Kitten not thriving

wildnotions

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I have one kitten in a 6-week old litter of 4 that is not thriving like her roughhousing littermates. She is now half their size, only wants to nurse, and is not active like the others. The mom is very attentive to her as her littermates. Today I purchased some goat milk and a syringe to try to get more nutrition in her but she was not interested. Any suggestions would be so appreciated!
 

jefferd18

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Is she the runt?

I had just taken a litter of four kittens up to my vet along with their mother and I too faced the same concerns that you are now having. One of the male kittens wanted to sleep more than the others and one of the females was half the size of the other kittens. I tried giving her a supplement but she wasn't interested. Out of frustration I finally took her to my vet who weighed her and said she was getting enough nutrition from her mother and that is why she showed no interest when I would intervene. He said that she was on the small side, at 1.8 pounds at two months but that she was healthy. They were all healthy.

Please, if you have any doubts, take her to your vet. You will sleep better.
 

jefferd18

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Yes, she's the runt and is soooo tiny and developmentally delayed for her age. Yes, I think it's time for the vet.
Thanks,


She may very well need help or she might just be small, but when in doubt, get an expert involved. Thank you for caring so much about her.
 

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I have one kitten in a 6-week old litter of 4 that is not thriving like her roughhousing littermates. She is now half their size, only wants to nurse, and is not active like the others. The mom is very attentive to her as her littermates. Today I purchased some goat milk and a syringe to try to get more nutrition in her but she was not interested. Any suggestions would be so appreciated!
Yes, goats milk, preferably raw goats milk, would be my advice too, to give her as extra. I think you must simply do some classical "force feeding", even if she isnt interested. If you can find real glucose sugar / dextrose, you can add a little to this goats milk. It gives always some calories extra for free, and more energhy. Otherwise you can mix in a little of white caro syrup.
 

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What is her weight? At 6 weeks she should weigh about a pound and a half. Not all kittens wean to soft foods at the same time though. Anywhere between 5 and 8 weeks is normal, so she clearly needs more time. Even when eating soft foods (or dry) kittens will still nurse from mom for awhile.

Is she eating wet food at all? I wonder if she would lap Gerber turkey or chicken baby food? First from your finger, then show it to her on a flat plate. Once she does begin eating she will likely catch up fairly quickly.

She most likely is just a shy runt who has yet to come into her own. It’s not uncommon in a litter this size! :)
 
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wildnotions

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Yes, goats milk, preferably raw goats milk, would be my advice too, to give her as extra. I think you must simply do some classical "force feeding", even if she isnt interested. If you can find real glucose sugar / dextrose, you can add a little to this goats milk. It gives always some calories extra for free, and more energhy. Otherwise you can mix in a little of white caro syrup.
Good Idea about the sugar. I wasn't sure about force-feeding. I guess just in the cheek a bit. I'll try that today.
 
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wildnotions

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What is her weight? At 6 weeks she should weigh about a pound and a half. Not all kittens wean to soft foods at the same time though. Anywhere between 5 and 8 weeks is normal, so she clearly needs more time. Even when eating soft foods (or dry) kittens will still nurse from mom for awhile.

Is she eating wet food at all? I wonder if she would lap Gerber turkey or chicken baby food? First from your finger, then show it to her on a flat plate. Once she does begin eating she will likely catch up fairly quickly.

She most likely is just a shy runt who has yet to come into her own. It’s not uncommon in a litter this size! :)
She is not eating wet food at all like her littermates who are chowing it down. She weighs in at 11 oz. Another kitten weighed in at 1 lb 7 oz. Right now all she wants to do is nurse. She looks more like a month old kitten. I tried a bit of high-quality wet kitten food on my finger but she had no interest. Baby food is a good idea. Thanks
 

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Sarthur2

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My goodness - not even a pound yet. That’s very underweight for 6 weeks. My guess is she did not get her fair share at mom’s milk bar during the early weeks, and probably should have been supplemented back then. She was likely pushed off the best nipples by her bigger, stronger siblings. This happens in larger litters.

Take her in another room and use a syringe to give her baby food if she will not lick it from your finger. Go slow and once she gets the taste of it she may easily eat more on her own.

She can get by on just mom’s milk for a bit longer, but she definitely needs to gain weight. There’s no magic cure - she needs to eat more!
 
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wildnotions

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My goodness - not even a pound yet. That’s very underweight for 6 weeks. My guess is she did not get her fair share at mom’s milk bar during the early weeks, and probably should have been supplemented back then. She was likely pushed off the best nipples by her bigger, stronger siblings. This happens in larger litters.

Take her in another room and use a syringe to give her baby food if she will not lick it from your finger. Go slow and once she gets the taste of it she may easily eat more on her own.

She can get by on just mom’s milk for a bit longer, but she definitely needs to gain weight. There’s no magic cure - she needs to eat more!
Thanks
 

jefferd18

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She is not eating wet food at all like her littermates who are chowing it down. She weighs in at 11 oz. Another kitten weighed in at 1 lb 7 oz. Right now all she wants to do is nurse. She looks more like a month old kitten. I tried a bit of high-quality wet kitten food on my finger but she had no interest. Baby food is a good idea. Thanks

That kitten looks fine, if she is trying to nurse than she knows she needs more food and is getting it from her mother. I don't believe in a whole lot of intervening. Please, take her to your vet.
 

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Definitely take her to the vet but don't be surprised if you get told that she was conceived much later than her littermates & therefore is technically much younger and was born premature. I have had this situation twice in dealing with feral colonies. One kitten hit the year mark at just 2 pounds so we took the risk of spaying her; she survived & healed from surgery just fine but was just super tiny as an adult and I had a real time keeping the other cats from treating her like a toy.
Please let us know what the vet says
 
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wildnotions

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I thought she might be a "preemie" in that regard. The mom is a feral but fairly friendly cat that adopted us a 2 1/2 months back, and of course preggie and a teen mom at that. We did not see the kittens until one month old and at that time "Stripe" was only a bit smaller than the rest. Mom kat moved the kittens under the house, right by a loose mesh vent and in easy view of our glass doors. We made an outdoor playpen for them. Luckily mom is very accepting to us handling them.

BIG NEWS... I did go buy some turkey baby food and just fed little Stripe with a syringe. She was not happy about it at first but then gobbled up about 2 tablespoons. After that, she looked as happy as I've ever seen her. Maybe we're getting somewhere thanks to all the kind input on this site. I guess it takes a village to raise a runt kitten!
 

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So glad to hear this! Continue offering the baby food 2-3 times daily and hopefully Stripe will move on to wet cat food in the next week or two. Do mix the pate-sryle wet food with water or kitten formula to make a gruel for her initially. Keep us posted! :)
 
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wildnotions

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Update on Stripe. I took her to the vet yesterday after feeding her turkey baby food mixed with raw goat milk in the 2 days in between the appointment. She confirmed her preemie status but gave little Stripe a clean bill of health- except for the complication of possible liver disfunction which could manifest in the future due to her premature status. The doc was pleased that she's made it thus far all things considered. She gave her roundworm medicine just in case. Now I am feeding her official kitten food formula mixed with a grainless kitten food several times a day. She is up from 11 oz four days ago to 11.4 oz. Not much but still some progress!
 

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Update on Stripe. I took her to the vet yesterday after feeding her turkey baby food mixed with raw goat milk in the 2 days in between the appointment. She confirmed her preemie status but gave little Stripe a clean bill of health- except for the complication of possible liver disfunction which could manifest in the future due to her premature status. The doc was pleased that she's made it thus far all things considered. She gave her roundworm medicine just in case. Now I am feeding her official kitten food formula mixed with a grainless kitten food several times a day. She is up from 11 oz four days ago to 11.4 oz. Not much but still some progress!

So the kitten was fine, which is what I thought when I saw her photo, she just didn't look like a kitten that was on it's last leg. Thank you for taking care of her and taking her to the vet.
 
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wildnotions

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I've been putting goat milk in there well. She takes food willingly but is still very lethargic and sleeps most of the time- not much meat on those little bones. I'm hoping in time she will get more active? Today I'm going to increase the frequency of her feedings.
 
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