Orphaned Kitten Update
The tiny kittens are now
4 1/2 weeks old, after consultation with my rescue coordinator, turns out the kittens are really only 3 1/2 weeks old, at most. …..and growing like crazy. They have started playing and climbing and running, and are using their litter box pretty well.
The one problem we had was with food: they only wanted the bottle, but they were chewing the nipple and not getting any milk. They have tiny little teeth now, and are ready for some food. At the very least, they should be drinking out of a dish, relieving me of the burden of constant hand-feeding.
The trouble is, they didn’t want to give up the bottle. Maybe because they lost their mother early, or maybe because they are stubborn, they simply refused to drink from a bowl, and I have been run ragged with the constant hand-feeding, every four hours. I would need to refill the bottle a couple of times to be sure they got enough. Finally, I had enough.
On very experienced advice, I decided they were done with the bottle. I mixed them nice warm KMR formula and put it in a very shallow saucer. I mixed another with some warmed, yummy kitten food. I am taking that last part on faith – did not taste the kitten food! You would think hungry growing kitties would be happy to lap that up, but no dice. They cried and screamed and scratched at me to feed them. I tried all the tricks – putting it on my fingers, gently pushing their little chins into it, letting them walk in it and lick it off, etc.
No takers. They simply cried at me until I left the room, then they curled up and went to sleep.
That was yesterday. All day today, I changed out the food, tried little tricks to get them interested, and left them alone. Every time I checked, the food looked untouched. I was getting panicky and exasperated and worried. Was I going to starve them to death? Was there a reason they couldn’t eat from a bowl?
I was assured from several sources that, when they were hungry, they would eat. I wasn’t so sure. Maybe these kittens were just stupid? Would my will hold out against theirs?
So tonight, being our 26th wedding anniversary, we planned to go out to dinner, and I was still concerned that the little furballs had not had theirs. I made up a nice slop of kitten food and milk, added a second dish of milk, did my usual encouragement of stuffing some in their mouths with my finger, and left them alone.
We had a great time, by the way, at Fishbone’s in St Clair Shores. They make an admirable Old Fashioned cocktail.
Upon our return, I could hear the kittens crying, but it wasn’t the plaintive cry they had earlier – it was loud, lusty meowing of very hungry kittens. I peeked inside their room, and was amazed; all the food was gone. The milk dish was actually licked dry!
I praised them and inspected their dirty little feet and faces.Such good kittens! I made them more food, just in case they were still hungry. They may still challenge me with their dietary preferences, but I guess I won this round!
Update: As of today, Tuesday July 24th, all kittens are eating from the bowls, and seem to like the kitten food/formula mixture. They need more frequent bathing, but that just means they get special cuddle-time while they dry off!