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Question
We have  kitten about 3 weeks old.  It is a wild kitten.  I am feeding it KMR about every 2 to 3 hours.  It pees ok but it has only pooped once.  I don't know if I am stimulating it enough or what.  The girls at the vet said to give it an enema.  I don't think I could do that.  It is so very small.  Is there anything else I could do to help it poop?

Answer
MaryAnne,

I am not a vet, but the three week old kitten might poop at most once a day.  If you are worried, you can have your vet check the kitten to see if it is impacted. If so you try a little bit of Metamucil before I would try an enema, but I would certainly follow your vet's lead.

How much does the kitten weigh?  How much KMR are you feeding it? Are you bottle feeding or tube feeding the kitten? If bottle feeding, are you getting the kitten to burp?

Here are some general guidelines on feeding the orphan kitten.  I expect you know most of this because getting the kitten to 3 weeks of age is a pretty good feat in and of itself, congratulations!!!!! At 4 weeks of age, you can look to weaning the kitten. If you need some weaning guidelines, please send me a follow up.

To see if the kitten is doing well when you hand raising, we like a digital postal scale for weighing kittens. Newborns should gain about 1 oz (30 g) in the first week and nearly 2 oz (50g) in each subsequent week until weaning.  A good feeding regimen for kittens is 4 times a day (e.g. midnight, 7:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 7:00 PM).  

If the kittens will nurse from a pet nurser, this is preferable.  Otherwise you will have to tube feed, and your vet can show you how.

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 the 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 kitten is taking formula from a pet nurser it should take what you would tube feed on its 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 the baby has been fed, you can potty it.  It should pee each time 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 the 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.

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. But you do seem to be doing very well!!!!!!!!!

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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