Should I wake up my newborn kittens to feed them?

Salchicat

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Hi! I'm new to this website and I've loved it so far, it's been really helpful!
I'm currently taking care of 3 11-day-old orphan kittens (I've had them since they were about a day old) and, naturally, I'm full of doubts :lol:
Right now I'm strugglig to set a feeding routine for them. I've visited several vets and they all have told me different things, but most of them agree that I shouldn't wake them up to feed them... I've tried it, but my kittens can easily sleep for 8 hours straight (at this point, I always end up waking them up because I get worried :paranoid:).They are not lethargic or anything like that, in fact, they eat well and are quite active when awake :sweat: Also, I think they're a little bit behind in their development... They still haven't opened their eyes yet, and the biggest one weighs about 165g (the smallest is at about 135g). I've seen every kind of poop coming out of them :dunno:, but the vets insist that they're in great shape... I'm pretty sure they have parasites, but (at least in my country) you can't deworm them until they are 15 days old. I'm really concerned about it all, but I still see they are in good spirits... Any advice, please? 😅
 

sunny578

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I would wake them up to feed them, especially if it seems like their development is slow. At 11 days, they should be eating every 3-4 hours? I wouldn't think it would hurt them in any way to be woken up at this age.

How many are there!! My first bottle baby was also my first foster failure:)
 
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Salchicat

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I would wake them up to feed them, especially if it seems like their development is slow. At 11 days, they should be eating every 3-4 hours? I wouldn't think it would hurt them in any way to be woken up at this age.

How many are there!! My first bottle baby was also my first foster failure:)
Thanks for the advice! I have 2 little girls and 1 boy :blush: (there was another one, but he was really weak from the beginning and sadly died :bawling:)
I forgot to mention that the first few days their weight seemed to be "stuck", but lately they've been gaining about 10+ grams per day! Idk if that changes your outlook?
Anyway, here's some pics :loveeyes: IMG_20220125_093223_mfnr.jpg IMG_20220125_125740_mfnr.jpg
 

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I don't really know, but from the pix, they seem to be doing well, with nice round bellies.

Maybe the old saw, "Let sleeping cats lie," is appropriate in this instance.
 
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Salchicat

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Hi! I'm new to this website and I've loved it so far, it's been really helpful!
I'm currently taking care of 3 11-day-old orphan kittens (I've had them since they were about a day old) and, naturally, I'm full of doubts :lol:
Right now I'm strugglig to set a feeding routine for them. I've visited several vets and they all have told me different things, but most of them agree that I shouldn't wake them up to feed them... I've tried it, but my kittens can easily sleep for 8 hours straight (at this point, I always end up waking them up because I get worried :paranoid:).They are not lethargic or anything like that, in fact, they eat well and are quite active when awake :sweat: Also, I think they're a little bit behind in their development... They still haven't opened their eyes yet, and the biggest one weighs about 165g (the smallest is at about 135g). I've seen every kind of poop coming out of them :dunno:, but the vets insist that they're in great shape... I'm pretty sure they have parasites, but (at least in my country) you can't deworm them until they are 15 days old. I'm really concerned about it all, but I still see they are in good spirits... Any advice, please? 😅
I said 135 and 165g, but now they are 155g and 175g, more or less :thumbsup:
 

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With the weak ones, its important to feed them every 2 hours, or even more often if necessary. If a weak one is sleeping long, the risk is it goes over inte lethargy and...
But healthy kittens manage longer interwalls. 3 hours or even more... If they grow every day 10+ grammes, and seems ok, you may let them sleep.

Some kittens opens eyes earlier, some later. Its both individual and also genetical in their family...
 
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Salchicat

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With the weak ones, its important to feed them every 2 hours, or even more often if necessary. If a weak one is sleeping long, the risk is it goes over inte lethargy and...
But healthy kittens manage longer interwalls. 3 hours or even more... If they grow every day 10+ grammes, and seems ok, you may let them sleep.

Some kittens opens eyes earlier, some later. Its both individual and also genetical in their family...
Thanks a lot!!
Also, should I be worried if most of the time they poop on their own and not when I stimulate them? I try massaging their tummies every time they eat, so could it be because of that?
 

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They’re very small for their age, at or below normal birth weights at almost 2 weeks. They do need to be woken for feeding, sleeping that long isn’t usual for young kittens.
 

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I would wake them to feed them every 3-4 hours. They are very underweight for their age.

It’s okay if they poop without stimulation.
 
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Salchicat

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Hi! Sorry to bother you again :crazy:
The kittens started opening their eyes yesterday morning (they look so silly!) But I've noticed that since then, they've been waking up and crying more often (like every 2 - 2.5 hrs.)
So I wonder... Does opening their eyes make them feel uncomfortable?
I still feed them when they cry, but I'm a little worried about overfeeding them, since they're eating the same amount, just more often
 

vince

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It is really hard to overfeed kittens. They're little growing machines!

I never heard of opening their eyes being uncomfortable. I think they just want to be fed.
 
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Salchicat

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It is really hard to overfeed kittens. They're little growing machines!

I never heard of opening their eyes being uncomfortable. I think they just want to be fed.
Oh, that's reassuring to read :thanks:
 

Sarthur2

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Yes, they are just hungry and need to be fed frequently, Growing kittens are always hungry. As previously advised, they needed to be waked for feedings and were very underweight, so crying for food is telling you they are hungry. They need to gain weight. As already mentioned, it’s almost impossible to overfeed kittens.

Eyes opening is normal and good and indicates their growing awareness of the world around them. They do need dim light the first couple weeks as their eyes adjust.

Hand raising kittens is a big commitment and is labor intensive!
 
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Salchicat

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Hello again, everyone :sweat:
After reading your advice, I returned to their 3 hour feeding schedule. It had been going great; they continued gaining a lot of weight and had decent, frequent poops.
However, since friday night, one kitten started continuously pooping herself. It wasn't exactly diarrhea, but it was weird... Then, yesterday morning, she started showing bits of blood in her stool. I freaked out a little :paranoid: and thought it was a sign of GI parasites. Thankfully, they turned 15 days old yesterday, so I got them dewormed right away.

I wanted to know how long it's gonna take for the dewormer to work, because even though she eats a lot and is active/vocal, she keeps losing weight, and it breaks my heart every time I enter the room and see she's had a poopsplosion :frown: I can feel she's uncomfortable...
The vet told me to take her in if she refuses to eat or seems lethargic. That's not the case, but I'm still concerned about her health. Vets are closed on Sundays, so I can't talk to her right now...
What should I do? Also, she doesn't seem dehydrated, but I want to make sure she doesn't lose water. Unflavored Pedialyte (or any electrolyte solution) doesn't exist in my country, so what could I use in case she gets dehydrated?

Thanks for your help
 

Sarthur2

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Oh dear! I hope she will be okay.

You can make your own pedialyte with boiled water, salt, and sugar or honey. It will rehydrate as well as work as a pick me up.

She may have an intestinal infection that clavamox or metronidazole would cure. Keep us posted!
 
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Salchicat

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Hi, sorry for the (very) late post
I took the kitten to the vet on Monday and they gave her Amoxicillin (0.04ml every 8 hours, for 7 days. We're currently on day 4). She's now having better, firmer stool, but still goes without stimulation, and several times a day. The poop's not really smooth though... Not hard, but like grainy?
Anyway, the main problem now is her weight. She's the size of a 1 week old kitten, even though she turned 3 today :(. Weight is not dropping, it's just stuck... She's eating a lot and is in great spirits nonetheless. The vet told me to take her to the hospital if she gets worse, but I'm a bit puzzled right now :gaah:
Her siblings, on the other hand, are doing great. They're chonky, healthy, and adorable :loveeyes:. One of them was a bit constipated for a while, but nothing a few drops of olive oil and homemade Pedialyte couldn't fix...(Thank you for the recipe, Sarthur2!)
 

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Had I given you the advice of raw goats milk? If not, can you get hold of raw goats milk?
This could be the extra trick necessary for a break through.... Because you tell, she eats a lot, so she does need something extra...

Some nice vitamine paste could too be useful. If possible, in drops, as she is still nursing.
 

Sarthur2

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I predict your tiny girl will begin to gain weight when she finishes the amoxicillin. Antibiotics can cause diarrhea even while curing the issue, especially in one so tiny.

As long as she is eating and not losing weight she will hopefully be okay and will soon begin gaining weight. Let’s hope it’s not a genetic issue, but time will tell.
 
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Salchicat

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Hi again :frown:
I'm really worried about her right now... She started losing weight and is incredibly skinny (she got to 150g today, and her siblings are close to 400g :bawling2: Before, it was stuck around 170g). She still eats a decent amount per feeding (I found some goat's milk and have been supplementing her with it), but it's rather hard to make her drink... I've noticed that it's getting harder for her to stand up and walk, but is still moving around.
I talked to another vet and she said that the amoxicillin should've been given every 12 hours instead of 8, probably causing an upset tummy... I also got a probiotic (the new vet told me it was really important to give her probiotics if she's going through a course of antibiotics, but the other one didn't mention it).
Today is the last day of the amoxicillin and I haven't seen any good changes. In fact, her poop is getting worse... Can I post a picture? I'm asking first because I don't want to disturb anyone with gross photos of kitten diarrhea :crazy:
It's 1:30 a.m right now in my country and the vets are closed... I really hope she can make it through the night :cringe:
I'm also gonna have to find a hospital where they're willing to take in neonatal kittens...
Thanks for all your help
 

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Ouch... If she has much diarrhea, she will also need more salts, They lose lotsa of salts and electrolytes in diarrhea.
If you have pedialyte, best is such unflavored for babies, its good.
If not, make your own... Or simply, add a little salt to whatever you manage her to got to drink. Not that much to change the taste too much, but still some. Also, smear a little glucose sugar on her gum, beneath the lips. (it will be typically a droplet of white caro syrup). This gives some quick energhy. Do it perhaps before you feed her, so she will have the strengh to eat and drink.

Be sure she is warm and cozy. The weak and sick are always freezing. A heat pad? An IR-lamp is good too. this way, she wont freeze when you are handfeeding her.

Salchicat Salchicat
 
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