Oakville Veterinary Surgery, Station Road, Lawley Bank, Telford TF4 2LP

Hand rearing Larry the kitten

Hand rearing Larry the kitten

What happened?

Larry was found by a member of the public on a roundabout at only 24-48 hours old. Sadly, his Mum was nowhere to be found, and our team knew we had to act quickly and take care of Larry as his Mum would if he was to survive.

Action taken:

Our Head Nurse, Sarah, decided to take Larry under her wing! Hand-rearing a kitten takes a huge amount of commitment. It can be a rewarding experience but requires a lot of time, patience, and an understanding that, despite your very best efforts, it may not always be successful. Fortunately, thanks to Sarah’s dedication, this was not the case with Larry…

What care did Larry require?

Sarah had to become Larry’s Mum! This meant feeding him with a bottle and milk replacement to ensure all of his nutritional requirements were being met until he was able to be weaned on to solid foods. Initially, Larry was being fed every two hours for two weeks, then every three hours for the next three weeks – lots of night-time feeds for Sarah!  He only weighed 95g when he was brought in and lost 10g in the first day due to not feeding well. Happily, he’s now 1.56kg which is a normal kitten weight for his age!

Sarah also had to help Larry with going to the toilet, as kittens can’t do this without stimulation from their mother. The ‘voiding reflex’ which allows the release of urine and faeces is normally initiated by the Mum licking the anogenital region (under the tail). To help Larry toilet, Sarah had to stimulate this area gently before and after feeding (kittens feed better with an empty bladder/bowels) using cotton wool.

As with all newborns, it was really important that Larry was kept warm and cosy, so plenty of blankets and heat pads were needed.  Sarah had to adjust her lifestyle to help Larry; kittens, just like babies, need to be with their carer at all times during those early days.

Larry opened his eyes at around 10 days old. He was wormed at 2, 5 and 8 weeks and had his vaccinations at 9 and 12 weeks. Litter training was very simple and he picked it up easily. Weaning on to solid food was the messiest part! Lots of baths for Larry during that time!

Larry needed training as he didn’t have any littermates or a Mum to learn from, so it was up to Sarah to teach him the ways of the world. It’s been a long process but he’s certainly on his way to being a well-trained, happy kitty!

And then Larry met his new best friend… Sarah gradually introduced Larry to her older cat, Marmalade, who is 17 this year! As you can see from the photos below, they get on very well together. Thankfully for Larry, despite a bad start to life, with lots of TLC he is now a very happy, healthy boy!