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Newborn Kitten Eyes Not Opening

While walking home, I found this newborn kitten. It has tiny little claws, small teeth, it's ears are fully opened but it's eyes are closed. It is fairly skinny but I'm feeding it some substitute formula until I go out tomorrow and buy some kitten formula from Petco. He seems to be doing a lot better (since this morning). He's moving around more and meowing when he's hungry and all. I figure that he is going to be OK, just needs a little food in his system regularly to get him to bounce back and be a happy kitten.

But I'm worried about his eyes, he looks to be about 2 weeks old, maybe less. If I'm right, his eyes should be opened already. Mind you, his eyes look like they have dirt around them. I cleaned some of it but I think it may be a scab. Around one of his eyes it's brown and kinda dark. The other eye doesn't have much of this supposed scab and looks like it has fallen off (not sure, when I found him that's how it was) but it looks like I just have to play a waiting game with that eye since it's just closed up. Taking him to the vet is not really an option, considering that I don't have the money for it. I'd take him to animal control but only if he shows no signs of improving so the people there can help him more.

The kitten seems to think I'm his mother and over the past day and a half, I've grown quite attached to the little baby and I wanna keep him. He has his teeth which means in a few weeks I can wean him, maybe. He can hear just fine. I think he'll be just fine as long as I keep him on a good feeding schedule, I get him to move around for a few minutes, and I pretty much just play the role of mom helping him use the bathroom, getting him to sleep, etc. it's just his eyes that concern me. I think once this stuff falls completely off, the eyes will open eventually as with any other kitten. On one eye it looks like that I just have to wait for the rest of it to fall off and let nature take its course. As for the other, I might have to wait just a bit longer. I'm not sure. Please help!

justasking from Rochester, NY

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Recent Answers

By sherbear134704/29/2012

Lots of good answers here. We've had numerous kittens that we have found outside our home since we feed feral cats. It just seems impossible to keep up with getting them all spade and neutered - especially when people are just discarding their animals due to hard times. Understand hard times. Don't understand the "dumping" of responsibility.

Loved the "cotton ball" idea! In fact, I will be using them on a kitty we just found today (of course on a weekend). Tomorrow is another day...calling our local no kill shelter that we volunteer at for the total check up, shots, screening, and medicine. But for today, we must do some triage on our new babies. We have seen all stages of the conjunctivitis. A warm water-soaked tea bag is good too.

Just read from a vet site about a "topical herbal remedy such as Eye-Heal or Eye-Easy. Eye-Heal contains burdock, which can detoxify the tissues while cleansing the eye. It also contains rosemary to clean the eye, greater celandine to support the immune system in general, and meadowsweet to act as a general soothing agent. Eye-Easy also contains rosemary in addition to chamomile, which acts as an anti-inflammatory; eyebright, which has astringent properties to help dry the discharge; and golden seal, which is a decongestant.

Read more: Natural Remedy for a Cat With a Cold in the Eye | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/way_5712555_nat ... at-cold-eye.html#ixzz1tRfPy9fV"

Will be getting a good eye rinse at the pet store and administering one drop of gentamicin twice today. This will be a great jump start in the healing process of our new little one and will be of great help when the vet sees him tomorrow.

God bless all of you who are doing your best to help all the animals out there that need us. And, those who are doing all they can to help our little human children when there is no one to speak in their favor. This is where I would love to expand my help...<3

By Barbara (Guest Post)08/18/2008

Hygiene and warm compresses are what's needed here. Use paper towels or a washcloth and apply to the kitty's eyes. It should loosen up any crusting. If this does not work after a day or so, or if you see any pus (thick yellow or white discharge), take your kitten to the vet. The eyes should be open by 10-14 days. Don't wait if she has an infection or she may be blinded.

By Cat Girl (Guest Post)08/08/2008

This Happened To Me, Take Your Kitten To the Vet. They Will Give You Some Drops And They Will Be Well In No Time!

Thankyou-

By Maria (Guest Post)05/28/2008

I have a stray that decided to make my home hers. She just had 4 babies a month ago and she is a good mon. But the kittens have gunk in their eyes, and seem to bulge. I did call my local vet and asked for some sort of discount to help me get their eyes well...but no go. They refuse to help, so I don't know what else to do. I just can't understand why it's always about money. I was willing to buy the meds, but just wanted to eliminate the exam since I had 4 little critters. Oh well.

RE: Newborn Kitten Eyes Not Opening

By donna w (Guest Post)07/22/2007

you might try gently just applying a slightly warm moist clean face cloth and wipe away from the eye once it starts to open their might be drainage under the crust that sounds like you are talking about now, if they continue to drain you may want to talk to someone at petco or see if their is a spca in your area that has free clinics and also may consider kitten vitamins hope this was helpful

By susan [5]07/13/2007

DO NOT use BORIC ACID on the kittens eyes. I repeat, DO NOT! It can cause blindness to cats! Please hear this--I unknowingly did it years ago and blinded one pet (a stray kitten I took in). Try warm water on a Q-tip and GENTLY swab the eyes. The water will loosen the crust, and after they open you will be able to tell if there is any infection.

By Coreen Hart [73]07/12/2007

It's hard to tell a kitten's age, but if it's walking around and mewing, it's at least three weeks old. If it's drinking out of a saucer, it's probably six weeks or older. Most likely this is an infection. If you have some boric acid on hand, mix it up and use a cotton ball or tissue to gently swab the eye until it comes unstuck. If there is no green stuff, just keep using the boric acid several times a day. The vet will probably sell you eye ointment if it doesn't get better soon. If there is sneezing, get a vet's help. Otherwise, go to your nearest pet supply store and find the vaccinations. Get the best one the person recommends. It can't cost over $6-7 and will save a world of expense. It comes in a syringe that is already loaded. It's really easy to vaccinate the kitty yourself. Just rub and pet on a spot between the shoulder blades for a couple of minutes, then pull up a bit of skin and slip the needle just under the skin and squeeze the syringe, and you're done. Some cats don't even notice. Never re-use the needle because it gets dull. Do get kitty neutered or spayed as soon as your vet or neuter clinic will approve it. He will be so much more healthy! I hope you and your little one will have a long and happy life together!

By Mary Ann (Guest Post)07/12/2007

Your kitten is probably too young yet to open it's eyes.

By Patti (Guest Post)07/11/2007

The baby needs to see a vet, but a cotton ball with luke warm water will loosen up the mess on the eyes.You may have to gently go over and over,and change cotton balls. Make sure the water is just luke warm-not hot. You are very kind to save the little thing. Thanks.

By Susan K. [2]07/11/2007

I agree that a vet needs to be consulted about your kitty's eyes- he may or may not need some antibiotics. Also, be aware that fleas can actually cause fatal anemia very quickly in tiny kittens. Bathe your kitten, using mild soap (NOT flea soap), and be sure to keep him warm during and after his bath. Do not let him get chilled even for a minute.
Good luck.

By sweet peaches (Guest Post)07/11/2007

I sounds like your kitty is too young for it's eyes to open and also the "gunk" is keeping them shut.we raised rabbits and the little ones eyes would be shut so tight with the Gunk that they couldn't see for weeks.we were told by the Vet to warm some mineral oil and wipe the babies eyes until the stuff was gone from their eyes.it worked all the time.
Like the other advice you got in the letters,it's a real good thing to take the kitty to the Vet to see if the little thing is healthy.there are people in our town that donates money to the Vet for such as this.ask your Vet if you might be able to do something in exchange for looking at the kitty.like mop the floor or cleaning up his yard where the doggies "go".for a poopoo.try the oil and see if it helps ok?
good luck.

By Denise [5]07/11/2007

I raised a kitten from 3-days-old and she is now a healthy 5-year-old who still thinks I am her mom. I got tetramycin drops from the vet for her eye infections. When they were not available I just used a soft cloth dipped in very mild salt water (about 1/2 tsp in 2 cups of water).

Be aware also that kittens up to three weeks cannot keep their body temperature regulated so you need to provide a hot water bottle or something. I carried my kitten around inside my shirt for a couple of weeks and she would settle in the flat of my back and go to sleep! Of course if this one has fleas or something you might not want to do that. Also, make sure you use cat milk formula and make sure it is thick enough. For the first couple of days I made mine too thin and the kitten didn't gain any weight. Then I read that cat milk is thicker than cow's milk and a kitten can actually starve if the milk doesn't have enough condensed calories and nutrients.

Purrs to you and your kitten,
Cantate

By Maddy07/11/2007

Hi i'm glad you took in the kitty and are caring for him and i would be worried to but you need to get him to a vet as soon as possible.. Take him to a vet and explain the situation that you have and most of the time they will open their hearts and do it for free.. I recently had a problem with my cat and didn't have the funds to pay for it but when the dr saw how upset i was he told me that he had a fund set up for people who couldn't afford to pay the vet bill and he looked and treated my cat for free, so give it a try and if the first one says no go to the next one, you will find one that will help you....

By Rasta (Guest Post)07/11/2007

I am a kitty person and I would not hesitate to take the kitty to the Vet for advice on care. If you intend on keeping the kitty please give him/her? the quality of care it deserves.

By Holly [2]07/11/2007

Please please take this precious one to a vet asap. Bless you for taking care of her.

By Janet (Guest Post)07/11/2007

Hi There,

I am so glad you found the little thing and are looking after it. The person who abandonded that kitten was irresponsible and cruel.

I'm sorry to sound harsh, but if you are truly going to look after it, you need to get it to someone who can afford to have it looked after properly.

By that I mean treat its eyes, vaccinate it, and spay or neuter it when it is old enough. Love is not enough. Only a veterinarian can diagnose what is wrong with it. It could have an infection that could blind it. We can't tell. (No, I'm not a veterinarian, I volunteer with an animal rescue.)

One cat can give rise to 420 000 kittens in seven years, so to truly stop animals' misery, that little mite needs to be altered.

Parvo, distemper, corona virus, rabies, all of these diseases can rack up thousands of dollars in vet bills, and cause a tremendous amount of pain and suffering for a cat. These diseases spread to other animals quickly too. It is cheaper to pay $100 now for the prevention (vaccinations) than to treat the diseases later.

You could try animal rescues local to you. They might help you with vet bills if they have enough donations. They also might take that kitten into care and pay its vet bills, then find it a good home.

Some of these rescues or shelters could also have a nursing mother who might take that kitten under her "wing".

The problems only start with this tyke's eyes. They grow from there if you can't afford a cat.

I hope you choose to do what is best for the kitten. You sound like you do have its best interests at heart. Good luck.

By Beth [25]07/11/2007

God bless you for saving the little thing. I agree it may have an infection. But you should also know that all kittens and puppies need to be wormed. I've never tried to do this without going to a vet, but you should be aware that it is something you will have to do soon.

My latest kitten was born to a barn cat and had a respiratory infection which also made his eyes gunky and an intestinal infection that gave him diarrhea. He got over both, so good luck to you.

By Bree (Guest Post)07/09/2007

Its just like a child learning to walk or do anything for the first time for that matter. It is different for each one. My dad is a Vet and he said that some kittens open their eyes after a few days of birth and others take up to 6 weeks. It depends on the kitten itself. Give it time, dont rush it. He/she may just be a later bloomer!

By animal lover (Guest Post)07/09/2007

Call a vet asap b/c if the kitten's eyes stay closed too long, the kitten will be blind. My friend had to open her kittens' eyes herself to prevent this from happening. Just call a vet, and a NICE one will tell you what to do that will be in the kitten's best interest; while a GREEDY one will tell you to "bring the kitten in"

By Granny (Guest Post)07/09/2007

It seems to me that the kitten is still too young to have it's eyes open. Continue to be loving and nature will take it's course.

By Shera [4]07/09/2007

If it was me, without access to a vet I would be gently bathing his eyes with warm water and a light cotton swab. Unless you know someone with more experience. Google some. You may find what you need.

Kittens are amazingly tough little creatures. The best nutrition you can get will be helpful to him too.

By Theresa07/09/2007

Sounds like the kitten has an eye infection going on. Best thing to do is to get some antibiotic drops from a vet (about $7 to $10) and apply one drop per eye. My apartment manager finds kittens all over the complex and some of them have the same situation.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]07/09/2007

I've not dealt with problems like this but here is a good site with lots of information on hand rearing kittens and the problems you could run into.

http://messybeast.com/handrear.htm

Susan from ThriftyFun

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