This cute little kitten is a very lucky boy. He and his littermate were found in a client's garden in May. The client and her son decided to hand raise them as they were too young to survive without their mum. One of the kittens was wounded so they brought the pair to us at the clinic for a check up and for advice on how to hand raise them.
Dr Andrea examined the kittens at their first visit. She estimated them to be about 2 weeks old which was far too young to be away from their mum. The kittens would need to be hand-fed every few hours, kept warm and cleaned. Very young kittens also need to be toileted regularly. The mum usually does this by licking them to stimulate their bladder and bowels. The carers would have to simulate this by rubbing them with cotton wool. Janice and her son were dedicated carers and gave the kittens regular feeds with kitten milk replacer. It is important to feed them only the correct milk formula and definitely no cow's milk!
Janice brought the kittens back to the clinic for a check up a week later but unfortunately one of the kittens wasn't doing so well. He was refusing to feed and was underweight and lethargic. Nurse Dee suggested a nutrient booster called 'Nutrigel' be added to their diet. This is a meaty paste containing vitamins and nutrients and can be used to boost the nutrition the kittens get from their milk formula.
Despite everyone's best efforts the littlest kitten did not recover and passed away at home with his carers. This is referred to a 'fading kitten syndrome' and is beyond the control of the carers. Some kittens are just not strong enough to survive without their mum at such a young age. They continued to bring the remaining kitten in for regular checks with Nurse Dee. The little one put on weight at every visit and is making the transition to solid food now. Thanks to the efforts of his dedicated foster parents, this kitten is expected to grow into a strong, healthy adult. At first they had thought they would rehome him once he was old enough, but they have now become so attached that they have decided to keep him. They have named him Shiro, a Japanese word meaning white cat.
If you find yourself caring for orphaned infants, remember that your veterinary team is here to help you and offer support and advise so please do not hesitate to contact us.
Neo-nates need special care so it is also worth seeking veterinary help.