How to raise an orphaned kitten baby
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Sep 15, 2008

Hurricane Ike and orphaned Squirrels

In the past 2 days I am getting literally hammered with phone calls and emails from Houston. So many nice and caring people are contacting me about having found baby squirrels, most of them with eyes closed.

To make things even worse, many of the people that contacted me don't have electricity, so they have no means of keeping the babies warm. Stores and Vets are closed, so there is also no way of purchasing Esbilac somewhere.

So we are working with limited resources here. Most of the people found me via their PDAs, so I'm going to write down some emergency care instructions.

IF re-uniting with the mother doesn't work:

You hopefully know that cow's milk is a big No No. Why? Because the lactose will cause diarrhea which can lead to death fast in such fragile little babies due to dehydration.

For the first 24 hours you can simply feed the baby with the following solution:

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of warm water.

Feed every 3-4 hours.

If the eyes are still closed, do not feed more than 2 cc (or 2 ml) at one time.
If you can not get a hold of a puppy or kitten milk replacer (preferably Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer Powder), see if you find Ensure, preferably Vanilla flavor. It will work for a few days.

Other TEMPORARY Options:

  • lactose-free milk
  • skimmed milk
  • goat's milk
  • lactose-free baby formula
  • oatmeal
Evaporated (canned) milk is NOT recommended!

If the eyes are open you can also offer

  • nuts (unsalted and untreated)
  • acorns
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • any baby jar foods with fruits and veggies
  • baby cereal
  • Cheerios
  • Cornflakes (stay away from sugar)
  • oatmeal
  • rolled oats
  • anything rice, grain or wheat based

Do NOT feed cat or dog food, meats, spicy foods, or any canned foods meant for humans.

How to feed:

Eyedropper or Syringe (without the needle!).
Baby squirrels like to suckly hard and often get formula down the wrong pipe and it shoots out of their noses. This is called aspirating and can easily result in fatal pneumonia, so we do not want that to happen.

Therefore only feed tiny amounts at a time. Squirrels also suckle eagerly and like to swallow half the eyedropper. That is normal! I usually use a special made extra long nipple that fits on a syringe, so they can't get hurt.

Keeping the Baby warm:

Fill an old sock with rice (just the foot of the sock), tie a knot on top and place it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Wrap an old t-shirt around the sock and you have 2-4 hours of snuggly heat for the baby.

You can also use old bottles and fill them with warm water and place them around the baby.

If you have electricity and can use a heating pad, make sure the baby has enough room to crawl off it in case it gets too warm.

Peeing and Pooping

If the eyes are still closed the baby needs to be stimulated to go pee and poo. Simply use a papertowel or piece of toiletpaper and moisten it with warm water and pad the bottom. If it's there, it'll come out. If not, it'll work next time.

I hope I covered everything in this short time.



 

 


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