How to rescue a kitten(?)

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by LittleChocobo, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. LittleChocobo

    LittleChocobo Chirping

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    The friend of a friend found a starving (literally almost to death) kitten the other day, but her family is allergic so she couldn't keep it. My friend (whose family is also allergic) brought it up the four-hour drive on her way home, and I took in a kitten so emaciated that even with the bizarre, shoddy trim job to her fur, you can see and count her vertebrae.
    We've been giving her water and wet food, and more recently, 2% milk (it was what we had in the house) and a more kitten-friendly milk I bought at the store. She's perfectly litter trained, extremely friendly to people (less so to the other cats and dogs already living here -- she growls at them), and seemed to already associate the bathroom sink with water even before I had turned the faucet on. She's a longhair calico, probably with some Siamese in there too, but the fur along her ribs and spine looks like it was trimmed with scissors, which I'm hoping was just because it's been really hot out and someone didn't want her to die in the heat. Also, one of her canines is broken about halfway down, and looks like it was since filed (it's a straight, clean, even break). She won't/can't eat dry food, and I've been careful not to let her overeat and gorge herself.
    She's been having diarrhea lately, which I'm hoping is just because of the milk we were previously giving her (I didn't realize it would be hard on her stomach or I'd've given her something else). We're guessing her age around 4 or 5 months. She's so emaciated that I can feel the horizontal parts of her vertebrae as well as the horizontal. Also, she won't/doesn't know how to groom herself. I don't think she has fleas or ticks, but worms aren't impossible (she was found on their porch, so she could've picked something up from the street). Also, the cat I grew up with loved water, but she seems terrified of even being on the bathroom counter. Is there some way I can teach her that water's not going to kill her? I looked it up online but couldn't seem to find anything that I hadn't already thought of.

    I get paid on the 15th and we're taking her to a vet then, but until then -- does anybody know what kinds of food I can give her to bring her weight up? My roommate went out and got 20 cans of Disney brand wet food, of all things, because it was 10/$4 and labeled for cats and kittens. I don't want to neglect something that I hadn't thought of because I've never nursed emaciated kittens before, just horses. Is there anything I'm missing?

    Oh, and I named her November. [​IMG]
     
  2. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

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    We just got a starved, almost dead kitten, but much younger. In his case the loose stool was due to coccidia, but your cat's might be due to the milk. No milk, but the wet food is probably good; its what our vet told us to feed our kitten. I gave the food in small amounts, about a heaping tablespoon full every hour or when he finished. You should keep her isolated from your other cats, as she may have something contagious (upper respiratory, Feleuk, etc). If she is eating wet food, she will get most of her water from the food. After two and a half weeks our kitten is completely recovered, active, healthy and you can't feel his bones anymore. I hope yours is the same...

    Good luck, and kudos for taking in the kitty.
     
  3. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    At the feed store, there is a product called milk replacement for kittens. Also stay away from table food, completely. Personally I would mix wet and dry food together and feed the kitten several times a day until it doesn't want anymore. Cow milk is not good for kittens, so stay away from that altogether. Check for fleas and ticks, but wait to talk to a vet for treatment. You can stun fleas with a Qtip dipped in alcohol to remove them. Refrain from any other flea treatment until the kitten is seen by a vet. Also, if you get an scratches or bites from the kitten, treat them immediately with soap, water and antibiotic ointment until you know the kitten is disease free.
     
  4. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

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    My kitten was also covered in fleas. The folks who found him gave him a bath, without flea shampoo. They said the water was red from all the flea dirt on him. The vet said they did a great job and that they got them all. For your kitty, a bath might help you finger tease some of the knots out as well. Make sure the water is warm, but not hot. Dry the kitty well and put her on a heating pad. My kitty needed a heating pad for several days because he was so thin and dehydrated that he was having trouble keeping warm. You might need to do this for your kitty.
     
  5. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    mom'sfolly :

    My kitten was also covered in fleas. The folks who found him gave him a bath, without flea shampoo. They said the water was red from all the flea dirt on him. The vet said they did a great job and that they got them all. For your kitty, a bath might help you finger tease some of the knots out as well. Make sure the water is warm, but not hot. Dry the kitty well and put her on a heating pad. My kitty needed a heating pad for several days because he was so thin and dehydrated that he was having trouble keeping warm. You might need to do this for your kitty.

    The red is from the fleas overflowing and it is blood. Water stuns them too, but alcohol helps clean up any filth that is near them.​
     
  6. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

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    Flea dirt=flea feces. And yes it is blood...

    They got the fleas off, and that's what helped in this case. I guess it doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you aren't using nasty chemicals on a fragile baby. Alcohol might sterilize any nastiness as well. I'm just glad my baby wasn't anywhere that the fireants could have gotten him. They would have killed him.

    I'm trying to remember those first few days. I think the feeding as much as he could eat, and keeping him warm were critical for the first few days. After that, for my kitty, it was getting the diarhhrea under control.

    They bounce back quickly if there is no underlying illness.
     
  7. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

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    after u get done with your can, pouches cat food this food will make give the kitten diarrhea . pick up some dry kitten food moist it with tap water, put a little bit of cat litter in pan n change it daily. until the soft bowelment go away. Trim her nails. than take a damp warm wash cloth and wipe down her body 2x aday each time get it wetter and move her toward the sink. then she will get use to the water and maybe leave the water on. then you could pour water on her back with out freak her out but it might take 2 or 4weeks to do this.
    laura
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  8. mommyofthree

    mommyofthree Songster

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    Good for you for taking care of the sick kitty. [​IMG] I found a stray that was really sick and didn't eat or drink at all for 4 days, she got so skinny I didn't think she'd make it but she is recovering and slowly gaining weight. If your kitten has worms (which almost all kittens do) that will most likely keep her from gaining weight so you should treat her for worms ASAP. Is there any way you can simply get a deworming medication from the vet without taking her in? If so I would try that, otherwise see if you can get something from a pet store. And keep giving her wet food. If she's on wet food she won't drink a lot of water b/c the food has a lot of water in it. Good luck, I hope she gets better!!
     
  9. LittleChocobo

    LittleChocobo Chirping

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    First off, thank you so much for your help, everyone! I've never been the primary care for a near-death animal before and was terrified I'd mess it up and kill her. Let's see if I can address the topics you brought up..

    Fleas: surprisingly, she seems clear of them. I've combed through her fur and we've been sharing a (very small storage) room, so I think I'd've found them by now. Our dogs brought in fleas from god-knows-where last month and we had to fleabomb the entire house. I've gotten to recognize pretty well the light ping on my skin of a landing flea... haha/ew? She's scared of the sink though, which combined with her teeth makes me wonder.

    Ticks: Also, surprisingly clear. I haven't felt any and I've checked her pretty carefully.

    Worms: Possible. I'm not sure she can handle a dewormer right now though. You should see her, she's so bad I can see her shoulder tendons even though she's a longhair. She has the energy for a hop off my bed onto the floor for the litterbox and a hop back up to get to the food/water about once every half hour. Then she flops down and rests for a while.

    Scratches: she actually hasn't used her claws on me, in a oh-god-oh-god-what's-happening-ACK way or even in a yes-keep-petting kneading way. At first I thought she'd been declawed, and that was going down our super-potholed driveway with her in my arms!

    Dry food: I'm thinking that she just can't eat it, either because her jaw's not strong enough or because some of her teeth are flat/filed/broken. She only has one front canine -- she started getting uncomfortable with me poking around with her mouth, so I stopped when she pulled away. She ate some dry food soaked in tap water (it comes from our well, so there aren't any gross chemicals in it) the first day, and hasn't since shown any interest in it at all. Actually, with the dry food, she licked all the gravy off immediately and seemed to struggle with the chunks.

    Water: I hadn't thought of the wet washcloth thing, that's a great idea! I'll try it out tomorrow. I think she's down for the night and don't want to wake her up to mess around with water.

    Milk replacement: Didn't realize that existed until I saw it at the store today. She loves it! I'm hoping it'll help as much. I feel silly for giving her cow's milk -- hello, self, of course cats aren't meant to nurse from cows... (which is also what my lactose-intolerant friends say about themselves)

    Heat: it's pretty warm during the day. At night I turn on the red brooder light I got for my chicks, lol. She curls up near it or further or wherever she feels like sleeping. She often falls asleep by the door, then moves to the sofa if I turn on a light (mild insomnia), which I find odd.

    Grooming: OH MAN YOU GUYS! I felt an odd vibration and looked over and she's grooming herself! It's kind of rough, but she's licking her paw and kind of...scraping it down her right ear and face, haha. It's so cute. It's like a little kid being told to wash their hands before dinner, and they kind of just flail them around under the faucet. Good job, November. [​IMG]
    (small victories?)

    mom'sfolly: Thanks for your advice. It's good to know that she should be better in two weeks. Even though she's only been here since Friday night, I feel like I'm not doing enough because she's still so so thin. Thank goodness we don't have fire ants!
     
  10. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

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    I would feed Friskies canned food. it is a little more, but I have never had much trouble with nutritionally with this brand, I also rarely feed canned cat food to my cats. They are mostly given dry food. Right now I am feeding Diamond Brand cat food for active cats. It has 40% protein in it. I get it at Del's feed store. From what I can tell the canned food doesn't have enough protein in it. i think it said about 8% protein. I would soak the kibble in the milk, and not give the kitten an option. My cats still try and con me out of a can or two of food, but the cost is enough with 5 cats that it doesn't happen often. Wellness Brand is the best cat food I have ever food. It's spendy but with one cat it shouldn't be that bad.

    Right now it sounds like all you can do is feed the kitten and provide a safe warm environment. Best wishes.
     

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