CrissyAnne1 And I was disappointed to see two four-week old kittens up for adoption at a local Petsmart by a local humane society.  I know the group and they are a no-kill shelter. They have a big heart and are trying to rescue as many kittens as they can and get them adopted.  However, four week old kittens should never be put up for adoption, much less left in a cage at Petsmart for employees to take care of. 

There were two of them and I asked to look a both. No one from the rescue group was there. Every cage at Petsmart had the group’s kittens and cats for adoption.  These were the only two four-week olds.  Both, while fluffy and cute, were underweight.  A kitten should weigh one pound for every four weeks so these kittens should weigh a pound, but they obviously didn’t.  They were in with several older kittens and there was only one bowl of some sort of dry food available for them to eat and water.

Four week old kittens have teeth but still cannot negotiate hard kibble. It has to softened, preferably with KMR milk replacement. It’s not enough to think because they can eat on their own they can be adopted out.  The average person who adopts a kitten will feed it dry food only. So you have a four-week old kitten with a bowl of dry kibble in front of him he can’t eat.  The kitten either starves or is returned because it’s not eating.  Not only that, they’re just too tiny and fragile. 

I can’t tell you how many times as a cat placement volunteer in Atlanta I’d hear people say, “We want a teeny tiny kitten.”  No they don’t. “Teeny tiny” kittens are work. You can’t just leave them.

Well, I adopted one of them not because I wanted another cat, but because it needed to get out of there and that was the only way to do it. I then wrote to the president of the rescue group and told her I’d be willing to foster the other and explained why four-week olds shouldn’t be put up for adoption. Yes, the adoption paperwork listed the kittens’ ages as 4wks.

The kitten didn’t eat at first and had very hard stool, so I’m thinking she was also dehydrated. She was pretty bony yesterday but I made her a kitten mush and used a baby bottle with a bigger than average hole in the nipple and got it down her that way.  Also gave her some nutra-cal, which is a high caloric and is good for jumpstarting appetites in underweight animals. Today, her belly is fat and she’s doing much better.

CrissyAnne3 This morning she was ravenous and has done nothing but eat, sleep, potty. Mostly, she wants to cuddle and that’s the other thing with 4wk old babies…they’re not independent enough from their mothers to be away from them.  They still need a lot of nurturing and normally spend most of their time sleeping, playing and eating by the queen.  They don’t have a real sense of adventure to explore much beyond the queen’s nest.

So, if you see someone trying to adopt out four-week old kittens, take them and offer to foster them for your local shelter or take them to your local vet. Be pro-active. It’s the same for puppies.  Just because someone wants to get rid of the litter as fast as they can, doesn’t mean the litter is ready to be adopted.

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