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26 July 2006 @ 23:39
Please read this if you know anything about taking care of sick kittens!

On our way home from a fireworks festival this evening (around ten at night), we found a very ill kitten. He's just skin and bones and since he didn't have a collar we figured we'd take him home and give him some water.

When we got him inside, we saw that he was in extremely poor shape. His eyes are so badly swollen that I don't think he can open them and he has a huge gash above one eye. Obviously, we want to take him to the vet, but we don't know where to start looking! First of all, you need to know I'm in Japan. This makes finding any information difficult. I don't know of any 24hr hospitals and Google isn't helping at all. Additionally, we never planned on getting a cat at while over here (I've helped take care of four cats in the past though) and we just don't have the equipment and at this time of night, no means to get anything.

So PLEASE give us some advice. We need to know...
-Clean the eye or not? How?
-He looks really hungry, but he won't eat. Why? What can we do?
-Speaking of food, is it okay to feed him non-kitten food in the absence of anything else?
-What about airconditioning in this heat? Leave it on as long as he's in our apartment?
-Once we've taken him to the vet tomorrow, is it okay to leave him on his own in the apartment? Will he be safe?
-ANYTHING else you can think of?

I'm sorry to do this, but I really can't think of anything else to do at this time of night. I know of no helplines and hey wouldn't really be any use since my telephone Japanese is dreadful.

Thank you for any help you can give.
Scunnertscotiva on 26th July 2006 14:52 (UTC)
Quick advice as am in hurry: Clean eye gently with warmish salt water and cotton wool. Keep him warm and away from drafts. Make sure the food is soft- you may wish to mix it to a paste with a little water. Eating is not as important as drinking- the vet can put a tube down his throat if needs be. DO NOT give him milk unless it is specifically for cats. Make sure any room you leave him in is escape-proof and safe.
Williamgenkischuldich on 26th July 2006 14:54 (UTC)
thanks that's exactly what I needed.
Owenkidboomerang on 26th July 2006 14:58 (UTC)

is what I'm finding for some information, but I have no idea how helpful that will be. I'll repost the request in my own journal, I know that several of my friends either foster or work with animals.
Williamgenkischuldich on 26th July 2006 15:02 (UTC)
Thank you.
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Williamgenkischuldich on 26th July 2006 15:04 (UTC)
First thought is to get him through the night and see what the vet can do. once morning comes we hould be able to get what we need for him but right now there's nowhere open. That's the main problem.

I really don't know how old he is. You could hold him in one hand with a bit of difficulty, but he might be underfed.
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Williamgenkischuldich on 26th July 2006 15:17 (UTC)
He's drinking water just fine, luckily. We need to guide him to it, since he can't really see, but otherwise he's fine.
Thomas Vye: Michael Archangel of Smitethomasvye on 26th July 2006 15:16 (UTC)
Getting water into him with some kind of pippet is something that has worked for my sick rats many times; I agree that hydration is super important.
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Dr Scribbles: ronin grrrscribblemoose on 26th July 2006 15:10 (UTC)
I'm way late with this, but it looks as if other people have it covered. Just to say don't give him ordinary milk, stick to offerering room-temperature water. Should be fine to leave him alone; maybe offer him a balled-up sock or other fluffy item for company. For food, you could try a little rice, perhaps with some plain fish (in this country I would try haddock or cod). LIghtly-scrambled eggs sometimes go down well. But stick to very small quantities until he's seen the vet. If he has no appetite, don't worry for now - just try and encourage him to drink water.

Grooming his fur might cheer him up, too. Cats hate to be bedraggled and of course grooming and petting is what his mother would be doing for him. (Psycologically, cats see their human companions as parents, while dogs see them as pack-leaders...)

And, as yochan said, brace yourself. The prognosis might not be very good at all. But if he does survive... well, just remember, we don't choose to live with cats. They choose to live with us!

Good luck and let us know how you get on!
"It seemed like a good idea at the time."ladysunflow on 26th July 2006 17:06 (UTC)
Why is ordinary milk not good? I was sort-of farm raised, and that was what I remember cats begging for, so now I'm really curious.

And genkischuldich, I can't offer any real advice, but I really really hope the kitten will be okay *fingers crossed*
(because I know how utterly devastating it is when they die :/)
Dr Scribblesscribblemoose on 26th July 2006 17:16 (UTC)
Some cats are allergic to cows milk (all three of mine were) - if it's already dehydrated making it sick would be a bad idea.

I second your sentiments. Thinking very hopeful thoughts for the little fella!
Pez }}morning.maple{{yuki_scorpio on 26th July 2006 17:17 (UTC)
(sorry for jumping in)

Cats are actually lactose intolerant. If they drink normal milk they'll get diahhroea and all the horrible stuff. Special cats milk is lactose-free ^^
"It seemed like a good idea at the time."ladysunflow on 13th August 2006 16:37 (UTC)
Ha, but I've never seen a cat like that. My grandparents had cats at their farm, my friends have cats, my other grandma feeds stray cats, people in the movies have cats - and always regular milk is involved with absolutely no negative effects on the cats.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if it's perhaps genetic differences within the cats population accross the continent(s) ^^;
Thomas Vye: Michael Archangel of Smitethomasvye on 26th July 2006 15:12 (UTC)
I think you've been given the best advice already, but good luck with the little one.
luxluxetumbra on 26th July 2006 15:19 (UTC)
Oh no! Don't know if this will help, but

Recipes for Emergency Kitten Formula

Also maybe a hot water bottle or heating pad to keep him from getting too cold.
h e l l o. i've waited here for you.nanami_hibino on 26th July 2006 16:39 (UTC)
You've gotten a lot of really good advice so far. I hope the kitten will be okay. ;-; The only thing I can think to add is that if he's really young , you might need to take a warm wet washcloth and rub his bottom to get him to go to the bathroom.
Aviumcode_renegade on 26th July 2006 16:55 (UTC)
You've got plenty of great advice already, so just some chime-in from a person who raised a pair of 2-weeks old brother kittens.

1) From your description of the kitten's size, he sounds like he isn't completely off milk yet though he may start sampling solids. So if you keep him you're likely to be responsible for weaning him. But never feed it milk not specifically for kittens, because cats are lactose-intolerant. You shouldn't have any problem buying it from pet stores.

2) We keep our cats outdoors. You can imagine Singapore heat + very furry cats. Yet they managed well even as very small kittens. If you plan to keep it indoors you can either 1) keep the place well-ventilated with open windows, or if you don't want to give it a chance of escaping, 2) a comfortable aircon temperature with easy access to a warm corner lined with clothes/blankets.

3) Depending on what the vet says about leaving the kitten alone or not. But given its size and condition you don't want to leave it alone for too long as it might not be feeding properly yet. Small kittens can sleep through the night fine, but during daytime they should have contact with either their mother or a human caretaker every 4 to 6 hours.

Hope the kitten will be better real soon!
Aviumcode_renegade on 26th July 2006 17:01 (UTC)
Incidentally, does he look about this size?

I can offer more advice on how to care for the boy if I can guesstimate his age.
lpatobe on 26th July 2006 18:11 (UTC)
I don't think there's any advice I need to add that you haven't already had. I just want to say that he's a very lucky kitten to have been picked up by you and J and if it doesn't work out well then at least you'll know he was comfortable and looked after. But fingers crossed, it's good that he's drinking by himself.
tirwolftirwolf on 26th July 2006 19:11 (UTC)
Done this tons of times just not in Japan. Common sense works best. If you can get him/it some canned cat food, do. Give him a bit of milk in a dish. Wrap him loosely in a rag or towel & keep him close to you. As corny as this will sound, think healing thoughts & send energy thru your hands. Animals pick up on such things. Let the eyes be. Let a vet. choose what to do. If I had a look at the problem I would most likely know what it is only because we have taken in sooo many strays over the past 20 yrs. Good luck. Would like to know how things turn out.
Stormystormyserenity on 26th July 2006 21:39 (UTC)
I've read that you can feed them liver baby food, like for human babies. Probably any meat goop baby food would do, it should be gentle on his little tummy. I don't know if you can get that in Japan though.

And I want to say again, if he dies it's not your fault. They're really fragile when they're small, and if he's been out on the street getting hungry and dehydrated it may already be too late.
Rheanna Fancypants: Bellatrixpiratepantsnana on 26th July 2006 23:39 (UTC)
Rue posted a link in his journal saying for any of his friends who work with cats to offer any advice they might have... looks like you got some great tips already (especially about not feeding the kitten people milk)

As a small tip, I'd say that the person who suggested keeping the kitten in the bathroom had the right idea. It's quiet, and generally there isn't much for him to get into (as long as all chemicals are stored in a secure place he can't get into obviously) I would keep him there and if you have one handy, provide him with a small box and blanket to hide in. I work with kitties at the spca, and we give them these 'hide, perch, and go' boxes. You definitely don't need anything that elaborate, but cutting a hole in a cardboard box the kitten could hide in would definitely reduce stress.

Good luck! That's beyond awesome that you're caring for him :)
Williamgenkischuldich on 29th July 2006 12:42 (UTC)
Thank you very much for taking the time to come over to my journal and type up some advice. Thanks to you and everyone else, the kitten is still alive and has been seen to by a vet. Although it's not over yet, he seems pretty strong right now.
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 27th July 2006 03:30 (UTC)
Everyone else has already given you a lot of advice already, so I'll just say that the most important thing right now is to keep him warm and make sure that he drinks a lot of water. I've raised cats my whole life, so if you need any help, don't hesitate to give me a call anytime. ^^

If you're going to keep it, since it's probably a stray, for your own good be especially careful of fleas. And you'll want to get some dewormer for him.

I want a cat sooooo badly!! ;o; I might have to live vicariously through you.
Scunnertscotiva on 27th July 2006 09:41 (UTC)
Hi again, looks like you've got all the bases covered here- hop he's ok! Post a pic when you get a chance :-)