Our orphaned kitten hasn't peed yet, how worried should we be?
July 11, 2013 11:54 PM   Subscribe

Our orphaned kitten hasn't peed yet, how worried should we be?

My boyfriend found a kitten on our windowsill this afternoon, we waited awhile and then called the vet who told us to go ahead and bring her inside.

Based on what we could find on the internet, we guessed that she was about 3-4 weeks old, which is what we told the vet. They advised us to buy kitten milk & a bottle to feed her, and a heating pad for her area. They also walked me through how to get her to go to the bathroom afterwards by rubbing her genitals for a few minutes.

We fed her for the first time around 10pm when we got the milk home, and per the directions I just fed her again 4 hours later. She hasn't used the bathroom after either feeding. The first time I just assumed that she was nervous, and that she'd be okay. But now that she hasn't used the bathroom for the second time in a row, I'm not sure how worried I should be. The vet is no longer open, so I can't call them to ask. I'm fairly confident that I'm doing it correctly, I watched a few videos as well as listening to the advice from the vet. I also put her in the litter box for a minute to see if she was interested in that, but no dice.

Perhaps she's just older than we had thought? Maybe she doesn't need help to go to the bathroom and I'm just worried over nothing.

*Her eyes are open and she responds to sound
*Her eyes are still blue, but maybe she's just a blue eyed cat
*She can walk on her own, and is very curious
*She wants to be near us all the time, if we leave her in her box alone she cries
*She has taken a few sips out of a shallow dish of water that is in her area

Should I be worried, or is she probably okay? Is she older than we thought? Any other advice?

Here's a (terrible) photo of her.
posted by thebrokenmuse to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
She's probably too old for this, but you could try it (please be clear that I'm _not_ an expert and am mostly guessing, but I have raised a couple of litters of kittens, with the help of their mothers):

Teeny tiny kittens don't pee on their own; mother cats lick their genitals (keeps the nest clean). You could try wiping her gently with a warm, damp washcloth.

Do this with her near or in a litter box; you'll want to build up that association.

If you're willing to spend the night on the floor with her (you really can't leave her by herself and expect any peace - she'll need company), you can set up a little barricaded area with a litter box nearby, but cover the floor in any case. You can put sheets in the washer, carpets not so much.

Is she eating well? That would be a factor in whether she'd have anything to pee out. Also, if she was dehydrated before you started feeding her, it might take a little longer.

If she's active, you're probably OK. Someone else will probably mention the skin-pinch test for dehydration (or you can Google it).

I like the photo - she looks beautiful.

(You might want to look around outside, tomorrow, for the rest of the family - if there is a mom cat, she needs to be spayed, and if there are other kittens, they need to be socialized. Or, of course, she might be someone's pet, wandered off.)
posted by amtho at 12:16 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Not a cat expert, definitely not a vet, but is it possible she was dehydrated from her time outside / without mom cat? If that's the case, she might just not be ready to pee yet.

Also, is there any possibility she went when you weren't around, and it was such a small amount of liquid it wasn't noticeable? It looks like you have a soft and cozy (and dark) surface for her that could have absorbed liquid.

She is adorable! Good on you for stepping up to care for her.
posted by charmcityblues at 12:17 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would assume she is dehydrated, if she'd been away from food sources for more than a few hours. But you also have her on a black towel, so if she pees (and they do, after a certain point, just start letting fly before they get the instinct to hide/bury it) you won't see.

Do make sure you are rubbing her with something moist. I think a damp cotton ball is traditional.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:24 AM on July 12, 2013

I have zero advice about this hurtle, but I do have experience with rescued bottle fed kittens...

As per my vet, your kitten will always be an exceptional snowflake. Being bottle fed is A Thing.

Treat this cat gently, always. That's the way forward.
posted by jbenben at 2:10 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

amtho has it: wipe her butt gently with a warm damp cloth.

Also, make sure her box stays warm; putting her directly on a heating pad might be TOO warm, but do something! Maybe put a heating pad *near* her box? Your new baby kitteh is adorable, by the way; any name yet? (Not sure why, but she looks like an Ethel to me!)
posted by easily confused at 3:44 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wouldn't be alarmed if you haven't seen anything yet.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:30 AM on July 12, 2013

Our (also black, and adorable) former bottle-baby Spike wet the bed for the first time when his "sister" (our dachshund) happened to be spending the night at Grandma's. I had no idea but SHE was the one doing the licking at night and taking care of him! So yes, damp (warm) cloth. Bottle baby cats grow up to be the best cats--congrats on your little one!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:05 AM on July 12, 2013

My cat Stella was just about seven months old when I brought her home from the Humane Society, so I understand it's a different scenario somewhat. She didn't go to the bathroom for the first 24-36 hours I had her in the house. I kept checking her box and finding it empty, and like you, I was extremely worried! But as she realized we weren't around to hurt her, she started feeling safer and then started going to the bathroom, no problem. Maybe just give her a chance to see she's in good hands now.
posted by dearwassily at 9:54 AM on July 12, 2013

Best answer: She is so sweet, well done for taking her in. Great advice upthread too.

To me she looks a bit older than a kitten who needs bottle feeding. Get some wet food for kittens and offer her this as well. Make sure that she has access to at least one bowl of fresh water.

Cats don't have a great thirst drive so leaving a few bowls of water around wherever she has access is a good idea too.

Best of luck :)
posted by Arqa at 8:10 AM on July 13, 2013

Response by poster: Arqa was correct, when we took her to the vet we were told that she was actually about 4 1/2 weeks old, and had been secretly peeing behind my back.

Little baby is doing really well & is in perfect health, and so is the other tiny cat that we adopted to keep her company. Thanks for calming me down y'all!
posted by thebrokenmuse at 10:59 PM on August 17, 2013

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