrs), but they still seem hungry! Their bellies seem full and tight after I feed them, and I'm so afraid of feeding them too much as I've read several articles online which say you can cause harm if you over-feed them. I called my vet yesterday morning and the vet tech said to feed them as much as they want, so I'm not sure what to believe. Any advice on the correct amount to feed a 2 & 1/2 week old kitten would be greatly appreciated!
  • Mary DubuissonMary Dubuisson Member Posts: 296
    edited 27 August, 2012
    The kittens were likely very dehydrated when you got them, so the dark colored urine isn't surprising considered. Humans get dark colored urine if they don't drink enough water too. Stimulating them with a cotton ball is a good thing. They don't always have bowel movements every time they go. I would give it a bit more, and if they still are having trouble going, get them to a vet to be seen to make sure there's nothing wrong internally. I hand raised Kosuteh, the one in the picture, from 2 and a half weeks old. If you have any other questions feel free to PM me. I don't mind. :)
  • Renee RyzRenee Ryz Member Posts: 2,164
    edited 27 August, 2012
    I raised Maizy from 2 weeks old, so I know how exhausting/rewarding it can be. Kitties prob only poop 1 maybe 2 times a day, and they babies are not eating solid food, so I would not worry too much right now. I pretty much fed her as much as she wanted every 2 hours. 1cc is 1 mil - so that makes it easier. Keep using the cotton ball or a soft washcloth on their bottoms. Also take the warm damp washcloth & kind of wipe them with strokes of your finger like their momma was licking them you know? Keeping them warm & dry is also important. They grow so fast & are so sweet though. Good luck - let us know if we can help at all. PS Honey could also be so thin if she is full of worms. One of our female ferals, Peanut had her babies, and she was frighteningly thin, and she pooped out a huge wad of worms. It is a constant battle keeping her fed. She will hopefully be in the batch I catch for TNR, and they deworm them with the proper meds there before returning home
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