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Question
my friend dropped off a kitten that was abondoned and I have been feeding it a kitten formula that I found at a pet store. it hasn't gone to the bathroom yet, and I got it last night and have been feeding her ever 3-4hours. what's going on?

Answer
Kay,

Is the kitten using a pet nurser or are you tube feeding?

You can give 4 feedings a day: 7:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 7:00 PM and midnight.

Do you have scale to weigh the kitten?  A digital postal scale is usually pretty reliable.

If you are tube feeding, the kitten should take about .3 oz (8-10 mL) of formula for every 4 oz (100 g) of body weight.  Divide this by 4 to get an idea of how much to feed each time. Before you feed each kitten, make sure you push enough formula through the tube so that there is no air in the tube when you begin feeding. If the mixture is too rich or the kitten is being overfed, they can get diarrhea.  

If the kittens are taking formula from a pet nurser they should take what you would tube feed on their own. If it does not seem to drink enough, wait a few minutes and try again.

Whether you are tube or pet nurser feeding, make sure the formula is warm on the back of your hand before giving it to the baby. In both cases watch out for over feeding.  This can cause diarrhea and, worse, if a baby regurgitates it can aspirate the formula leading to pneumonia!

Once each baby has been fed, you can potty it.  It should pee each feeding and poop once a day. To potty the kitten get a soft tissue or cloth and gently stimulate the genital area, it will potty.  You can burp each baby by holding it upright and gently tapping on its back.  With tube feeding, it should not get much air, so you may not hear any burp.

Newborns and very young kittens cannot regulate their body temperatures, so it is important the are in a warm. draft free place with warm bedding.  Be very, very careful of heating pads as I have known people to "roast" the kitten.

Please get back to me if you have more questions and let me know how the little tyke is doing.  Hand reared kittens are always a challenge and it does not always work out.

Best regards... Norm.

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Norman Auspitz

Expertise

I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.

Experience

I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.


Organizations
Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Publications
Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

Education/Credentials
I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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