Kittens - Is there such a thing as overfeeding?

Greeneyedgirl

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I've recently adopted/fostered kittens. My dad found them on his boat when they went on vacation. He actually discovered them on day 2 of being out on the water. Which means they were away from their mama for at least 2 days. We're not sure if the mom and kittens were in the storage shed before they left for vacation. Or if mom put them there the night they arrived on vacation for a new hiding spot. Either way - these sweet babies needed immediate care and I jumped in. Our local shelters are full of kittens right now, so I'm fostering them to try to give them the best chance of survival. According to everything I've found online, I'm guesstimating their age to be about 10 days old. Immediately, I started bottle feeding them every 2-3 hours the kitten replacement milk. I've been caring for them 2 days and they have gained weight and look healthier already. However, I want to know if there's such a thing as feeding them too much? They're definitely eating more at each feeding than what the online charts show. Now - since i don't really know their age, I could be off, but based on their weight - they're eating more than the chart, too. They are finally eliminating waste and urine after each feeding so that's a good sign, too. I'm really worried about the runt, though. He's so tiny, but he's a fierce little eater. So - back to my question...Is there such a thing as overfeeding a young kitten? Also - as long as they're gaining weight and looking healthy, is there any reason I should take them to the vet yet?
 

StefanZ

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No hurry with the vet. Give them as much as they wish. What kmr do you use?
Goats milk is OK too, if you can find it.

Does the runt adds too? If yes, it shouldnt be a problem shehe is smaller than the others.

You are lucky they accept happily bottle, many orphans whom had momma are reluctant to a bottle...

Re their good appetite and good weight raise: healthy orphans are much easier to get to thrieve, than weak kittens rejected by momma...
 
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Greeneyedgirl

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No hurry with the vet. Give them as much as they wish. What kmr do you use?
Goats milk is OK too, if you can find it.

Does the runt adds too? If yes, it shouldnt be a problem shehe is smaller than the others.

You are lucky they accept happily bottle, many orphans whom had momma are reluctant to a bottle...

Re their good appetite and good weight raise: healthy orphans are much easier to get to thrieve, than weak kittens rejected by momma...
I'm not sure the exact brand KMR. I bought it at Tractor Supply. I'll have to check tonight when I get home from work. It's liquid and in a carton and cost approx $18USD. My daughters are feeding them throughout the day. I'm weighing them daily and so far they have gained weight, so that's a good sign.
I've thought about going back to the storage shed to look for the mama cat and try to coax her to me. With her being feral, I'm sure she won't come easily, but it might be worth a shot. however, I have other 3 adult cats at home, and I don't want to run the risk of exposing them to outside illnesses or diseases that she might be carrying. I have these kittens quarantined in a pack n play in their own room right now. Do you think I should try to find the mama and bring her home to be with her kittens? It's been 4 days since they've been without her.
I appreciate the feedback.
Thank you!
 
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Greeneyedgirl

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Nope, and also physically weighing them (I couldn't tell, maybe you are?) will give you a better idea of what's happening :) Keep a lookout for goopy eyes, diarrhea and slow to no weight gain.
I am weighing them. However, I only have a postage scale so it's in ounces. So far, they have all gained weight. Their eyes look healthy, I think.
 

catsknowme

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Mama kitties are usually quick to hunker down with their babies. If you can find a vet to do a spay as soon as she is trapped, that would be ideal, in case she doesn't tame down. A spayed mom can still nurse babies. A bathroom or quiet, climate controlled space with boxes for caves, or a large dog crate with litterbox and carrier inside would work as well. I would keep the crate covered with a sheet.
 

StefanZ

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I am weighing them. However, I only have a postage scale so it's in ounces. So far, they have all gained weight. Their eyes look healthy, I think.
A raise of 10+ grammes a day is good. In ources its about 1/3+ Oz. a day. Some add more than double of this a day, but it shouldnt be much less.

If you find momma its nice, but perhaps more to help her too (spaying inclusive) than because of biological necessity... As they are doing excellently with you and your dedicated dau...
It will also be easier for you.

Most shy semiferales are accepting the situation, when they notice you are kind to her and her babies...
Cat mommas are alike human mommas: if its OK for their childs, it is OK for them. The wellfare of childs is more important than freedom.


Ps. As they are healthy, and are doing well, you CAN afford to sleep some in the middle of the night. They dont need feeding around the clock, as weak kittens do.
In nature, momma often leaves the kittens several hours at a time, to find food. Healthy kittens manage.
As you yourself saw with this batch...
 
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Greeneyedgirl

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I have a few more questions and I read that I shouldn't start a new thread if I already have one, so I'll ask here first. These 4 kittens are a little over 3 weeks old now. 3 of them are doing well, I think. However, I have no experience - just google and youtube and this site. lol

1.How often should they be pooping?
I've been manually stimulating them after feedings - they always pee, but poop only happens once in a blue moon. like every 2-3 days. is that normal??
2. Should they be dewormed? They've been kept in my house away from other animals since they were 8 days old - could they even have worms? I don't see signs in their poop. they have full bellies, but they also don't poop for 3 days, soooo that could be why they're full.
3. The 3 kittens are all just over 1 lb. The runt is only 9 oz. He was 6 oz. when we started with him. This little guy - he just tugs at my heart. He's strong, but so skinny and just not gaining weight. We've increased his eating frequency and switched his formula recently to try to help him gain weight. We had to take him out of the enclosure with the others during their play time because they're too rough with him and he can't fight back. He's not steady on his feet like them. We work with him separately for play time so he can move around without being tackled nonstop. We put him back in when they all tucker out and go to sleep so they get to snuggle together though.
Do you have any suggestions to help him gain weight? Is there anything I'm missing?

Thank you in advance for your replies!!
 

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Sarthur2

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Kitten glop is primarily used when a caregiver is unable to get proper kitten formula. Which brand formula are you using? Powdered or pre-mixed?

Are you sure the runt is from the same litter and born at the same time?

Are any of the kittens cutting baby teeth yet?

Kittens do not necessarily poop every day, while others poop 2-3 times a day. Are they straining to poop when they do go? Are the poops semi-soft or hard?

Healthy kittens can be wormed at their first vet appointment for vaccines when they are 8 weeks old.
 

catsknowme

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Wow! 3+ weeks already! Congratulations on getting those precious babies this far!
Re: pooping - are the stools hard and round? Are the babies straining or mewing with discomfort? When you lightly and gently squeeze their sides (similar to squeezing a tube of toothpaste but with less force), are their sides soft and pliable? If you lightly press fingertips in their lower abdomens, do you feel any hard stool? (You can ask your vet if they can show you how to do the exam or perhaps recommend an experienced neonate rescuer to mentor you). A few drops of olive oil in their bottle can be used if constipation is an issue.
I have had good results with supplementing my fragile tinies with goat milk. Most commercial kmr formulas are whey based and some tummies don't do as well with cow's .milk products. Gradually, mainstream kmr manufacturers are adding goat milk to their whey based formulas; Tailspring uses goat milk exclusively in their milk replacers - you can look up their ingredients list and consult your vet.
Your little guy was likely conceived later than his litter mates (since cats -and dogs- ovulate after mating, there can be up to 2 weeks difference in true age), he is reaching milestones at a later date and you are wise to keep him away from the rambunctious play. Also, runts sometimes benefit from being offered an extra heat source when away from the group, whether it's a heated rice-or-cornmeal sock or a low-watt pet pad (just be sure to keep the heat to one side so kitten can easily move away, to prevent overheating. Signs of overheating are bright red gums and/or panting).
Here are a few reliable links that I find helpful, especially because they include grass-roots rescue suggestions for underfunded rescuers.From University of Wisconsin:
Library
The link to Austin Pets Alive! via Maddie's Fund has short videos that you probably have already outgrown but the charts beneath are specific and very beneficial:
Orphaned Kitten Care How to
And in case of emergency such as Fading Kitten Syndrome (FKS) or other illness, the MF webinar is a good resource:

Thank you
 
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