Hand rearing 5 abandoned kittens

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
A feral neighborhood cat either gave birth in our shed day before yesterday or moved her litter of 7 kittens there shortly thereafter (eyes closed, umbilical cord attached). She then abandoned them. After she didn't come back for 12+ hours, we bought some kitten formula (actually it says puppy and kitten formula, but it is all the pet store had in the country I am living in). I fed them all and helped them pee. The mama returned and took one. I continued feeding the other six every two hours, and 24 hours later she returned and took one more (the largest, healthiest).

I still have five more to care for. The formula isn't ideal, but it is what is sold here (not a western country). Is there anything I can do to help in that regard? In fact if I understand the container correctly, the formula is for kittens and puppies 1 month and older. I figured it had to be better than no formula. No goats milk available.

Also, I want to know more about temperature regulation. I live in a tropical country. Daytime is 95-100 degrees fahrenheit, and night time 70-75 degrees fahrenheit. First, will they overheat in the day? I am trying to maintain warm rice socks for them at night, which they love and cuddle up with. But I was wondering if I need to do anything about our hot day temperatures.

I don't have a gram scale and can't get one (silly Covid-19). But two are obviously gaining weight. I hope the other three are. Also, they have fleas, I think...

What else can I do to help encourage their survival in these less than perfect conditions?
 

Sarthur2

Cat lady extraordinaire
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Mar 8, 2015
Messages
31,438
Purraise
11,464
Location
Sunny Florida
Are they inside during the day where it is cooler than outside? Since you cannot get goats milk or any other formula, or a scale, you’ll have to make do with what you have. Feed them every 2 hours around the clock for now, as much as they want.

Comb the fleas off of them since they are too young for flea products.

Thanks for caring for them!

Syringe Feeding — Kitten Lady
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
So far all five are alive and appear to be gaining weight (one less than the rest, one more than the rest...). They're also more eager about feeding in general and just act generally stronger. Since I can't weigh them, any tips for estimating if they're getting enough? The biggest eater easily takes 4-6 ml per feeding and has quite a firm sucking latch on the syringe. The smallest eater takes around 1 ml per feeding and that's with me going back to him several times. The smallest one is the most sleepy, and I'm concerned may be fading on me. I know there may not be much I can do, but I'd love to do what I can.

Also, since I'm not 100% sure about their age, how do you recommend I estimate when to move from feeding every two hours to feeding every three hours? (I've looked at photos and tried to estimate, but the best I can say is they were 0-3 days old when their mother moved them to our shed, since all eyes were and still are closed and all but one umbilical cord is still attached)... and at any point, is it right to let them sleep if they're sleeping soundly, instead of waking them to feed on time (I'm not meaning now... I can see how sluggish they were yesterday and suspect it was more a hypoglycemic thing, but eventually...)?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
Oh, also, yes the kittens are inside, where it might be a tad cooler than the 95-100 degrees outside, but only by a degree or two. Our house isn't air conditioned. So, I am still concerned by them overheating in the afternoon, but I'm also worried about doing anything that would cool them.
 

Willowy

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
29,752
Purraise
24,733
Location
South Dakota
90 degrees is fine for baby kittens, they do need to be kept warm. I don't know if 100 is too warm (since a cat's body temp is around 102) but I would guess that tropical kitties are probably acclimated to it. Just take special care to keep them well hydrated. You can make your own oral rehydration salts mixture if you need to (google "ORS recipe").

Can you get tinned evaporated milk, corn syrup, good eggs, and maybe some liquid baby vitamins? I think that might be a better formula than what you have because it sounds like a weaning formula and may not have what younger kittens need. Human baby formula mixed double strong (twice as much powder as the can says) can also work.
Recipes For Homemade Kitten Formula • Kitten Rescue (I once raised a fine healthy litter on emergency formula #4, but they weren't newborns, maybe 2 weeks old).

Or maybe using the formula you have but adding an egg yolk would work. Egg yolks have a lot of good nutrition, so that could improve it enough.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
This is wonderfully helpful! Thank you so much. For now, I've added an egg yolk to a cup of formula mixture and am keeping it in the fridge (I'll warm before each feeding). At the moment, I'm home alone with small children during a Covid surge, so I'm not getting to the store, but when my husband gets back, I'll get more ingredients to improve our kitty formula.

How do I know if they're constipated? Of the five, two have had a bowel movement since I started caring for them (they all urinate every time I stimulate them). The two bowel movements didn't look like constipation or diarrhea (not that I have experience in newborn kitty bowel movements), but that leaves three without any bowel movements. I can't get to the vet yet, so I'm only looking for general guidelines, so I know whether to add a little oil to their formula... and if I do need to, what kind? I have coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and raw sesame oil. Are any of those dangerous for kittens? Are any good for kittens? I've tried Googling, but I'm not finding answers.

Again, I know this isn't a perfect situation, but maybe these kittens will survive anyway, if we make the best of it.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
Oh, good news, I think they are older than I originally thought, because all but one umbilical cord has fallen off. So should I estimate 4-5 days old?
 

StefanZ

Advisor
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
23,772
Purraise
7,423
Location
Sweden
This is wonderfully helpful! Thank you so much. For now, I've added an egg yolk to a cup of formula mixture and am keeping it in the fridge (I'll warm before each feeding). At the moment, I'm home alone with small children during a Covid surge, so I'm not getting to the store, but when my husband gets back, I'll get more ingredients to improve our kitty formula.

How do I know if they're constipated? Of the five, two have had a bowel movement since I started caring for them (they all urinate every time I stimulate them). The two bowel movements didn't look like constipation or diarrhea (not that I have experience in newborn kitty bowel movements), but that leaves three without any bowel movements. I can't get to the vet yet, so I'm only looking for general guidelines, so I know whether to add a little oil to their formula... and if I do need to, what kind? I have coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and raw sesame oil. Are any of those dangerous for kittens? Are any good for kittens? I've tried Googling, but I'm not finding answers.

Again, I know this isn't a perfect situation, but maybe these kittens will survive anyway, if we make the best of it.
All these oils should be OK. Take olive oil or coconut oil, as we know this works. If you have several to choose from, take coldpressed - its not necessary but we do know they are good nourishment by themselves.

Let them sleep or wake them up?
These you are SURE they are OK and gaining nicely, you can let them sleep. Healthy kittens manage easily to be feed every 3 hours. Its probably even their natural rhytm, every 3 hours.

The problem is, weak lethargic kittens must be woken and feed, more often, because sleeping is with them the beginning of of going down...
 
Last edited:

StefanZ

Advisor
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
23,772
Purraise
7,423
Location
Sweden
Continuing.
Do you or your neigbour have ANY scale?
As you prob know, a healthy kitten adds 10+ grammes a day, if so you dont need to do much more.
If he adds much less, you do worry...

Re the weakest one: give some glucose sugar / dextrose. If you cant get this, white caro syrup some other syrup, put a droplet on the gum inside the lip. Gives some quick energhy. Even common table sugar may work, but its slower.

A scale is good. If you dont have a scale, you can try to decide the gains by hand. Some experienced rescuers are happy
with this. But for all less experienced a scale is a must.
You can perhaps make your own scale - you know, the old ways - hanging kitten in one side, and some weights on the other side?? Alike the pics of the blind godess of justice?? As long as you know what the counterweigh is, you will know what the kitten is.

The usual recommendation is; 9ml / 30 ml / day. (or 8ml / ounce / day.). So I kitten of 120 grammes / 4 ounces, should have about 36 ml during
the day. May get more if she wants, but shouldnt be much less...
Skarda Skarda
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
Thank you so much for all this information! This forum is saving these kittens' lives. After adding the egg and coconut oil, all the kittens really picked up in their appetite and energy levels. The smallest eater has now consumed 3-6 ml in each of the last couple feedings. The biggest kitten is consuming 6-10! (If they want it, I can't overfeed, can I?) I think the heat and thirst may also be playing a role.

I so wish I had access to a scale right now, but I won't for the next couple days. By the time I do, the most dangerous phase will likely have passed. But all of them now have that quintessential round belly, which makes me feel better.

Guys, thank you so much for being a lifeline for these kitties!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
Hi All,

We lost one (not the one I was most worried about!). He was the second smallest but always had a good appetite. Then in the middle of the night stopped waking up, and nothing I could do would wake him, not sugar water, stroking, or any other effort. I kept him warm, but he still didn't make it.

Three of the four left are doing fantastic! To my naked eye, looking at pictures of them when we first found them to today, I think they've doubled in size, and they can each chug down 10 ml in a couple seconds. They have incredible sucking skills. A small meal for them is still at least 4-5 ml, and usually quite a bit more.

But the littlest I'm still worried about. A big meal for her is 3-4 ml, and there are some meals I can't get her to take more than 1 ml. Sugar water doesn't inspire more appetite. I'm keeping their box quite warm (in the 90s). Is there anything else left to do for her? I hate to watch her deteriorate. For now, she's still very alert and when my hand goes into the box, she comes right after and starts pawing at me or attempting to climb my arm (they're all quite good climbers already!). But... she's really eating quite little. I don't have a scale, as you know, but I don't see the obvious weight gain that the other three show.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
Thanks for that tip! I'm trying... I can't always get to her every hour, but I am offering her more frequent opportunities (so sometimes on the hour and sometimes hour and a half) during the day (I don't think I can do better than every two hours at night). I *think* it's working... She's also had a few more of those "big" meals where she eagerly takes 3-4 ml. She doesn't have a strong suck on the syringe (the other three can pull the stopper down by themselves already), but she does seem to be getting more of those good meals frequently.

And, on a positive note, she actually has started to seem content. She's not crying excessively, nor is she sleepy and lethargic. She seems to act like her brother and sisters... just in a very tiny package!

I think they're around a week old (I found them Monday, and most of their umbilical cords had fallen off by Wednesday... all their eyes are still shut, but their ears started unfolding yesterday). So I'm hoping if they've survived their first week, we can get them the rest of the way there.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
Hi all, I finally got all four to the vet. The smallest weighs just 100 grams and was slightly dehydrated. The rest looked healthy and strong (they are double to triple the littlest's size), she said, so that was good news.

She gave me the clinic's final (tiny) packet of KMR powder, but informed they are discontinuing it here in Thailand. She suggested a large pet store to try to find more (not sure if this is a temporary thing due to covid or a permanent discontinuation).

No luck, but I found this (https://www.central.co.th/en/ag-science-milk-powder-mkp0620143) which says it is for 3 days old and up.

The thing is the container also instructs to mix one part powder with five parts water, or according to the kittens' needs. Well... How do I know how much they need?

The KMR packet is one part powder to two parts water and a much higher minimum protein and fat levels.

Any suggestions for how I can make the most of this? Should I do 1:2 like KMR? The vet seemed worried about feeding them raw egg yolks. But even she didn't know what to do if I couldn't find KMR powder.
 

Sarthur2

Cat lady extraordinaire
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Mar 8, 2015
Messages
31,438
Purraise
11,464
Location
Sunny Florida
Can you order kitten formula via Amazon? Amazon ships to Thailand.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17

Skarda

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
31
Can you order kitten formula via Amazon? Amazon ships to Thailand.
Sadly, not right now. The kittens would be all grown up by the time it arrived. Right now things are taking a few months to get here, due to covid.
 

StefanZ

Advisor
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
23,772
Purraise
7,423
Location
Sweden
Hi all, I finally got all four to the vet. The smallest weighs just 100 grams and was slightly dehydrated. The rest looked healthy and strong (they are double to triple the littlest's size), she said, so that was good news.

She gave me the clinic's final (tiny) packet of KMR powder, but informed they are discontinuing it here in Thailand. She suggested a large pet store to try to find more (not sure if this is a temporary thing due to covid or a permanent discontinuation).

No luck, but I found this (https://www.central.co.th/en/ag-science-milk-powder-mkp0620143) which says it is for 3 days old and up.

The thing is the container also instructs to mix one part powder with five parts water, or according to the kittens' needs. Well... How do I know how much they need?

The KMR packet is one part powder to two parts water and a much higher minimum protein and fat levels.

Any suggestions for how I can make the most of this? Should I do 1:2 like KMR? The vet seemed worried about feeding them raw egg yolks. But even she didn't know what to do if I couldn't find KMR powder.
Can you get goats milk? Goats milk is usually fine! And raw goats milk is often extra good in some conditions.

Re raw yolk. I dont know how is it with salmonella in Thailand... Its the salomonella which is the danger.
What are the recommendations for human use? Are you allowed to eat raw or rare boilded eggs? Or are you recommended to hardboil eggs for at least 10 minutes, but preferably longer?

If rare eggs are OK for you, raw egg yolk as addition is OK!

If unsure, pour boiling water on the egg, let the wet dry off, crack the egg being careful the yolk doesnt touch the shell...

You can use the white for yourself.
 

StefanZ

Advisor
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
23,772
Purraise
7,423
Location
Sweden
ps. Re this another powder kmr: The instictive answer is to follow the recipe on the label.
But if you clearly see KMR contains more nutrients, it hints KMR is simply less diluted.

So you shall perhaps make a compromise, dilute say 1:4, or even 1:3?
 
Top