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Fostering Kittens For The First Time.

Discussion in 'Pregnant Cats and Kitten Care' started by Flapjack's Mom, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    I've always dreamed of raising kittens from bottle babies to adults. I've been itching to do this, more so ever since my cat passed away. I needed something to help me cope. Now that I'm taking care of a couple of 1 week old kittens, i'm scared. I'm freaking out because they're so fragile and I don't want them to die under my care since a local animal shelter have allowed me, a first-timer, to foster them. And I would feel like a failure of they were to die due to some simple mistake :'(
    I'm doing all of the research I can and looking at Kitten Lady's (Hannah Shaw) videos and I'm still nervous.
    Bottle feeding seems to be the toughest because one of them gets fidgety around feeding time and I have to struggle to get him to latch onto the nipple. The other got it down.
    I'm actually wary of falling asleep, because I don't wanna miss a feeding time (every 2-3 hours). I've read here and there that as long as the kittens have been fed frequently throughout the day, I would be able to have atleast a 6 hour rest, but has anyone actually done this? Or is it too risky?
    Part of me wants to give it a week and see if I get the hang of it and stick it out and the other part wants to give them back if it's not working out. :c

    Sorry my post is a hot mess. My mind's all over the place
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Hi! You're doing an awesome job! I'm not expert enough to advise about the 6 hour time between feedings, but if you can also ensure they stay warm, and you can handle the sleep deprivation, it's a tremendously rewarding thing to do :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019

  3. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    First, calm your nerves. It sounds like you have really done your homework and you are very motivated and caring. Those videos are great. Being a first time foster is nerve wracking even if you have older kittens. A fidgety baby is expected at feeding time. They get all excited with a kitty mom too! I’ve often had to help a baby learn to latch onto mom during feedings. They are hungry and they get comfort from nursing so being anxious to get fed is common. If the babies are taking enough nourishment then relax. I don’t know how long you have had them but if they continue to eat and start to gain weight, you should be fine keeping them. Personally, I don’t know about a six hour break between feedings just yet. I did take four hour breaks twice a day a little later just to sleep but at 1 week, they do need frequent feedings. Weighing them can help you to figure out if you can take a little more of a rest. ( This May make you laugh..... before I had purchased my own scale, I took the kittens to our post office and got the post master to let me use the scale there. The Post office is only a block away. Small town! Lol Another resident here caught us weighing a kitten and teased that it must be a “special delivery!”) I’m sure you already know to keep the babies warm. It’s not always easy to raise bottle babies but it is the most wonderfully rewarding thing you can do.
    @catsknowme Still raises many of them and if she is on site she can give you some great tips.
    Bottle babies end up being totally bonded to you and other humans. They will be very loving and as they get older you’ll be laughing a lot at how cute and smart they are. Just hang in there tonight. Others will be here to assist you and provide support as you make your way with the babies. The time difference may mean some answers will come later. You’re doing a great thing by caring for these babies. Welcome to the site! I’m glad you came here for support. This is a great place for that. You can do a search here for information if you need it. I think that you will gain confidence as you go.

    Oh! I see a friend has just posted to you! @Furballsmom See! You are getting support already! Hang on! Help is sure to arrive! :hellocomputer:
     

  4. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    :clap: Bravo for accepting the challenge!! Key at this tender age is warmth and hydration. I love Kitten Lady but sometimes good old fashioned advice from www.kitten-rescue.com (fellow member Hissy's site)is a bit more practical.
    For warmth: I place the covered carrier half on a heated pet pad and add rice-or-cornmeal socks that are heated. I also use the heated socks to keep bottles warm. I avoid drafts & keep the carrier covered with a towel. I recently read that a 90°F environment has shown to help keep kittens from getting upper respiratory infections.
    For hydration: formula should be fine.Meals are every 2 hours. Formula should be served at 100° (a $3 candy thermometer works great). Never nuke the formula - either heat in a pan or nuke a cup of water and place the bottle in the cup of hot water (shake & check temp frequently).I prefer goat milk to whey based formula.For the most part, Breeder's Edge is excellent but my singleton Tilly was a bit premature and had to be exclusively on goat milk. Just so you know, though, if there are glitches like diarrhea, then unflavored pedialyte diluted with pure water 50/50 can be a real lifesaver and is a kitten-kit essential.
    For "diaper changes", I use warm, damp large cotton pads. I discourage using baby wipes as I have known of kittens to get swollen diaper areas from the chemicals, even though the wipes are unscented. We recently had a new member whose kitten got so swollen, elimination was a problem but the wise vet quickly realized the cause.
    You are doing wonderful with all your due diligence!
    And many of us here are up & awake at random times so don't hesitate to log on when you are struggling to stay awake.
    I am sure that I missed a lot but @Sarthur2 and @StefanZ and others are great at monitoring this forum - they have kitten rearing down to a science. :heartshape::cheerleader:
     

  5. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    Thanks everyone! ^_^ I just got done feeding and helping them use the bathroom. This'll be my first full day taking care of them. And I don't think I'll be going to sleep again anytime soon because I'm having an allergy attack :bawling2:
    (constant sniffling, i'm trying to keep myself quiet so the babies can sleep)
    Here are the babes :redheartpump:
     

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  6. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    I also gave em a sock filled with pinto beans for warmth. Nothing like a hot sock full of brand :p when my boyfriend's payday comes around I'll get a heating pad and a digital scale. Do I need any other essentials besides formula?
     
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  7. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    A good idea is to have some unflavored oedialyte on hand and soft cotton pads from cleaning after bathroom time. Catsknowme posted great info. A candy thermometer can help you read formuka temperature accurately. The babies are sooo precious! You’re doing great! Thanks for the sweet photo!
     
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  8. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    How often should the babies be pooping? I always stimulate before and after feeding. The pooped alot yesterday, but nothing today as of yet. I don't want to overdo it and rub their genitalia raw :c
     
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  9. danteshuman

    danteshuman TCS Member Top Cat

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    Flapjack’s Mom I just wanted to say I’m glad you are fostering. You have a precious panther & moo sweetheart! I can’t add any great advice over what you have gotten (crank the heat up to80F and use heating pads, feed on schedule, use goats milk, use a wet cotton pad ... etc.) * baby rice cereal can help plug them up if they get the runs, goats milk and forti flora should help.

    I will add 20 years ago I fostered 2 kittens that were found at 10 days old. I made so many mistakes with them and they both pulled through! (It was touch and go with Janey for a bit until I convinced Merlin to ‘mommy’ her.) Also I had absolutely no clue how often they should be fed so they went longer between feedings. The rabbit cage was a godsend because the minions (second litter) could not escape & I covered it with a quilt to keep them extra warm. A large hard crate or bathroom should help contain your wee angels.

    Sometimes I think the thing kittens/babies need most is love. So if you need one 4 hour period of sleep, I think that will be fine. I would suggest you wake up with an alarm, feed them and go back to sleep (or nap later in the day if you can.) The minions basically lived on my chest/stomach under a blanket the first week.
    :vibes::grouphug2:
     
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  10. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    From answers.com cat health/maintenance;
    a kitten should poop pretty consistently each time its bum is stimulated with a damp wipe (something the mother cat usually does with her tongue after each feeding, which should be every 2-3 hours). The kitten should perhaps not poop each time, but should go at least a few times a day.
     
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  11. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    Have they pooped yet? Are they urinating?
     
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  12. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    I have had kittens wait 2 or 3 days without pooping. If they get colicky from gas, you can add a couple of drops of infant simethecone to their bottle. I feel that kittens poop more with a whey based kmr. I really do feel that the mini Miracle Nipples are awesome - the kittens don't swallow as much air and the nipples don't irritate their tender baby mouths. Tilly switched to the regular Miracle Nipple when she was about a month old.
    Are you burping them okay? There are so many ways to do that. When they are with a mana kitty, kittens crawl up onto her back and self-burp.
     
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  13. danteshuman

    danteshuman TCS Member Top Cat

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    I gave my constipated kitten few drops of oil in his formula. (After 2 days of oil) On day 4 of no poop he got 1/16 max teaspoon of oil that I put in his mouth and gave him a bottle afterwards. He pooped very hard rabbit pellet poop for a 1.5 days then got back to normal.

    Knowing what I know now I would have given him enemas, tried a suppository or taken him to the vet. Plus now I know about burping kittens.
     
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  14. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    Yes, they're pooping and peeing just fine, peeing more so. I have to do a couple of tricks in order to get them to poo :)

    I just want them to poop atleast once a day, twice if lucky. I just don't want to rub them raw >_<
     

  15. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    And yes, I am burping the babies :) I gently pat their backs. I hope I'm doing that right, i'm having difficulty listening for what a kitten burp sounds like :s
     
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  16. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    I know! Kittens burps are so little! They are so cute though! Lol You can sit cross legged and place them over your leg. Tummy over the upper curve in your leg. It’s kind on like being on Mom’s back. Let them wiggle around and try to crawl over a bit. As they wiggle, they usually burp. I just love kitten burps! :p
     

  17. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    Have any of you had any "foster fails"? If I remember correctly, it's when you end up adopting one of your own fosters for one reason or another.
     
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  18. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    :rolleyes: Our little dog and my 89yo mom are having foster fail...I was raising Tilly for a friend whose elderly cat died but the friend has had to adopt two other kittens from the same colony instead. Screenshot_20190713-055007_Gallery.jpg
     
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  19. Flapjack's Mom

    Flapjack's Mom Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 12, 2019
    Texas
    They both pooped this morning! So happy about that :D I was worried that I was doing something wrong while stimulating them.

    Awww, that's so sweet ^_^

    I started bottle feeding them on my thigh, so that way they're against some thing warm and will be more inclined to drink. And also so they can burp themselves. The panther baby even purred. I honestly didn't know cats can start purring so early.

    I may wanna keep these babies :redheartpump: so that way I know they're in a good home. Because with how low adoption fees are at our shelters (about $25) there may be some evil people that may adopt them out and they're treated cruelly and/or abandoned. Plus I don't wanna split them up. And if they survive under my care, it'll be a great accomplishment.
     

  20. Sarthur2

    Sarthur2 Cat lady extraordinaire Staff Member Advisor

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    It’s hard to let them go after you’ve raised them and fallen in love! :hearthrob:
     
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