Already feeling over my head...

evertiro

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So... today I adopted a cat. And when I say adopted, I mean "had unceremoniously handed to me because the other option I won't even mention here." This isn't as big a deal (in theory) as it sounds, I've had tons of cats over the years, and I'd technically agreed to adopt a cat if it was needed... but the one I'd originally agreed to was a "teenager," whereas the one I ended up with is a kitten. Like... I don't think he/she's more than two weeks old.

His/her mother is a semi-feral (domesticated, but no real family to speak of). We don't know who she ran away from, but she's obviously from a pampered background and has been living in a local construction site for a while now. Except... construction is progressing, and the company has elected to "evict" all the cats. Every cat found a home, except this little guy. Whoever took the mother didn't want the kitten, and I'm not condemning a kitten if I have a choice, so I adopted him/her.

Which is where the fun begins. I've had him/her for about eight hours now, and haven't been able to convince him/her to eat almost anything. I knew enough to know that kittens have different dietary needs and shop accordingly, but since he/she's effectively a stray, nobody knows exactly how old he/she is. This is resulting in a not-insignificant amount of anxiety. My guestimate based on little more than rough size and eyes is a bit over two weeks. This was also the opinion of the closest thing PetSmart had to a cat expert at the weird time I was finally able to get there.

He/she doesn't whine or complain (unless you pick up or move him/her when he/she doesn't expect it), has a reasonable amount of energy (loves exploring my bed, and climbs on anything he/she possibly can - which isn't too much given he/she still doesn't functionally "walk" in the traditional sense yet), very much seems to enjoy cuddling (big surprise) and even purrs sometimes when cuddling - sort of. Most interestingly (to my limited knowledge) is that he/she seems to already understand self-cleaning. I didn't think that was something most kittens did until closer to 4-6 weeks.

Given all that information, help? If I'm wrong on the age, and it's closer to 4 weeks, then the lack of eating isn't terribly concerning, but his/her size is more concerning. If I'm right about the age, I'm definitively concerned about what to do to make this kitten eat!

Picture was about an hour ago, no clue why he/she decided he/she loved that paper towel, but he/she claimed it as a bed for a good 45 minutes before deciding that I looked more comfortable...
 

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aww man congrats on your new kitten i wouldnt have been able to walk away either dont worry man there will be other members to reply soon that will know what to do its late though not sure how many are on the east coast but keep checking though i know they will reply also it may not be weaned as yet on solids yet still
 
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evertiro

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aww man congrats on your new kitten i wouldnt have been able to walk away either dont worry man there will be other members to reply soon that will know what to do its late though not sure how many are on the east coast but keep checking though i know they will reply also it may not be weaned as yet on solids yet still
Yea... I highly doubt he/she is on solid foods yet. I've been trying to bottle feed him/her but he/she hasn't seemed interested (no, not milk, kitten formula - don't remember the specifics off hand, I can look if anyone wants to know). And I doubt even a kitten this young is going to die if he/she doesn't get the "ideal" diet before tomorrow. I'm going to keep trying tonight (yay sleepless nights) and try to find a vet open tomorrow and close enough to get to (I don't have a working car at the moment, so I'm limited to friends, cabs, and walking). At the very least I know he/she needs a checkup and I need a better estimate of age.
 

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evertiro evertiro
Hi,
Poor little fellow and glad you decided to care for him. It is sad the people who took the mother did not agree to keep the kitten until at least older.
As you are taking him to a vet tomorrow that is good.
I do agree he looks about two weeks.
Have you tried giving the kitten formula with an eye dropper or tiny bit of wet cloth?
 

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Yea... I highly doubt he/she is on solid foods yet. I've been trying to bottle feed him/her but he/she hasn't seemed interested (no, not milk, kitten formula - don't remember the specifics off hand, I can look if anyone wants to know). And I doubt even a kitten this young is going to die if he/she doesn't get the "ideal" diet before tomorrow. I'm going to keep trying tonight (yay sleepless nights) and try to find a vet open tomorrow and close enough to get to (I don't have a working car at the moment, so I'm limited to friends, cabs, and walking). At the very least I know he/she needs a checkup and I need a better estimate of age.
your a good man /human best of luck to you
 
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evertiro

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evertiro evertiro
Hi,
Poor little fellow and glad you decided to care for him. It is sad the people who took the mother did not agree to keep the kitten until at least older.
As you are taking him to a vet tomorrow that is good.
I do agree he looks about two weeks.
Have you tried giving the kitten formula with an eye dropper or tiny bit of wet cloth?
Don't have a suitable eye dropper and can't get one until at least tomorrow, tried cloth... wouldn't even look at it.
 
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evertiro

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your a good man /human best of luck to you
I'm not that good, I'm just good to animals. Animals only do what nature intends or humans train them to. Humans are dumb. If it'd been a human, I'd have let the shelter have 'em! :p
 

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Hmm I am not sure all I can think of is maybe a very tiny piece of something like an old tee shirt. If the cloth is too big that may confuse him. Good luck to you and the little one. Please update us tomorrow after the vet.
 

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Hi evertiro evertiro
I found this thread in the kitten care section. It gives tips on bottle feeding that I didn't know about ~ it must be done carefully. Page two especially has good tips. The folks who hang out in the kitten care area may be able to give better advice as well.
Questions about my very young Kitten
 

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Sarthur2

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If you post a picture of its behind with its tail up, we may be able to gauge the gender.

Does the kitten have baby teeth yet? If it does it is 4 weeks old, but if not it is under 4 weeks. Let me know.

In the meantime, you’ll want to get a small syringe to feed the formula. Here is a helpful video:

Syringe Feeding — Kitten Lady

For weaning to soft food here is another helpful video:


You can also pick up jars of Gerber chicken or turkey baby food and try feeding that from your finger to see if the kitten will lick it. It can also be syringed.

Sometimes it takes a couple days for a kitten to adjust being away from its mother and begin to eat, but it does need to stay hydrated.

Keep us posted and thanks for taking the kitten in!

evertiro evertiro
 
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evertiro

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If you post a picture of its behind with its tail up, we may be able to gauge the gender.
He's male, took him to the vet this morning (more on that in a second).

Does the kitten have baby teeth yet? If it does it is 4 weeks old, but if not it is under 4 weeks. Let me know.
He does not, the vet said my guess was as spot on as possible (he's darned close to two weeks old).

In the meantime, you’ll want to get a small syringe to feed the formula. Here is a helpful video:

Syringe Feeding — Kitten Lady
Got a few of those from the vet too (and successfully hand fed him at the vets office too! Not a lot, and he wasn't happy... but it's a start!)

For weaning to soft food here is another helpful video:


You can also pick up jars of Gerber chicken or turkey baby food and try feeding that from your finger to see if the kitten will lick it. It can also be syringed.
Thanks!

Sometimes it takes a couple days for a kitten to adjust being away from its mother and begin to eat, but it does need to stay hydrated.
Vet said the same thing (and gave me some special formula that's designed to boost his blood sugar if he refuses to eat properly).

Keep us posted and thanks for taking the kitten in!

evertiro evertiro
Will do! And duh... cats are awesome and deserve more of a chance than people do in my book!

On to the actual update... he's a he. He's almost exactly two weeks old. He still dislikes eating (and I don't think he's actually gone to the bathroom more than once yet), but we're making progress. Vet said he most likely has some form of worms (not surprising tbh), and gave him some de-worming medicine, but that otherwise he's got plenty of energy despite lack of food, is attentive, playful and mostly friendly. Vet says that as long as we can keep him fed, he thinks I have a new 20 year commitment ahead of me (I can only hope).
 
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evertiro

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Why can I not edit posts? That's annoying. To be clear, when I said the vet gave me a special formula, I didn't mean formula in the food sense, I mean in the supplement sense.
 

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Your little guy will learn to take the syringe well very soon. Did the vet get a weight on him? Feed every 2-3 hours for now as much as he will take, and you need to stimulate him to go potty after every meal.
 
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evertiro

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Ok, a few hours later here's what we've learned. Feeding the little terror is insanely difficult, even with a syringe. He'll eat, but I'm lucky to get him to take more than around .5ml every few hours before he simply shuts his mouth and refuses to take more. Also haven't actually seen him use the bathroom, even using the tricks mentioned here. He does have significantly more energy than yesterday, though I suspect that has more to do with not being out in the cold than anything related to food. He seems to rather enjoy exploring, is exceedingly loud for his size (if he's crying you can hear him in the next room with the door closed, if he's purring you can hear him from across the room). He's remarkably affectionate and loves to cuddle already (usually if he's crying and it's not snack time he stops the second I get in "cuddle range"), and cleans himself constantly (and me occasionally... I didn't expect a kitten this young to lick as much as he seems to).
 

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Wonderful update Well for now in his eyes you are his mom I would keep him coddled up and warm as much of the time as you can. Soft blanket in whatever you are keeping him in Be sure to stimulate for him to potty He is used to mom doing that Just have to say WHO takes a mommy cat and leaves a 2 week old kitten behind grrrr So glad he has you now This baby will love you for life!
 
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evertiro

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Wonderful update Well for now in his eyes you are his mom I would keep him coddled up and warm as much of the time as you can. Soft blanket in whatever you are keeping him in Be sure to stimulate for him to potty He is used to mom doing that Just have to say WHO takes a mommy cat and leaves a 2 week old kitten behind grrrr So glad he has you now This baby will love you for life!
Been trying... hasn't seemed to work yet. That does bring up a good question though... once he's able to get by on his own, anyone got a recommendation for a decent litter box for him? I can't seem to find anything locally (maybe a stocking issue, maybe I just don't know what I'm looking for) that isn't explicitly designed for adult cats. Even with as fast as cats grow, I expect he'll be able to functionally use a litter box long before he can even see the top of the ones available locally...
 

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Here's a tip for stimulating him to poop/pee.

Hold him in one hand, head towards your wrist, belly in your palm, butt facing outwards. Hold him over the sink with a warm tap running. Wet you finger, gently tap his but area with a finger, keep rinsing your finger off with warm water so it stays warm and moist. He should poop/pee as you tap. Keep the tap running so everything washes down the sink.

Kittens sometimes prefer to lick wet food off your finger rather than from a bowl or syringe. He may not be eating very much because the worms are making him feel bloated, but keep at it.
 
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