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Mon May 30, 2022, 10:11 AM

Need kitten help stat

I don’t have experience with very young kittens. Yesterday the hoarders I’ve been working with handed me a litter of kittens. They’re four to five weeks old and completely unsocialized—hissy spitty little things. I stashed them in a bathroom and offered a variety of soft kitten food including strained chicken. A day later this morning, they still hadn’t eaten anything, so I fed them strained chicken slurry from a syringe. It being a holiday, I can’t get any professional help until tomorrow. Should they be eating on their own? Should I get kitten formula and bottles? How do I keep them fed?

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Need kitten help stat (Original post)
spinbaby May 2022 OP
MuseRider May 2022 #1
CurtEastPoint May 2022 #2
spooky3 May 2022 #4
Leghorn21 May 2022 #3
spooky3 May 2022 #5
Tree-Hugger May 2022 #6
Siwsan May 2022 #7
spinbaby May 2022 #10
Faux pas May 2022 #8
Leghorn21 May 2022 #9
spinbaby May 2022 #11
tblue37 May 2022 #12
MichaelSoE May 2022 #13
Karadeniz May 2022 #14
spinbaby May 2022 #15
3catwoman3 May 2022 #16

Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:14 AM

1. Read the posts from

Siwsan. She is a master with kittens and all cats!

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:17 AM

2. Get some KMR from grocery or Walmart and mix it and give it to them.

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Response to CurtEastPoint (Reply #2)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:21 AM

4. Can get this at Petsmart too--get KMR2 rather than 1.

It can be prepared, and mixed with canned food as they settle down.

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:21 AM

3. Hey, sounds as if you're doing fine here, baby!!

They might be a tad too young to eat like a big kitty, but if you’re getting food down them with your slurry and a syringe, that’s a great start!!

Probably some manner of kitten formula would be better for another couple of weeks, but right now, you’re getting food in them, and I applaud your efforts!!

(I’m not a professional anything, of course!!)

Hang tough, and thank you for looking after these little wild thangs!!!

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Response to Leghorn21 (Reply #3)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:21 AM

5. I agree. If they let her hold them despite being wild and terrified,

She’s doing great.

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:24 AM

6. Get kitten formula

PetSmart, Walmart, grocery stores should all have it. Mix that with kitten canned food in a bowl. It won't hurt to grab a bottle to see if they will take it. If 4-5 weeks they should be able to figure out eating from a bowl, but I've seen kittens that age who are still pretty attached to the nipple life. You can also feed them kitten formula or the formula/canned food mix from a syringe.

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:24 AM

7. Madoc's litter was 4 weeks old and full of hiss and spit

I noticed when I talked really softly to them, and scritched them with my finger OR a tooth brush, they calmed right down. Picking them up by the scruff also seems to relax them.

If you can get some kitten milk replacement and give that to them with a syringe, it will keep them hydrated. I always warmed up the pate and mixed in some water or, better, yet, some of the replacement milk.

At that age they should be able to relieve themselves in a litter box. If, once they are eating, they aren't 'producing', try stimulating their little hind ends with a warm, wet soft cloth.

I'm home for most of the weekend so if you need any other suggestions, don't hesitate to contact me directly via DU email

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #7)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:33 AM

10. I'm on my way to Petsmart

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:25 AM

8. Kickin'

for visibility and good luck.

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 10:25 AM

9. Hmmm, also baby

I fostered some real younguns years ago, and after eating, I would put each one on a towel in my lap and rub their little bellies slowly till they pooped and/or peed —- babies can’t quite do this stuff on their own yet! Then I’d wash their little private parts in the sink under warm water, dry them off, boom, good to go!!

Thank you again, rock steady, baby!!!

HEY, I see Siswan has entered the conversation, you’re gonna be just fine, baby!!

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 11:45 AM

11. Got some milk replacement I to them

The little bottles were sold out, but I got some kitten formula, which they were willing to lick off the end of a syringe. They’re using the litter, so we’re okay in that department. Meanwhile, the hoarders have discovered another kitten, so I will have four total.

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Response to spinbaby (Reply #11)

Mon May 30, 2022, 12:09 PM

12. Try eyedroppers until you can get a bottle.

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 01:31 PM

13. First things first ... Try to spend some time in the room with them.

1. Since they are feral you will need to get them to trust you. Even if it is only 10 minutes at a time, go into the bathroom, have a seat and let them "investigate" you. Rinse and repeat several times a day. Even hourly if you have the time. They will start to warm up to you and not view you as such a threat. Let them walk around your feet. Once they start doing that attempt, to just touch them. Maybe little pats etc. When they do not mind your hand then try for picking them up and placing them on your lap. Get that far and you're golden. If you get that far go to step 2

2, Determine their age.
If you can hold them with out being shredded, pick one up and swaddle it in a towel, if necessary, with it's little head sticking out.
Gently get a finger into it's mouth and feel for teeth. You can get a fairly good estimate on their age.
Reference this link on 4 week old kittens
https://www.alleycat.org/resources/how-old-is-that-kitten-guide-four-weeks/
Scroll down and go to week 5
There is also guidelines on weaning at that age.

3. Get them to eat on their own.
Now as far as the bottles, at 4 to 5 weeks old, Mama would already be cutting them back.
Here's a trick to get them to start on the soft food.
It can get messy but it can really get them in to the swing of things.
See if they try to suckle your finger. Smear a tiny bit of the wet food onto your finger tip. Just a wee bit that they can lick or suckle.
Usually after 3 or 4 tastes, if they are really hungry you will find they will then eat tiny bits off you fingers.

As I was typing this I decided to make a little video as I have 7 kittens under my care. 2 of them are 6 weeks old that I bottle fed since they were 1 week old orphans. They were weaned 2 weeks ago.
The other 5 are 4 weeks old but their mama has been with them and I didn't have to bottle feed them. She did all the work but she is now spending less time feeding them. They are ripe and ready for weaning so I am helping. I was getting ready to do this today and so it is perfect timing to record the process.

Here is the video demonstrating the messy weaning trick.



It won't be an easy task with a feral but think about it, if you can't do it with the wet food you are not going to be able to do it with a bottle. Even if you can't hold them, be sure to leave food and water out. They very well may surprise you.

Good luck.


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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 01:59 PM

14. At their age, they're so used to mom's teat, they'd probably reject a larger, harder rubber nipple.

However, kitten formula is still what their digestive systems can handle best. You can get them interested with a syringe. If they don't want to lap milk out of a shallow bowl, scruff the kitty and position its head and mouth right over the milk, tipping the head a bit upward so kitty doesn't breathe the milk up its nose. One kitten is going to get the technique and that will inspire the others.

If you're going to foster kittens, you should buy a large dog cage which you'll put on a card table. Felines love cages. This allows you to comfortably do feedings and get their litter box readily available. If a kitty leaves a poop outside the box, put it in the box. Pee outside the box can be absorbed on a bit of paper towel and put in the box. To keep the box as the sole source of potty smells, spray soiled areas with an enzyme (I use Fizzion tablets...don't clean with soap first). If you need to "seed" your litter box, you can stimulate their crotches with a warm soaked paper towel and they'll give you some pees and poops! I wrap the cage with a sheet to keep a/c off them, keep the litter inside, and keep my adult cats from passing along any germs they're harboring.

Your kitties are old enough to deworm. I buy 50% pyrantel for that. If they're overrun with fleas, they're old enough for the Capstar pill. They can't have a flea shampoo, but you can lightly spray a cat flea spray on them and rub it in. Get it into every nook and cranny... fleas will crawl into eyes, ears, butt holes for shelter!

What you're taking on is flat crucial to homeless cat population control!!! All the best to you all!

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Response to spinbaby (Original post)

Tue May 31, 2022, 01:23 PM

15. An update

I have the kittens eating a slurry of kitten Fancy Feast and kitten meal replacer, and at least one has been into the kitten chow. In just two days they’ve gone from hissing and spitting to begging for attention, so good progress on that front. I’m still waiting for the fourth kitten the hoarders say they have, but it’s disappeared in the hoard somewhere—likely hidden away by its mother.

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Response to spinbaby (Reply #15)

Tue May 31, 2022, 10:10 PM

16. Sounds like things are going well.

I look forward to hearing more, and seeing some pictures.

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