A kitten fell down my chimney and I need advice!

TobiDaDog

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A few months ago we unfortunately lost our 20 year old cat to old age. We weren't looking for another kitten, but you know how it goes - They choose you when you need them most. We have been so sad lately, so lonely without our boy. I jokingly made a Cat Distribution System sticker for my store a few weeks ago in honor of one of our other cats.

If you guys don't know what the CDS is...it's when kittens and cats randomly show up homeless at your door, clearly meant just for you. It is referred to as the Cat Distribution System, and sometimes your number is pulled and hey! You have a cat now.

My partner and I were selected by the CDS yesterday in the strangest way. This little guy literally fell into our lives. We found him in our shop woodstove. He would have fallen right down the chimney, landed on a metal grate with a tiny gap, and then squeezed through the gap into the stove. We thought there was a bird in there scratching around but nope! It was the tiniest, ashiest kitten.

He doesn't have a name yet! But we are already smitten with the little guy.

I might be here asking for some advice though!!

He is TINY and won't really eat properly. He just wants to suckle on our fingers. So I mixed some KMR up with some wet kitten food and that seemed to help. He only licks up a little tiny bit at a time though and he only starts after I wipe some on his mouth. I'm wondering if he needs a bottle.

We don't know how old he is and I suppose we won't know until we get him to the vet.

He also can't stand to be alone for even a second. He just cries and cries and stresses himself out. We haven't gotten him checked out by a vet and we want to introduce him to our bigger cat carefully, so he's got a little room to himself right now. He hates it. I don't know what to do make him more comfortable. He freaks out if we aren't holding him at all times.

And we can't get him into a vet until Monday, but his little eyes seem weepy. I can't figure out if it's just the soot from the stove or a budding infection!

Also, he bites. He bites when he wants attention. He bites when he is hungry. He bites when he's playing. He bites HARD. We've been yelping and yanking our hands away, but so far he's still biting us! His little teeth are so sharp!

And lastly...we aren't really sure what COLOR he is. He's so covered in soot right now that we can't tell. We have been combing and combing him, but it's so deeply embedded in his fur. Every time we touch him, grey dust puffs off of him. I'm not sure how best to clean him.

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catapault

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He's beautiful! Thank you for the pictures! We at TCS love pictures.

The ash cannot be good for him, especially if he tries to clean himself and ingests some. A bath is probably in order. Put a dab of Vaseline on a finger and gently wipe each of his eyes. He'll close them as you do this, and the smear of Vaseline will keep water / soap out of his eyes. Put a towel in a sink so he has something to grab onto, and gently pour some lukewarm water over him. Repeat a couple of times to wash the worst of the ashes off, then a little soapy water, then rinse well and towel dry.

KMR and canned kitten food, mixed to a soupy consistency sounds good. Another option is human baby food (in a glass jar) meat only - turkey for instance. No onions, seasoning etc.

Looking forward to updates. Give him a smooch and a cuddle for me.
 
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TobiDaDog

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He's beautiful! Thank you for the pictures! We at TCS love pictures.

The ash cannot be good for him, especially if he tries to clean himself and ingests some. A bath is probably in order. Put a dab of Vaseline on a finger and gently wipe each of his eyes. He'll close them as you do this, and the smear of Vaseline will keep water / soap out of his eyes. Put a towel in a sink so he has something to grab onto, and gently pour some lukewarm water over him. Repeat a couple of times to wash the worst of the ashes off, then a little soapy water, then rinse well and towel dry.

KMR and canned kitten food, mixed to a soupy consistency sounds good. Another option is human baby food (in a glass jar) meat only - turkey for instance. No onions, seasoning etc.

Looking forward to updates. Give him a smooch and a cuddle for me.
Wouldn't a bath chill him? He doesn't seem to be able to regulate his body temps too well, which is why we've avoided it so far. When he's not actively being kept warm he shivers all over. He stepped in his food bowl this morning and I wiped his legs down with a warm, wet cloth and he immediately started quivering until I bundled him up. I'm afraid of making him sick, but I'm not experienced with things like this at all, either! The last kitten I had to bathe was in the middle of summer and she didn't shiver at all.
 

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Use an eye dropper or syringe to see if you can get him to drink milk, but he is getting some liquid from the slurry. I would suggest you also buy some dry kitten food and leave it out for him all the time. He is at least seven or eight weeks old and should be able to eat the dry.

He really does need a quick bath so he isnt inhaling or licking any of that soot. Then dry him with a towel and tuck him into your shirt or set him near a heat source like a heating pad or heat register to stay warm while he dries.
 
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StefanZ

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Wouldn't a bath chill him? He doesn't seem to be able to regulate his body temps too well, which is why we've avoided it so far. When he's not actively being kept warm he shivers all over. He stepped in his food bowl this morning and I wiped his legs down with a warm, wet cloth and he immediately started quivering until I bundled him up. I'm afraid of making him sick, but I'm not experienced with things like this at all, either! The last kitten I had to bathe was in the middle of summer and she didn't shiver at all.
True, careless bathing will chill him. So the reciipe is to prevent chilling. No draught. Warm but not hot water. (cats body temp is about 3F / 1 C more than humans)... Afterwards, be sure you dry off thoroughly, you may let him be on a warming cushion or similiar for a while....

Ah, down from a chimney, sounds as a gift from Santa Claus...
 

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when you are ready to make him stop biting you, the instant he does bite down, hiss at him. It's what his cat mom would do and he'll understand. He may shove away from you, but this isn't fear it's getting away to stop himself from biting down. He doesn't know it hurts and he won't until another cat demonstrates to him (won't break the skin, that will be fine, don't worry about it.) You will not be 'disarming' him, just letting him know not to bite you.
 
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TobiDaDog

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Thank you guys for all the advice! We got him all cleaned up and now he's a proper grey striped fuzzball. A standard issue mini-cat. He's started to perk up a lot since we've been mixing formula into his food for him to lick up. He still won't eat proper kitten food if it isn't in a slurry.

The biting is under better control now that his belly is actually getting full. He was just desperately hungry, I guess. He'd bite every time he wanted food.

I don't want to introduce him to our older cat face-to-face until he's cleared by a vet, but I'm honestly shocked by how nonchalant she has been about his arrival. She hears him crying and gives a curious look towards his room and then goes back to sleep. It took her three days to finally try to peek under the crack of the door at him...and it turns out she only wanted his toy. She kept trying to steal it and drag it under the crack of the door.

I'm hoping that these are good signs that mean that them meeting will go well. She has always been VERY friendly with our dogs and our senior cat, who passed a few months ago. She loves to play like a little kitten at all hours of the day and was pretty devastated when her friend died. Maybe this will be a good thing for her?

We are also unsure if he will be a medium haired cat or a short hair. I was thinking short, but he's got the most fantastic fluff coming in along his back and head. His tail is skinny and short haired though so I don't know!
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TobiDaDog

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Whenever he is big enough, we would like to have him neutered. I've never had a small male neutered before - all of our other boys in the past were fully grown or close to it when we had them done. Our girl was 4 months old when we took her in for surgery and much, much bigger than he is right now. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but he could curl up comfortably on a slice of bread. He is so, so tiny. He's literally been sleeping in our pockets. (His choice! I guess it's cozy)
 
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TobiDaDog

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Surely I'm overreacting and being a helicopter parent. We got the little guy (Nikolas) finally to eat something besides a slurry. I've been gradually mixing it into a thicker consistency so that he'll maybe chew instead of lapping? And he's been doing okay with wet.

But I decided to test him on some dry and he snarfed it right down. I got scared though because the kibbles are quite large and he isn't trying to chew at all. He just swallows everything whole. Am I being too paranoid about him possibly choking? I want to be able to leave dry out for him so he can have as much as he wants while he's still growing. But shouldn't he be trying to chew??
 
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TobiDaDog

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We also had a litterbox accident today. We have had him confined to one room and he has shown that he needs to go potty immediately after waking up from every nap. He fell asleep on the opposite side of the room from his box and didn't make it there. He tried.

He also whimpers and moans sometimes when he is peeing which worries me. I will be asking the vet about it on Monday. He is playful and active but I hope he doesn't have a UTI!
 

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Moisten his dry kibble (hopefully kitten chow - it’s smaller pieces) with formula. It will be easier for him to eat and digest for a few weeks until he’s bigger.

If he has a UTI he’ll need Clavamox to treat it. It’s unusual for a kitten but not unheard of. Whimpering while peeing is definitely concerning.
 
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TobiDaDog

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Moisten his dry kibble (hopefully kitten chow - it’s smaller pieces) with formula. It will be easier for him to eat and digest for a few weeks until he’s bigger.

If he has a UTI he’ll need Clavamox to treat it. It’s unusual for a kitten but not unheard of. Whimpering while peeing is definitely concerning.
Our older cat arrived with a UTI 6 years ago. Hers was worse though. She was not only crying but also peeing blood. I have been diligently checking his for signs because of it, but the only symptom he has so far is the whimpering.
 

FeebysOwner

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I got scared though because the kibbles are quite large and he isn't trying to chew at all. He just swallows everything whole. Am I being too paranoid about him possibly choking? I want to be able to leave dry out for him so he can have as much as he wants while he's still growing. But shouldn't he be trying to chew??
As mentioned above, the dry food should be kitten chow which are intentionally smaller pieces. And a lot of folks think many cats don't generally chew their food but rather swallow it whole. I think it depends on the cat, but I don't think you need to worry if he doesn't chew up the pieces - although if they are smaller in size, he might be more inclined to. I know my cat typically bites a morsel in half, but otherwise I am pretty sure she swallows to the two pieces whole.

She was not only crying but also peeing blood. I have been diligently checking his for signs because of it, but the only symptom he has so far is the whimpering.
UTIs do not have to be accompanied by blood - when my cat was getting UTIs there was never any visible blood - so don't use that as a gauge. There could be other reasons for the whimpering, but get the UTI ruled out.
 

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Congratulations, Team Nicolas! He is an adorable, spunky house tiger! I love your explanation of CDS - Nicolas' CDS agent certainly earned their wings with such a successful placement. Until you see the vet, you might try applying a thin film of coconut oil, the content of a vitamin E capsule or Vaseline to his privates just in case his urine burns due to irritation from exposure to the ash or soap or other irritant. You could ask your vet about using a weak marshmallow root tea as a beverage because that herb is very soothing to the urinary tract (and also to the lungs). Alternative herbs are German chamomile, slippery elm bark and red raspberry leaf - a holistic vet can be consulted for those. Thank you for the pictures and the updates!
 
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TobiDaDog

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Thank you guys for all of the advice, it's been very helpful!

Today has been a strange day. From day one this little cat has been extremely friendly and snuggly. He just tucked himself right into our lives. He isn't afraid of our dogs at all. Or the kids. Nothing seems to phase him. Until today.

This morning he heard a noise that, for once, seemed to spook him. Now he jumps at every little sound, flinches away from our hands, runs if he sees anything unfamiliar...even a soda bottle be didn't recognize. He is on hyper alert.

We tried to give him a few hours of alone time and he took a very long nap, woke up cheerful and snuggly, and then after a half an hour or so reverted back into his hyper fear state.

I tried to scoop him up at one point and he turned into a flying, screeching ball of claws and scratched the blood out of me.

I hope he's okay.
 

FeebysOwner

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Not knowing what may have gone on with this little guy before you got him, he could have heard something that he relates to his time before you; it frightened him and has now brought back memories of that.

Do you have any idea what it was that he heard? Coult it still be happening off and on? Can you try to figure it out and prevent it from happening again? Maybe some cat music to drown out other noises, if it is an outside source you cannot stop?
 
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TobiDaDog

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Not knowing what may have gone on with this little guy before you got him, he could have heard something that he relates to his time before you; it frightened him and has now brought back memories of that.

Do you have any idea what it was that he heard? Coult it still be happening off and on? Can you try to figure it out and prevent it from happening again? Maybe some cat music to drown out other noises, if it is an outside source you cannot stop?
It was my sticker cutting machine. I run a small business from home, and he's been living in my office all week. I turned the machine on for the first time since we found him. It has a motorized hum and beeps pretty frequently.

When we realised it was upsetting him, l I turned it off, but he hasn't been the same since. He really wants to cuddle up to me and my partner, but when we so much as move our hands he backflips off of our laps.
 

FeebysOwner

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Give it some time, and just be very cautious with your actions around him for now. You will need to find a way to drown out that cutting machine when you want to use it, at least for quite a while. Who knows what that noise sounds like to him.
 

Caspers Human

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Not knowing what may have gone on with this little guy before you got him, he could have heard something that he relates to his time before you; it frightened him and has now brought back memories of that.
We discovered that our youngest cat, Elliot, has a some undesirable emotional baggage, left over from his time being outside.

He had only been indoors with us for a month or so. I was sitting at my computer, messing around, and the cat was sitting in the window, supervising the neighborhood from on high. It was some time between 10:00 and 12:00 p.m. Probably eleven-something.
A pack of coyotes started howling, off in the distance. They weren't close by but they were near enough to hear clearly.

Elliot's fur stood on end, he jumped down from his seat by the window, he ran across the room, hopped up in my lap and cowered!

Of course, I held him tight, petted him and said, "I won't let any bad, ol' coyote get you!"

The howling only lasted for a minute or two but it took about five or ten minutes of petting and reassurance, afterward, before he calmed down and started purring.

Your little kitten bears a strong resemblance to our Elliot. From what you say, he's just as much a snuggle bug, too! It stands to reason that your kitten would have some emotional baggage, as well. He's only been part of your family for how long? Five days? A week on the outside? I think he's still in the process of getting used to his new home. He'll be skittish until he does.

My best advice is to give him as much love and security as he wants. He's only a couple of months old, tops, and he's been living out in the big, bad world for his whole life. He needs time to settle in.

About giving him a bath: I suggest getting as much of the dust off him as you can before bathing him.
When wood ash mixes with water it becomes very caustic. That's how our great-grandmothers used to make lye. They would fill a wooden barrel with wood ash and water then let it soak. After a while, they would drain off the water and let it evaporate in the sun. The resulting white powder, left over, is lye. (AKA: Sodium Hydroxide.) Back in the old days, they used to use it to make soap and for cleaning things. Suffice to say, pure lye, mixed with water, will burn your skin.

Brush him, as much as he'll tolerate, until no more dust comes out of his fur. Use a damp cloth (but not soaking wet) to wipe him down. When you bathe him, be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse...three times...to be sure you've gotten everything out of his fur. Afterward, mix a little bit of apple cider vinegar in a pail of warm water and wash him with it to neutralize any lye that still remains. Again, rinse, rinse, rinse...three times...to get all the vinegar out. Vinegar contains acetic acid. Acids neutralize alkalis to form salts which can be washed away, harmlessly.

I'm sure that you've already given your kitty a good bath and everything has come out okay but I still mention it in case you or anybody else run into a situation like this, again. :)

Bottom line: Give your little guy lots of love, reassure him that he's got a safe place to live, now, and I'm sure he'll settle in and make himself at home in no time! :)
 
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