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Six week old orphan kitten - can't take to vet because of coronavirus

My friend found a kitten who's mother had been run over. We could only find her. As best as I can tell she is around six weeks of age. She's very playful and active but still not fully coordinated. She has been eating kitten wet food mixed with a little of my grown cat's wet food (it is the only one that was available the first couple of days and she likes the taste better so it encourages her to eat more when we mix it).

I have weighed her for the past three days at 1.4 pounds. I only have a human scale so I weigh myself and then weigh myself again while holding her, so it might not be the most accurate. However, I am worried about the apparent lack of weight gain. She seems to be doing fine though. She plays with her brother, eats her food, goes in the litter box (poops about once a day).

My vet won't see her unless it is an emergency because of coronavirus. He said she would be fine to get checked vaccinated after. This also worries me because she could be sick and get her brother sick as well.

It is my first time caring for such a young kitten so I would appreciate any advice! Thank you
2 Responses
134578 tn?1614729226
If the kitten is eating, pooping appropriately, and playing, she sounds like she is doing fine. When you say "her brother," do you mean your grown cat? If so, he's probably not going to catch anything from her unless he himself has not been vaccinated. It sounds like you're doing fine. Six weeks is a bit young to lose her mama, but if she has the adult cat in your household to interact with and that is going well, she will probably come out of the loss of her mother just fine.
1 Comments
Yes I meant my grown cat! He is vaccinated so that is good news. Thanks for the answer. I should not be worried about her weight then? She seemed to go from 1.4 pounds to 1.6 now
134578 tn?1614729226
Kittens at this young an age really are surprisingly lightweight. If she doesn't feel obviously skinny with ribs and hip bones clearly protruding or something like that, she's probably at the right weight.

That said, if you would like to give your baby a nutrient boost, there are a couple of things you could give her. One is a product called "KMR." It's a milk product specifically formulated for orphaned kittens, that comes as a liquid or in powdered form. In your shoes I might be concerned enough about the different calcium requirements of a kitten versus a cat to give the kitten a couple of tablespoons of KMR every night as a side dish with her dinner for about three or four weeks, but it's definitely an extra. Also, you wouldn't want to give too much because since she's pooping appropriately now, you REALLY don't want to give her the runs. (For that same reason, don't give her plain cow's milk or cream. It's hard on a kitty's digestive tract.)

If you get KMR, the liquid form is easier but less practical, because with only one kitten eating it, you wouldn't use a whole can of the liquid before it would not be safe to continue serving from it. (Enriched milk based products are a perfect medium for growing bacteria. Even kept in the fridge, once it's open it's not a great idea to keep it after about three days.) The powder is a nuisance to mix well but has the advantage of safety -- you just mix what you need and save the rest of the powder in the fridge.

Another way (probably easier) to help a kitten to gain weight if you're really concerned is to feed her dry kitten chow along with her wet food. She will get her kitten nutrition that way, since kitten chow is formulated correctly for kittens, and since dry food is more caloric than wet food, she should plump up. Kibbles are a bad idea to feed a cat if he is fat, and some cats do get a preference for dry food to the point they won't eat canned food, so watch that, but giving a small amount on the side would help your baby gain a bit of weight while also giving her the vitamins and calcium she needs.

The other thing is, check her stool for any sign of worms. Vets automatically worm kittens on their first visit, assuming all kittens have roundworms. Maybe they do and maybe they don't, but the meds used to worm a kitten for roundworms are considered safe so they just do it as a matter of course. Roundworm medication can be bought online or at the pet store, just be sure of the doses if you want to worm your baby, since she's still so young. Don't give her anything else, though. (Like, if you have tapeworm pills on hand for your other cat, don't dose the kitten.) You're always better off giving a kitten things like this only on the advice of the vet, but if you can't get to the vet and you actually see worms in her poops, you could try roundworm medication pretty safely if the instructions say she is old enough. Just be totally careful about the dosing.
3 Comments
Ok I will try with the dry food thanks for the tips! My boyfriend says I’m being paranoid and she’s a good weight but I can’t help feeling she’s so fragile compared to our adult cat.

I have checked her poop and haven’t seen any signs of worms but it does worry me that she seems to meow a lot when pooping. She digs a lot of different spots while meowing constantly before finally doing her business. However, she doesn’t seem to be straining too much or anything when she goes and the poop is a good consistency - not runny or too hard. Is this normal behaviour for a young kitten learning to use the litter box?

On the bright side my older cat absolutely adores the kitten and he grooms her and plays with her. There was some growling at the beginning when he was eating but now he even stands aside if she tries to eat off his plate!

I would give her KMR and deworm her but unfortunately last night I received an email that someone I was in contact with tested positive for coronavirus so we are now under a 14 day quarantine.  Not personally too worried as it was brief contact and my boyfriend and I are both young but I wouldn’t want to risk getting someone else sick. I would have to wait until that is over to get any supplies unless it is an emergency as I don’t want to bother my friends or relatives who are also self-isolating as much as possible.
She might cry out in the litter box, but if the poop is a normal consistency (not rock hard) it probably isn't from straining to poop, and it certainly wouldn't be from worms. Kittens with worms never act like they have them. I suppose it could be from a urinary tract infection, but in all my years of raising cats I've never seen a kitten get a UTI, only adult cats. If you're concerned about that, be sure she has plenty to drink all the time, and keep your eye on the issue of crying in the catbox.

Regarding getting products like KMR or a wormer, Amazon or one of the bigger pet-supply houses would have what you need, I'm sure. They won't sell you anything for which you need a prescription, but a piperazine-based wormer doesn't fall into that category.

Little kittens are very lightweight, like thistledown. She sounds like a cheerful kitty, probably not sick in any way.
And besides the obvious mail-order houses like Amazon or big pet  retailers selling online, it is even possible that your vet could sell you a dose of wormer without you having to go over there, if it's just for roundworms.

That said, unless she happened to be totally infested with them (and you would know not only from looking at her stool, but her coat would be dry and her stomach would be bulging while the rest of her was thin), anyway unless she had a serious infestation she is probably perfectly okay to wait until the vet does a well-pet check on her when things return to normal regarding the coronavirus. Roundworms might be common in puppies and kittens, but are rarely dangerous.
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