three week old kittens

newhomeseekerMay 20, 2009

I posted a few weeks ago about a cat having kittens in my fiance's garage. The mama cat and two kittens are still in a little "cat house" on the back deck. We've been feeding mama cat regularly but she is so skinny. She will leave the kittens alone if we are out in the yard and will follow us around. I'm concerned about her kittens though. I've been reading some things on kitten development and it says by the third or fourth week they are walking around and exploring etc. One of my cats was found alongside the road at 4 weeks old and he was already eating solid food and running around playing etc. These kittens are estimated to be three weeks old. They opened their eyes late last week. They will walk around their enclosure a little (their legs shake) but mostly they just sleep (curled up together). They will nurse whenever mama lays down with them.

I have handled them both and one is a little timid and cries for his mother and the other doesn't seem to mind, seems a little curious although he would hiss at me when I reached in the box to get him. They don't see active at all and I'm not sure if this is normal. They are either three weeks or going on three weeks old (they opened their eyes completely last week.) I don't know if it is a case of the mother not getting enough food (we feed her canned and dry) and we feed her until she doesn't want anymore to eat.

Should we buy kitten formula to supplement their diet? It is normal for them to sleep all the time?

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They usually open their eyes when they're about 9 days old, so they may not even be 3 weeks yet...
which would mean that they really are infant babies, so wobbly legs & sleeping most of the time would be normal.

(If you want to get kitten supplement, I'd say give it to the mother cat!)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 2:07PM
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I agree with Sylvia. Sounds like they are just still young and babies. They should be getting what they need from the mother. Just feed her really good and give her supplements if you want to. They will be playing and running around soon enough!LOL

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:46PM
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Handle them alot, because if they are not handled now, they will not be socialized and adoptable later.

Please get the mother spayed by a rescue organization, at the very least. Feed her kitten food while she is nursing.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:57PM
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Momma cat will look skinny and scraggly after having kittens.Look what she has been through and feeding several babies is hard on a Mommy.LOL My Vet recommends feeding the mother kitten food for a few weeks before kittens are born and continue until the kittens are weaned.
I hope momma isn't already pregnant again.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:15AM
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Give the mother extra food. It's normal for her to look skinny. Handle the kittens all the time. This is the way they socialize w/ people and turn into trusting animals. At 7 weeks, kittens not handled turn feral.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:25AM
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The kittens are probably 2 - 2.5 wks old. If you do handle them now, wash your hands. Otherwise, socializing can wait till they are about 4 wks old. They are too vulnerable right now, and should do mainly eating and sleeping

IF they cry a lot, then yes, KMR would be a good idea - mom cat might not be catching up
Otherwise, if they sleep a lot, they are content and mom is feeding them just fine

Mom cat will be skinny for some time, as she is spending a lot of time feeding...She will start getting fatter once kittens are not as demanding/eating on their own

Mom needs a lot of fluids: water, KMR, goats milk, wet food - all are very useful

Once kittens weaned, do spay the mom!


    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:30AM
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You can and should handle the kittens now. Gently. Always wash your hands after handling any animal.

Kitten food for mom will be sufficient. You can start offering the kittens wet kitten food with KMR mixed in as soon as they begin to explore and stand straight, at 3-4 weeks.

I recommend getting this family off the street into a foster or shelter for the best future for all of them.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 6:45PM
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Thanks for the replies. They are at least 3 weeks old. We found them on the 5th and they were a few days old then. They do seem to sleep a lot so they must be getting enough to eat. I have handled them probably once a day for the last few days. One of the kittens had his eye sealed shut twice by this gunk and I had to remove it. The mother has an eye that is runny so they probably have some type of infection. I need to take them to the vet (I have an ointment for one of my adult cats that had an eye infection/illness earlier this year but don't want to use it on the kittens as they are so young.) But at the moment I can't afford to take them to the vet (my vet charges a $50 office visit for EACH cat). They do walk around their "house" a little bit to change sleeping positions or to cuddle with each other. Their legs are very wobbly. Their little ears are still sort of flattened to their headds so they are definately younger than I originally thought they were. I bought KMR and have given some to the mama cat (who doesn't care for it). I tried to bottle feed one of the babies but he didn't take to it. I'm feeding the mama cat three cans of wet food a day and all the dry food she wants to eat.

Yesterday when I was holding one of her babies he kept crying and she was very nervous and kept "talking" to him and licking him and he still cried and she started panting really hard like she was nervous. After I fixed his eye, I put him back in the box and he was fine. He seemed to perk up after I got his other eye open. None of them are sneezing or showing any respiratory illness, just have gunk in their eyes and mama's eye is very watery.

The mama cat now tries to run into the house every time we open the door. Seems she wants to escape from her kittens!

Yesterday when I came home from work, the neighbor's dog had gotten loose (this big hound dog) and was in our yard. He was barking and barking. Mama cat (her kittens are behind the house) was in the front yard literaly six inches from this dog's face. She was crouched down and hissing at the dog. But she would not flee. The dog didn't know what to do so he was just barking obnoxiously. I've never seen a cat just stand there in front of a big noisy dog like that before. She will also challenge the neutered male cat (even when he's not near her kittens) by getting right in his face and growling.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 10:29AM
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Get her and the kittens to rescue before a sad ending to this story. Eye infections are contagious. Hounds kill cats. Toms kill kittens. Really.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:56PM
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