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24 TulsaPets
March/April 2014
a c a t t a l e
They
came to me in a box—four kittens, filthy, cold,
and lifeless. There was one of every color: black, Tabby,
tuxedo, and a dirty white one. It was the day after
my birthday, and not exactly the present for which I
had wished.
Step one: clean them. This case was worse than usual.
Instead of dipping them in a solution of Dawn detergent
and giving a complete bath as I would normally do,
I wiped them gingerly, as they still had umbilical cords
and birth sacs attached. The woman had found them
on her porch, obviously born the night before.
Mama cat was nowhere in sight throughout the day,
so it was clear they had been abandoned. We later
determined by their size and slow development they were
probably premature.
Step two: raise their body temperatures. My husband
pressed them to his body while I prepared baby
formula. I try to keep powdered KMR (Kitten Milk
Replacement) on hand because it is easy to store and can
be reconstituted in small quantities. Then we put the
kittens on a heating pad.
Step three: feed. These babies were so small that syringe
feeding was necessary. This is usually the best method
with small kittens because they are too weak to suck on a
bottle with a nipple. The kitten must be held upright,
never on its back, and a syringe can force some milk into
The Ugly Duckling
BY
C
AMILLE
H
ULEN