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I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction for a good cat/kitten forum, or answer some kitty questions. Sunday, I received a singleton female kitty for foster. She is about a week old. Umbilical cord was no longer attached, eyes started opening yesterday. I have raised kittens before but never a singleton and have a couple questions. She (haven't named her) eats well, had some constipation issues but got that worked out pretty quickly. I obviously hold her when she is being fed and pottied, wipe her down with a wet cloth and spend a good amount of time rubbing her belly, as she seems to be a gassier baby than ones I have raised before. She wants to suckle a lot more than I am used to. She is not hungry, will turn away from the bottle when she is full. Should I discourage the extra suckling on my hands by moving them away from her mouth or let her do it for comfort? She also has started crying to be cuddled more. I am assuming this is due to being a singleton and not having litter mates to pile up with. I have her in a cat carrier with a small dog bed, heating pad under half, and fleece blankets. I tried giving her a stuffed animal to cuddle but she has started mewing until *I* hold her and love on her, she will not settle for anyone else. (not that I am passing her around to tons of germy hands) After a bit of purring then she will settle and go to sleep. I understand she see's me as "mama" and needs to be held. I am just concerned about overstimulating her or stressing her with too much activity. Is there any sort of time limit I should be using or is it ok to hold her when she cries? I don't want to inadvertently create behavior issues either since she will be up for adoption after she is weaned. Any help is greatly appreciated! Oh and here is a (crappy cell) pic of the little girl (I'm afraid to name her, I don't want to let myself get too attached!)
 

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Well, to give you hope: This is the last Singleton Kitten I raised, and I raised her from about that age. She is... somewhere around 8 years old now.

She has a sucking problem - blankets, hair, stuffed animals, even now. I think this is fairly common for kittens who are raised by hands. Nursing on mama is something that takes a lot more work and time than getting a similar amount of food out of a bottle. She is, however, healthy, well adjusted, and awesome with other cats and dogs.

I held her quite a bit, giving her some time after she'd eaten to be close and cuddle but like a real baby once she was fed, pottied, and clean, I put her back to bed and left her there until the next feeding time when she was that teensy. I didn't want her burning calories, or getting chilled. Another week or ten days out from where you are and that lengthened a bit, gradually, and she *did* cry, and know she was a lonely little suck, but being draft free, warm, and not expending those calories were things.

That said: Don't buy trouble. If she's eating, eliminating, active, gaining weight, growing, developing, and not dehydrating, you're gold.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Your girl is very pretty! Thank you for the help. I am finding that raising a singleton has some major differences from bottle feeding a whole litter. When I hold her, I keep her heating pad on/under her and she is covered with her blankie as well. I worry about the calorie loss from trying to stay warm too. Yesterday, I started holding her more since she refuses to settle by herself at times. Her crying and searching in her kennel for me must expend lots of calories too, I would imagine. There were, of course, times I had to let her figure out how to settle on her own. Can't do kitten cuddling 24/7 lol She is gaining, eliminating and feeding well. Very strong and active. Lets me know she does not enjoy being pottied ;)

A kitty pacifier would be so great right now. I tried using a bottle nipple (without a hole in it) but she seems to have already associated that, with her formula. So, she promptly spat it out and went back to my hands. I had a cat growing up that was a suckler, she loved to cuddle into my armpit to suckle and I always woke up with a soaking wet shirt. At this point, this little one seems like she may be a life long nurser too. Time will tell though, maybe she will outgrow it.
 

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We had a kitten years ago that we got between 3 and 6 weeks. He had been found in a garbage can :(

He grew and did well until he disappeared at about 13 years old. He sucked on my teddy bear for his comfort. If you're looking for her to bond to a stuffed animal that she can snuggle, suckle, and love, make sure that the hairs/fur is long enough for her to suck.

The funny part is when they search for a new spot and sneeze because the previous point had dried and gone up his nose
 

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They have these little mesh marsupial pouches (like a fanny pack kind of thing) that people use to bond with their pet sugar gliders. . .I wonder if that would work with a needy kitten :D. Kangaroo care for kittehs. . .

I've never raised a singleton under about 4 weeks so I don't have any personal experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry, forgot to reply, been crazy with the bottle baby (Daisy) and another foster who is sick.

Daisy decided teddy bears and blankets were no substitute for suckling on my hands. So, I just let her do it for the comfort. She is cutting baby teeth now and wants to suckle less and chew more :rolleyes: just starting to manage very wobbly half walking/half crawling and attempting to bat at things to play.

The shelter that I foster with had no other kittens around her age. She was brought in alone and with no history. I asked about fostering another kitten if one comes in around the same age. Was informed that the vets won't give the ok on putting them together unless they come from the same litter. They don't want to spread any illnesses. Which I understand, but still have concerns about her socialization and learning proper kitty play.
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