Anybody ever hand raise baby kittens?

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Well-Known Member
Mar 16, 2006
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Southern Ca
I took on the job of hand raising three baby kittens last week. I believe they were around 4 days old when I got them. The black one is smaller than the other two, and he had a protruding rectum when I got him. After 2 days, I realized that he wasn't passing much and his tummy was rock hard bloated. After doing some research online, I gave him a couple of drops of mineral oil and hours of tummy massaging, and he started passing (very painfully) that night. He's been passing since, and the swelling has went down in both his bottom and stomach, but now, he passes a little bright red blood after going. I am putting vaseline on him to help keep it from getting chapped.

Yesterday one of the other kittens started getting diarrhea. I researched that too, and have found that I might be over feeding them. I was told to feed them until they didn't want any more, but now I've read that they should be cut off after a certain amount. Tomorrow makes a week that I've had them and I didn't want to get attached, but darn it, that isn't the case. I have been feeding them about every 3 hours, with the exception of night time, when they either wake me up when they want to eat or I feed about every 4 hours. They are about 10 days old today, and the one with diarrhea has just opened his eyes. I am giving half/half milk replacement and pedilyte for him right now. Any other advice?
You're stimulating them to urinate and defecate right? You should be doing it with a moist, warm cloth after every feeding. And, yes, it's very important to not overfeed; milk can go into their lungs -if fed too much and too fast- and/or stomach upset, lilke what you're experiencing. Are you feeding a milk replacer especially made for kittens?
Yep, stimulating them to go before and after each feeding (using a warm moist wash cloth for the two and warm moist toilet paper for the little chapped guy). I am feeding them "Just Born", made for kittens from newborn to weaning. It says that they should be fed every 8 hours, but I read online that they need food in their tummies every 2-3 hours. I guess I'll try to space it out more? I've raised kittens before after their eyes were already open, but never ones so young.
Every 8 hours??? I would be doing it every 2 to 4 hours. We've only fed one orphan kitten before and did it ever 2 to 4, if my memories serves me............just like you would an orphan foal. We also did the moist pads on the bum to encourage the pooping. Our little one was a little older, about 2 weeks(?), his eyes were just about to open when we got him.

After a few days of bottle feeding we were able to show him about a saucer of kitten milk replacer by lowering the nipple into it. But by then his eyes were opening.
I raised 3 of 6 kittens to adult hood. it was very hard but rewarding. I fed every 2-4 hours even at night, When they started sleeping thru the nite I got worried at first. I eventually went to baby formula a family member got form some expired stock. It worked good when they were about 3 weeks old. By 4 weeks they started eating from a bowl and didn't want the bottle. Good luck with them.

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