Kitten Experts please help !!(14 Posts)
The situation is that a friend has a litter of kittens and a young mum cat ( stray). There are 4 kittens, one has been poorly and has been in the vets for three days being fed by a syringe.
The dilemma is that kitten ( which is 3.5 weeks but much smaller than the average kitten of that age) is ready to come out of the vets but will need feeding 3 hourly via syringe.
My question is . Is it best to reintroduce this kitten to the litter with mum and siblngs whilst feeding it by syringe?
Would it be better to hand rear this kitten at my home with no contact with its mum and siblings?
I will be going to frinds house to check on mum and kittens regulalry but can't be there all the time. Friend has to go back to work full time long days tomorrow. Please dont critisize this, she took in the cat as a stray and it was pregnant. We are doing our best between us.
If I were to mainly have the kitten at my home and take it for short periods to the others, would this distress the mum cat to bring it away again.
The other option is for kitten to stay at the vets until it no longer requires such frequent feeding, but this is costly and I am also worried about lack of socialisation / handling.
Please advise on how I can ensure the best outcome for this kitten. Sorry about long post and thanks in advance.
I don't understand why it will need syringe feeding if it can go back to it's mum. Even if it's slightly smaller than it's siblings it should still be able to get it's share of the milk.
If it's felt it needs a bit extra milk by syringe then surely it would be best to keep it with it's mum and just give it extra feeds to supplement the milk from mum. I can't see why this would be necessary though, and surely every three hours would be far too much.
Does the vet who recommended this understand that it has a mum and siblings which are all feeding fine?
If it's much smaller than the others, and has also been poorly though, can people be so sure that it's been feeding fine? It's possible that it wasn't doing so well at the milk bar in the past - or even, if it was failing a bit, that Mom wasn't being so careful with it? Cats can be quite ruthless in rejecting kittens that instinct tells them aren't doing so well.
I'd agree, though, with trying to put the kit back with maybe some supplementation and see if Mom will accept the situation. It's dashed hard work hand rearing and a mother cat is the best place for all the non food things as well.
That's true Cozie, but even if that is the case then surely just supplementing mum's milk would be the best route.
I agree. If Mom will accept the situation, that would be my preference.
Thanks for you replies. Cozie - the mum cat is very young and quite small.The kitten is a lot smaller than the other kittens. I will speak to the vets tomorrow and see what they recommend. The vet has today recommended 3 hourly feeding.
I wouldn't wait too long before making the decision to hand rear though. Kits can go downhill fast if they have a problem.
PS - do either you or your friend have the sort of job where you could have the kitten with you eg in a warm box with a covered hottie or a sling or something? Work environments can be surprisingly tolerant of such a thing, particularly where they know it's short term and due to 'circumstances'.
You might not of course.
Thanks Cozie. I don't have to work much ( except for a few night shifts) for the next few weeks. My friend works full time long days. I have the time and the commitment to hand rear the kitten as well as popping over to the mum and siblings a couple of times a day ( they are about a 15 min drive away), but it just doesn't sit right with me to not try to put this kitten back with the rest if it will work. The mum cat was distressed when the kitten was first taken away to the vets last friday and has been a problem over the weekend trying to take one of the other kittens away ( the next smallest kitten was found in the garden twice over the weekend). Mum cat is now having to be shut in the room to prevent this happening again. The owner feels the mum cat is struggling a bit as she is so young and would prefer me to take on the kitten or for it to stay at the vets until it requiresless frequent feeding.
Normally you would keep it with the mother & supplement it with extra feeds . It's a full time job though . Also daily weights to make sure it's gaining . The kitten will do much better in the long run if it remains with mum & siblings . Are the other kittens gaining ? How is she helping the mum if she's struggling ? Is she friendly ? All kittens need daily weighing , just incase one of the others needs supplementing too.
The next smallest kitten was found in the garden twice? Where is Mum bedded down?
Yes the mum took the kitten and put it in the garden. She is bedded down in the front room of the terraced house. All the other kittens seem to be feeding well. We only managed to weigh the smallest one and she had put on 15g since being weighed at the vets the day before. I will try to weigh all 3 tomorrow. Mum is fairly friendly generally,although a bit nervous. there is laos a cantankerous 18 year old female cat in the house in the other room.
Which could be making her nervous.
I'm afraid that, while it's not impossible that she was obsessed with relocating her litter, it sounds to me as if she was 'kitten-dumping'. I'd be prepared to rear two kittens by hand, if I were you. (I'd rather not - kittens being generally much better off with their mother - but if a mother takes against a kitten or two, there's likely little you can do to change her mind.)
Have you spoken to your local CPL/rescue? They might have/know of experienced fosters who would be in a position to take on a young kitten or two at short notice. It's possible anyway - a call tomorrow morning would do no harm.
Try not to get too attached to the smallest kitten by the way. (And keep your friend grounded also.) It's not out of the woods yet.
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