Mother cat abandoned four kittens in our attic... does anyone here have any advice?

Feb 14, 2021
757
2,830
261
Arkansas
A cat from a feral cat population down the road decided to move her kittens into our attic. Not the first time it's happened, this cat usually brings them back to the neighbors who feed the population. I noticed they started screaming insistently on Monday. We had a storm that day, so I thought the mother would come back yesterday after it was over. But she didn't. I took the kittens down and brought them to the neighbors, thinking the mother might come and nurse them. Found the mother cat, but she wanted nothing to do with them. 😬 And they were so hungry.

It looks like they are between three and four weeks old. They have a few teeth, but they don't seem to be ready to be weaned just yet. First thing, we are going to go get kitten milk today. All we had on hand was cow milk, so we mixed that with a little bit of water last night and tried to get them to drink some because they were dehydrated and needed something. I also know they are infested with fleas, so we are giving a Dawn flea bath today too. I've been looking at Kitten Lady's videos on YouTube, which are really helpful, but there is so much to take in.

After feeding them kitten milk and giving them a Dawn flea bath, what else do I need to consider? Any advice?
 

Artichoke Lover

Free Ranging
Jul 27, 2020
2,161
10,392
656
Southeast US
A cat from a feral cat population down the road decided to move her kittens into our attic. Not the first time it's happened, this cat usually brings them back to the neighbors who feed the population. I noticed they started screaming insistently on Monday. We had a storm that day, so I thought the mother would come back yesterday after it was over. But she didn't. I took the kittens down and brought them to the neighbors, thinking the mother might come and nurse them. Found the mother cat, but she wanted nothing to do with them. 😬 And they were so hungry.

It looks like they are between three and four weeks old. They have a few teeth, but they don't seem to be ready to be weaned just yet. First thing, we are going to go get kitten milk today. All we had on hand was cow milk, so we mixed that with a little bit of water last night and tried to get them to drink some because they were dehydrated and needed something. I also know they are infested with fleas, so we are giving a Dawn flea bath today too. I've been looking at Kitten Lady's videos on YouTube, which are really helpful, but there is so much to take in.

After feeding them kitten milk and giving them a Dawn flea bath, what else do I need to consider? Any advice?
You’ll need to be very very careful not to let them get chilled or inhale any water while bathing them. Also since I don’t know exactly how much experience you have with bottle babies so I’m going to er on the side of to much info here. Make sure they are belly down while feeding so they don’t inhale formula. They are also too young to drink out of a plate or bowl so they will need to be bottle fed for at least another week. Depending on just how young they are you may need to assist them with using the bathroom. And they likely still need some heat from hot hands, hot water bottle, rice sock. If they are dehydrated you can use a bottle or syringe to give them plain pedialyte or use it to mix their formula with. If you have a food scale you can use it to weigh them and insure they are gaining weight properly.
If I think of anything else I’ll add it. I’m also willing to help with any questions I’ve raised or helped raise 10 litters of bottle babies so I have a bit of experience.
Also if it’s possible to get them to a vet to get them checked out that would be for the best.
 

LEMAYTXCKNCOUNSELOR

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Oct 23, 2021
215
1,058
156
You’ll need to be very very careful not to let them get chilled or inhale any water while bathing them. Also since I don’t know exactly how much experience you have with bottle babies so I’m going to er on the side of to much info here. Make sure they are belly down while feeding so they don’t inhale formula. They are also too young to drink out of a plate or bowl so they will need to be bottle fed for at least another week. Depending on just how young they are you may need to assist them with using the bathroom. And they likely still need some heat from hot hands, hot water bottle, rice sock. If they are dehydrated you can use a bottle or syringe to give them plain pedialyte or use it to mix their formula with. If you have a food scale you can use it to weigh them and insure they are gaining weight properly.
If I think of anything else I’ll add it. I’m also willing to help with any questions I’ve raised or helped raise 10 litters of bottle babies so I have a bit of experience.
Also if it’s possible to get them to a vet to get them checked out that would be for the best.
If you have rubber gloves you can fill them with water, tie them closed and put them in the microwave. Wrap them in a towel and they will help with warmth. Years ago I worked for a vet and took cocker spaniel puppies home for the weekend. And I'm so glad they found you ❤️
 

Artichoke Lover

Free Ranging
Jul 27, 2020
2,161
10,392
656
Southeast US
If you have rubber gloves you can fill them with water, tie them closed and put them in the microwave. Wrap them in a towel and they will help with warmth. Years ago I worked for a vet and took cocker spaniel puppies home for the weekend. And I'm so glad they found you ❤️
I’d be afraid of kitten claws piercing through the towel and popping the glove.
 

Ginmary

Songster
Apr 17, 2018
748
2,007
247
Jackson, NJ
Yes, definitely keep them warm! After feeding (every 1 1/2 to 2 hrs when so young) get a damp, warm cotton ball and rub their bellies from the center down to their butt to get them to poop. The mother normally licks them to do this. If not, they can get impacted.

If you don't plan on keeping them, contact a cat rescue group who may take them in to foster until they can offer them for adoption.

The dawn is good. FYI...they are way, way to young to consider any of the flea/tick stuff like Frontline which can cause seizures/death in kittens too young.
 
Feb 14, 2021
757
2,830
261
Arkansas
You’ll need to be very very careful not to let them get chilled or inhale any water while bathing them.
I'll be careful. :)

Also since I don’t know exactly how much experience you have with bottle babies so I’m going to er on the side of to much info here.
In 2010, I had one kitten we bottle-fed. I had no idea what I was doing, but she survived. These kittens are different; they won't take the bottle. I have no idea what's wrong.

Make sure they are belly down while feeding so they don’t inhale formula.
Thank you - I did this but they won't take it. I have to hold them up and try to force it in their mouths. It's taking my mom and I both to do it. One to try to control the squirming and one to try to force the nipple in the mouth. I don't remember this being a problem when we had the one kitten in 2010.

They are also too young to drink out of a plate or bowl so they will need to be bottle fed for at least another week.
I thought so too, but three of them did suck a little out of a bowl. (They wouldn't take the nipple, I was desperate.) The fourth kitten won't drink anything, I put a few drops in her mouth with my finger and she still won't drink it.

Depending on just how young they are you may need to assist them with using the bathroom.
😳

And they likely still need some heat from hot hands, hot water bottle, rice sock.
I have two rice socks.

If they are dehydrated you can use a bottle or syringe to give them plain pedialyte or use it to mix their formula with.
How do you use a syringe and not choke them??

If you have a food scale you can use it to weigh them and insure they are gaining weight properly.
I have one. :)

If I think of anything else I’ll add it. I’m also willing to help with any questions I’ve raised or helped raise 10 litters of bottle babies so I have a bit of experience.
THANK YOU. :)

Also if it’s possible to get them to a vet to get them checked out that would be for the best.
We were going to wait because we thought they just need milk... but I'm thinking now something is wrong. Did the mother abandon because something is wrong with the litter?

If you have rubber gloves you can fill them with water, tie them closed and put them in the microwave. Wrap them in a towel and they will help with warmth. Years ago I worked for a vet and took cocker spaniel puppies home for the weekend. And I'm so glad they found you ❤️
I have a rice sock I've been microwaving, and it's been working pretty well so far. :)

Aww, glad you could help the puppies. <3

Maybe a heating pad on low?
I have a pet heating pad I plan to give them as soon as the fleas and flea eggs / larvae are removed. :)

Yes, definitely keep them warm! After feeding (every 1 1/2 to 2 hrs when so young) get a damp, warm cotton ball and rub their bellies from the center down to their butt to get them to poop.
😳 I'll do this next. I gave them a little wet cat food yesterday. They might need to poop.

The mother normally licks them to do this. If not, they can get impacted.
Eww. Goodness, I wonder if that's why they won't eat???

If you don't plan on keeping them, contact a cat rescue group who may take them in to foster until they can offer them for adoption.
We've tried before, no one out here cares. I think it's me or no one. I'll foster them.

The dawn is good. FYI...they are way, way to young to consider any of the flea/tick stuff like Frontline which can cause seizures/death in kittens too young.
Oh definitely! I don't want to kill them.
 

Artichoke Lover

Free Ranging
Jul 27, 2020
2,161
10,392
656
Southeast US
I'll be careful. :)


In 2010, I had one kitten we bottle-fed. I had no idea what I was doing, but she survived. These kittens are different; they won't take the bottle. I have no idea what's wrong.


Thank you - I did this but they won't take it. I have to hold them up and try to force it in their mouths. It's taking my mom and I both to do it. One to try to control the squirming and one to try to force the nipple in the mouth. I don't remember this being a problem when we had the one kitten in 2010.


I thought so too, but three of them did suck a little out of a bowl. (They wouldn't take the nipple, I was desperate.) The fourth kitten won't drink anything, I put a few drops in her mouth with my finger and she still won't drink it.


😳


I have two rice socks.


How do you use a syringe and not choke them??


I have one. :)


THANK YOU. :)


We were going to wait because we thought they just need milk... but I'm thinking now something is wrong. Did the mother abandon because something is wrong with the litter?


I have a rice sock I've been microwaving, and it's been working pretty well so far. :)

Aww, glad you could help the puppies. <3


I have a pet heating pad I plan to give them as soon as the fleas and flea eggs / larvae are removed. :)


😳 I'll do this next. I gave them a little wet cat food yesterday. They might need to poop.


Eww. Goodness, I wonder if that's why they won't eat???


We've tried before, no one out here cares. I think it's me or no one. I'll foster them.


Oh definitely! I don't want to kill them.
If they won’t eat then they may be to weak and dehydrated. They could also by impacted because they haven’t had help to poop. I would go ahead and take them straight to the vet if they aren’t eating and or pooping. They could just be picky about the formula and new nipple but either way it’s better to be safe than since they are so delicate at this age. How long do you think they have been without food at this point.
 
Feb 14, 2021
757
2,830
261
Arkansas
If they won’t eat then they may be to weak and dehydrated. They could also by impacted because they haven’t had help to poop.
One of them pooped. It was very hard. Wish I knew who did it so I could focus on stimulating the other three.

I would go ahead and take them straight to the vet if they aren’t eating and or pooping. They could just be picky about the formula and new nipple but either way it’s better to be safe than since they are so delicate at this age.
Turns out, one major problem was that the hole we put in the nipple was too small and she was frustrated that something was being shoved at her but gave her nothing. 😅 She drank about 5ml. The others drank some but I'm not sure how much per kitten. Is 15 ML per kitten per feeding what I'm aiming for?

How long do you think they have been without food at this point.
Two days maximum. I didn't hear any insistent screaming until Monday night, so I think the mother may have fed them Monday morning before the storm.

I watched this video and it looks like these might be older than three weeks. The canine teeth are definitely in. One of them tried to eat my finger and they are very sharp. I'm going to weigh them in a bit, I think they might be small because they are malnourished or something.

 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom