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Advice needed for my foster cat and kittens

jillybeanrocks
April 8th, 2011, 12:19 PM
I'm currently fostering a Momma cat, I've named her Chloe, and her 8 kittens. We think the kittens were born on or around April 1st just going by their weight and progression. Chloe was picked up by one of the bylaw officers and taken to the pound, and I was able to take her from there a day and a half later. She has a wonderful personality, and a very good and protective mom but is still extremely stressed by her experience (understandably!).

First issue:
We have been having troubles getting Chloe to eat, we leave out dry all the time (Acana, grain free) and we try to give her wet food many times throughout the day to no avail, we leave it out when we leave and she doesn't touch it. We've tried EVO cat and kitten (she ate a couple bites of this and then just left the rest), Wellness Chicken (absolutely not interested) and the Almo Nature Salmon and Chicken (she ate a couple of bites and left the rest). I'm worried because the vet said she'd be able to care for such a large litter as long as she was well fed. I'm really trying to keep her fed, even taking some on my finger and putting it up to her mouth, but she is just not interested. Do you think this will pass because she was so stressed? I will mention that she is drinking and using the litter box on a regular basis, but only one poo since she got here on Wednesday. I will be going to Global today to see what other canned foods I can find, what would you suggest to get her to eat? Will her kittens be ok in the meantime?

Second issue:
I've been weighing the kittens twice a day since I got them and 7 of the 8 kittens range from 5.5 to 6.5 ounces and they are gaining and look good. The one kitten, I've named him Sprout, is slower to gain. The first day he weighed 4.2 ounces (Wednesday evening), 4.2 ounces Thursday morning, 4.6 ounces Thursday evening and 4.6 ounces this morning. Is this enough for him to be gaining? or should I start supplementing with Mammalac? How much should they gain per day at one week old?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just concerned that everyone be happy and healthy.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

Also, if this is not the correct area to post this, please move it.

Jill

jillybeanrocks
April 8th, 2011, 12:32 PM
I know you all like pictures, here is a picture I took of the family last night.

kathryn
April 8th, 2011, 12:43 PM
Hi there! I'm pretty experienced with the trial and errors of fostering kittens.

For one, has mom been tested for FeLV & FIV? And has she had any medical care like shots or deworming? If you aren't able to get her to eat, you are going to have to bottle feed all the kittens yourself because she will quickly stop making milk. If you are able too, get some junky store brand food like Kitten Chow or something for now and put it on top the good foods you are trying to use. Sometimes when cats come from a situation where they only ate cheapo brands of cat food like the stuff people leave out for stray cats, they don't always know what to do with the fancy good stuff you try to give them. My one foster kitten was like that, she was found by a dumpster and was eating mostly trash and whatever cheap cat food this lady put out for her and her littermate. She wouldn't eat any of the good foods I gave her at first so I brought home some Kitten Chow from a friend at the shelter and mixed it in and after a while she acclimated to the good food.


For your second issue, with a litter THAT big, which I have NEVER heard of anything over 7 kittens, it's not surprising to hear about a runt. I would especially start bottle feeding him separately immediately, before he even has a chance to go downhill. Please watch out for the signs of "Failure to Thrive" aka Fading Kitten Syndrome. There is nothing you can really do to prevent it, but starting right away you should start trying to bulk him up and get him going. I lost a kitten to FKS, he was fine at first but always smaller and then he just went downhill in under a week and collapsed and died one night.

Get some Kitten Nutrical for the little guy too, and using a 1cc syringe I'd give him .1 or .2 twice a day to help add some additional calories. Ask the shelter what brand of milk replacer they use, most places use KMR by PetAg but there are other brands too that I can't think of offhand. I would give the mom the Nutrical too for now until she starts eating more.

How do you feel about needles? Is there anyway you can ask the shelter for a bag of Lactated ringers and some needles & syringes to give fluids to mom and perhaps the little guy if need be?

Let me know if I can be of more help.... as of right now I would mainly be concerned about mom's medical records and making sure she is already treated and tested for stuff because that way you know what you are up against.

kathryn
April 8th, 2011, 12:44 PM
OMG, holy cuteness! How the heck do you tell them apart? :laughing: My biggest foster litter was 6, two black girls, two tan tabby boys and two orange tabby boys. I could barely tell them apart until they were a few weeks old :laughing: Other than my little Timothy (see my icon) who was "extra special" from day one.

Love4himies
April 8th, 2011, 01:13 PM
Try raw also. If she has been living on prey, then she may not want the kibble.
My Rose would and still to this day will not eat kibble, I now have her eating have raw, half canned, but she still prefers raw to anything commercial. I would not be giving any kibble due to the amount of fluids she should be getting to produce enough milk. The other quality canned that my cats prefer to Wellness, is Nature's Variety Instinct. They have a Venison flavour which is the favourite of all my cats and their second is Lamb.

As for the runt, absolutely no surprise due to the number of kittens, once again I recommend raw or an extremely high canned cat with some water added, so that she will produce enough milk to feed all those kittens. You can even add the KMR or Mammalac to her food for extra supplement and moisture. Never supplement unless you absolutely have to because the kitten's digestive system is not fully developed and it is made to digest momma's milk, not chemicals ;).


Is the runt crying for a nipple or is it latching on?

A kitten should gain on average 10 grams a day (don't know what that is in oz), but with Sweet Pea's kittens (7), one would gain about 15 a day, and the runt only about 5 until I started them on canned food mixed with mamalac at 3.5 weeks. A little early, but it was getting too much for Sweet Pea to nurse all of them.

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

jillybeanrocks
April 8th, 2011, 01:29 PM
For one, has mom been tested for FeLV & FIV? And has she had any medical care like shots or deworming?

Yes, she has been tested for FeLV/FIV and came back negative. The vets did not recommend any shots or deworming until the kittens were older. We suspect Chloe belonged the woman who called the bylaw, at least the officer thought that she was lying just to get rid of her and the kittens. She is a happy and healthy cat with no signs of a "hard life". The vet said that the mom and the kittens all looked very healthy when they saw them on Wednesday.

Get some Kitten Nutrical for the little guy too, and using a 1cc syringe I'd give him .1 or .2 twice a day to help add some additional calories. Ask the shelter what brand of milk replacer they use, most places use KMR by PetAg but there are other brands too that I can't think of offhand.

Is the Mammalac not a good option? That's what the vet's office suggested in case one or more of the kittens started to go downhill. Also, how many times a day should I be feeding Sprout separately? She settles down to feed everyone as soon as we walk in her room, we see her feeding them quite a bit. Should I be taking him away from her while he's trying to get milk from her?

How do you feel about needles? Is there anyway you can ask the shelter for a bag of Lactated ringers and some needles & syringes to give fluids to mom and perhaps the little guy if need be?

I'm fine with giving needles, if I get the Lactated ringers do I inject it just as I would a vaccine?

About telling them apart, I've only had them for 2 days but I can already see subtle differences in the kittens. Sprout is obviously the smallest so he is easy, some of the tabbies have brown noses and some have white eyeliner without the brown nose, and, of course, some are male and some are female lol. It will take me a while to get used to everyone and to pick out names for all of them without getting confused.

Thanks for your reply!

Jill

jillybeanrocks
April 8th, 2011, 01:40 PM
Try raw also. If she has been living on prey, then she may not want the kibble.

What would you suggest for raw? Ground up chicken breast or something else? We have some beef heart and liver that I could add as well?


Is the runt crying for a nipple or is it latching on?

None of the kittens are having any issues with latching on, they sometimes take a while to find "their" nipple and they tend to fight each other off to get at it, but once everyone settles in they all happily drink. I work during the day, but when I'm at home I have been in there every hour and she feeds them (that we've noticed) about every hour to hour and a half.


A kitten should gain on average 10 grams a day (don't know what that is in oz),

I did the conversion, 10 grams is equivalent to 0.35 ounces so that's about right with what Sprout gained from Wednesday to Thursday. *fingers crossed* that he will do just fine.

Thank you for your reply!!

Jill

kathryn
April 8th, 2011, 01:46 PM
Yes, she has been tested for FeLV/FIV and came back negative. The vets did not recommend any shots or deworming until the kittens were older. We suspect Chloe belonged the woman who called the bylaw, at least the officer thought that she was lying just to get rid of her and the kittens. She is a happy and healthy cat with no signs of a "hard life". The vet said that the mom and the kittens all looked very healthy when they saw them on Wednesday.



Is the Mammalac not a good option? That's what the vet's office suggested in case one or more of the kittens started to go downhill. Also, how many times a day should I be feeding Sprout separately? She settles down to feed everyone as soon as we walk in her room, we see her feeding them quite a bit. Should I be taking him away from her while he's trying to get milk from her?



I'm fine with giving needles, if I get the Lactated ringers do I inject it just as I would a vaccine?

About telling them apart, I've only had them for 2 days but I can already see subtle differences in the kittens. Sprout is obviously the smallest so he is easy, some of the tabbies have brown noses and some have white eyeliner without the brown nose, and, of course, some are male and some are female lol. It will take me a while to get used to everyone and to pick out names for all of them without getting confused.

Thanks for your reply!

Jill


Try the raw as suggested, might work too. Trial and error is part of this field lol


http://www.drugs.com/vet/feline-mammalac-can.html

I'm from the US, we don't have that here but if that's what was suggested I'd follow what they say.

You should feed sprout probably a good 4 times a day separately, as much as he wants to eat. If a few days from now he is still not growing, I would take him completely away from mom and keep him on his own and monitor EXACTLY how much milk he will take in a day, and up the feedings to every 4 hours or so. Most babies will sleep through the night, I know it's suggested to get up in the middle of the night, but I only will get up to bottle feed if the kitten wakes up on it's own and starts crying, otherwise I let them sleep through the night and get them up first thing in the morning for a feeding. I find that waking them up to shove a bottle in their mouth ticks them off more than anything :o

For fluids, you give them in the back of the neck between the two shoulder blades. You just inject until they have a firm bubble on their back that makes them look like a hunchback. If you are able to get everyone to start eating on their own you might not have to do it, but I often keep fluids on hand at my house just for whenever I may need them. You can usually tell if they are dehydrated if You pinch their skin and pull it and if it doesn't snap back immediately then they may need fluids.

Also, do you know about stimulating them to potty? You can use hypoallergenic baby wipes to rub their bottoms or wet a paper towel with warm water.

Also, check their gums on a regular basis to make sure they are a healthy pink. If they are too white or blue, that's not good.

http://www.alleycat.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=678

Love4himies
April 8th, 2011, 02:15 PM
I would start with a raw piece of chicken before I buy anything for her, if she gobbles it up, she may be a raw kind a kitty. A cat has a very specific nutritional need, so unless you are making an appropriate raw diet with bone/organs/muscle meat, I recommend you purchase one (if she will eat it). Global should sell NV Raw medallions.

Love4himies
April 8th, 2011, 02:18 PM
I did the conversion, 10 grams is equivalent to 0.35 ounces so that's about right with what Sprout gained from Wednesday to Thursday. *fingers crossed* that he will do just fine.

Thank you for your reply!!

Jill

With my foster kittens, there was a huge difference in the daily weight gain. If the kitten was crying and not getting a nipple, I would be worried, or if the kitten wasn't trying to suckle at all, then it would be an immediate vet visit. As Katheryn stated, they go downhill very, very fast.

Dog Dancer
April 8th, 2011, 04:04 PM
Sorry I'm not a kitty person these days, but if you are just trying to stimulate her appetite to get her eating cat food have you tried canned tuna or salmon? Maybe she just needs something to get her back in the food frame of mind. Bless you for helping them, they are all gorgeous.

chico2
April 8th, 2011, 04:47 PM
Jillybean,what a beautiful Tabby-momma,love the little eartufts and thank you for fostering them:grouphug:
I don't know anything about new-born kittens,but I am hoping they will all thrive:pray:
I am sure we would all love it if you would keep us updated on how the kittens and mom are doing,more pics would be great:cat:

:pray:Mom will eat!!

jillybeanrocks
April 8th, 2011, 05:28 PM
Well, I went to Global at lunch and bought a crap-load of different canned foods, and, since they know me so well, they gave me a bunch of free samples to help us along. If anyone lives in the area, I completely recommend Global Pet Foods in Leduc!

I also bought a pack of pre-made frozen raw cat food (Mountain Dog Food, Turkey kind) so I will try that tonight as soon as I get home or tomorrow morning if I can get her to eat a can of something tonight.

I will keep you all informed as the weekend rolls on with how they are all doing.

Thanks again for all of your help!

Jill

kathryn
April 8th, 2011, 06:29 PM
Good luck! Feel free to bug me if you have any problems :p when I first got my last foster kitten (Amira, the hairless cat), she had been practically starved and was sooo soo sick I was force feeding her for a while anyways, but when I finally got her to start eating on her own she HATED all the yummy holistic canned foods I kept trying to give her.. I had to use some 9 Lives pate mush to get her started and after a few days of topping off the good stuff with 9 Lives she started eating it and has been on all the good stuff since :thumbs up The same thing happened with my kitten before her, Artemis, the dumpster kitten. Had to use Friskies to bait her into the good food. I guess it's kind of like putting McDonalds french fries on health food for a kid to trick them :o It works though.

jillybeanrocks
April 11th, 2011, 10:47 AM
Well good news, we found a food that Chloe will eat. My rescue provides Purina Veterinary Pediatric Diet as their food of choice, I have always just used the food that I feed my cats for my fosters as well, it's out of pocket, but worth it in my opinion. Anyway, she started eating the dry so I figured I'd try the canned as well. We put 1/3 of the can in a dish and added quite a bit of warm water to make it soupy. We discovered that she likes foods with a "gravy" so I figured watering the wet food down would make her want it more. Well, it worked, she ate it all up and then went to feed the kittens right after.

Sprout's weight is up to 5.2 ounces! He's doing well. There is one female who is the largest at just over 7 ounces, but the rest are around 6 ounces. All of their eyes are starting to open up now and they are moving around a bit more. One male, he likes to explore, I always find him wandering off and then crying like crazy to find mom again. His panicked cry always gets us running to the room to make sure everyone is ok lol.

I just wanted to update you all on how the family is doing. I will take some more pictures this week and post them here for you to see!

Jill

Love4himies
April 11th, 2011, 11:03 AM
Yay! I am so glad.

reanne
April 12th, 2011, 01:08 AM
Happy to hear they all sound like they're doing well! Good on you! :) They're a beautiful family! Can't believe how many kittens she had!!