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Kittens Suck: A Cautionary Tail

My first litter of bottle babies for Pooler Paws lived at the shelter. I came in to feed every four hours initially, then stretched the time as they grew.

One morning I arrived to find our cleaning volunteers (the hardest working people I ever knew) giggling at the babies. Dude, the only male, was providing a place for his siblings to nurse. One of the girls was happily suckling on his prepuce. The ladies were amused, aghast and well, concerned. I told them it was not unusual and paid little attention. Dude and his sisters were healthy and happy with Dude no worse for wear.

Enter Hagrid, Malfoy and Fleur. A trio of week old kittens in need of bottle feeding. Hagrid was a giant at 4.6 ounces, Malfoy 4.2 and little Fleur a tiny 4 ounces. The big boys nursed heartily. Fleur on the other hand ate small amounts and was fed more often.

She also nursed on the genitals of her brother Hagrid. I noticed and dismissed this as not unusual. Until one day at bathtime I realized poor Hagrid’s bottom was pink and swollen. Terribly swollen. I separated the kittens and waited.

Mea culpa. I should not have dismissed this. I should not have waited. I should not have relied on the internet for information. A trip to the vet was in order.

Hagrid had a prolapsed colon due to the suckling. He was “dribble peeing” instead of squatting. This resulted in urine scald… diaper rash. The icing on the cake was a case of Coccidia I completely missed.

Separated kittens. Albon dewormer. An ointment for his bottom. Prebiotics for diarrhea. Guilt for his human Mama.

A few days later Hagrid looks better. Almost 4 weeks old he has “free time” to zoom around the living room with my older fosters and my dog Pixel. He comes when he is called. He chases whatever pair of feet pass by.

I am still feeling guilty. I tell myself I am learning. I won’t let it happen again. But pangs of guilt prevail.

The next litter…. I don’t know there will be a next litter for me. These little tails have led to this cautionary tale.

Our Tiny Tigers depend on us.

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