Very Frantic Feeder! I've Tried Everything...

PeeWee111

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Hello all, new to this board! One week ago, I found a 2-week old kitten trying to climb out of our cinder block fire pit, yelling his little head off. I searched the surrounding area and didn't find a Mama cat or any other kittens. I've taken in the homeless for over 30 years, so it was just natural for me to bring this little guy in and give him a home.

I took him to the vet the day after I found him, where he was pronounced strong and healthy, and he was given his first deworming. The following day, he developed runny stool. I thought that maybe the deworming loosened him up, but it's continued for the last week. I cut the KMR with a little bottled water, and I'll see if that helps.

My big problem is that he is such a frantic feeder! I've never had to deal with such a wiggleworm in my life. I feed him with a PetAg nipple attached to an oral syringe. He claws frantically at the syringe (and sometimes just at the air), all the while ignoring the nipple until he's about worn out - then he'll settle down and nurse properly. But when I refill the syringe, he goes frantic again and is nearly impossible to handle. I've tried wrapping him up to the neck in my softest cloth... then wrapping him under the armpits... stroking him while he's frantic... holding him gently against my chest so he can feel my heartbeat, you name it - but nothing seems to work! (I've named him "Stinkpot" as a result, and his picture is my avatar.)

I've ordered some Miracle Nipples and should receive them in the next day or so, but does anyone have any other suggestions? I even reduced the time between feedings so that he wouldn't be quite so hungry, and that hasn't helped. I'm beginning to think that he just has Orange Cat Attitude, even at this age :lol:. The four other kittens I bottle-fed over the years never acted like this - three tabbies and one lilac-point Siamese - so I don't know what to think.

Thanks a bunch!
 

Ruby3440

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In my experience with fostering bottle baby kittens with my family done bottle baby's are just like that. We have never had any quite that bad, but close.
From your picture he is about 4-5 weeks old. Around that age they become a pain because instead of sucking the nipple they want to chew it. What could possibly help is if you start giving him some wet food missed with the kitten formula and maybe some wet hard food.

For the runny stool it could just be him adjusting to the formula. The bottle baby kitten my family has right now who is maybe a week younger still has some runny stool and we have had him for most of his life.

How long have you had him so far? I know you said that he had runny stool for the last week.
 
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PeeWee111

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He's been with us for 8 days. The vet guessed his age at 2 weeks last Thursday, based on dental and genital development at the time. I think the photo angle makes him look a little bigger/older than he really is. When I found him a week ago, he wasn't quite able to walk yet - he had the classic kitten wobblies and fell over a lot - but now he's doing quite well with walking, and has even tried a pounce or two.

He is chewing on the nipple, but still sucks on my hand, arm or fingertip. Tried the wet food/formula gruel, but he wasn't having any of it. I did notice that some of his teeth are starting to come through (ouch), so I'll soak some dry food and see if he's interested in that. I have to wait longer than I thought for the Miracle Nipples - they came today, but somehow I ordered the wrong size, so I had to reorder. :angryfire:

No poopies yet today, so I'm hoping that his stool is firming up now. He had two normal BM's the day I found him, so the runny stool was kind of a shock. It's probably the formula like you said, but I'm taking him back next week for the second deworming, and hopefully we can get a stool sample to see if there's anything in there that shouldn't be. He doesn't act sick at all, and is growing and gaining weight, so I haven't reached the panic stage yet.

So... I guess I'll just have to put on some armor and try to come out on top in the wrestling matches, and see if he'll eat anything else.

Thanks for the response!
 
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PeeWee111

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Thank you!
Stool color: brown with a slight touch of orange.
Formula: KMR, premixed.
Weight: 4 oz on 9/26, 7.5 oz on 10/1. I tried weighing him earlier today, and the most consistent weight was about 9 oz. I'm going to try again when Hubs gets home and can help contain him on the scale.
Feeding: 1 tablespoon 5 x daily, between 6 am and 10 pm. He sleeps all night.:)
 

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Switch to powdered KMR. Avoid Hartz. PetAg, Royal Canin, and GNC are all good. In my experience, kittens get diarrhea from pre-mixed, which then means they are not absorbing enough nutrients. I think you’ll see a big difference with powdered in his stools and his appetite. Do not dilute the formula with extra water.

Based on his weight, and the fact he is beginning to cut teeth, he is getting close to 4 weeks old, but he’s underweight. A 3-week-old kitten should weigh 12 ounces, and 16 ounces (one pound) at 4 weeks. He needs to then gain about 4 ounces a week so that he is 2 pounds at 8 weeks, but he will begin to wean to soft foods before then anyway.

He probably needs more food, even though you are feeding the correct amount for his weight, he probably needs a feeding between 10pm and 6 am, even if you have to wake him. But since he already sleeps all night, he may need extra mLs at his other feedings.

Try this and let us know if powdered formula is helping his stool. He may still be excited about eating though because eating is the big thing in a kitten’s life (and playing, and sleeping ...). :)

PeeWee111 PeeWee111
 
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PeeWee111

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I don't do Hartz for anything! I was a vet tech in the past, so I know the pitfalls of OTC stuff.

I'll get some powdered formula ASAP and see how that works out.

Thank you so much! I don't know how long this baby was away from his Mama kitty. When I told Hubs that I'd found him, he said, "I heard something early this morning, but I thought it was a bird!" I found little Stinkpot late that afternoon, so he was obviously hungry and dehydrated by the time I got to him, and I'm sure that Food is Life to him still. And I know he's still looking for Mama. Poor little guy!
 
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PeeWee111

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Will do!

The feeding just now was the best I've had in a few days. I decided to take an entirely different tack: no restraint whatsoever. I just let him roam around on my lap, and when he started hollering, I stuck the nipple in his open mouth, and voila! Instant nursing. He ate even more than usual, and is now cuddled up with his friend, a stuffed "Lil Bub" kitty, getting ready for another snooze.
 
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PeeWee111

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What.A.Day! But we've made excellent progress - after a somewhat disastrous fiasco with a new syringe (the nipple popped off and formula went splattering everywhere), I decided that he was going to have to learn to take the bottle and that's that! I started the powdered formula this morning, and WOW... does it go down easy. He likes it so much better than the premix, and the frantic episodes are now only 2 minutes or less, until he finally finds the nipple and settles down. No diarrhea today, either. I think we're on the right track.

The Miracle Nipples arrived today, but he completely rejected them in favor of the original PetAg nipple (I enlarged the hole). I also upped his intake to a minimum of 1.5 tb per feeding, and he seems to be well satisfied with that. That's enabled us to have more social time, as he's much calmer after feeding. Teeth are really starting to come in, he's running and playing, AND he's showing an interest in using his little "litter box" - the lid from a shallow takeout container that I'd saved for future use, lined with a paper towel that I'd blotted with some of his urine. I put it in the corner of the box where he usually does his little peepees, and he's going there all the time now.

Thanks to all for your support and excellent advice!
IMG_4193.jpg
 
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PeeWee111

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Okay... it seems one day is never like the next in this kitten saga. I got Stinkpot up this morning for his first feed and decided to give the Miracle Nipple another try. He latched onto it immediately and drained the bottle.

That was a big relief... but now he hasn't had a BM in 24 hours, since starting the powdered KMR. How long before I get worried about this? (Actually, I'm already worried, but he's still acting fine.) His little belly is looking mighty round... and I've been doing the belly strokes and anal stimulation after every feeding as usual. Any other suggestions to get him going?
 

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With the bottle baby kittens my family has had it's normally for kittens to get somewhat constipated on the powdered formula right after switching. Just give it another day or 2 and hopefully he will push anything he has out. Make sure you are pottying him after every feeding. He might go through a stage where you can see it start to come out, but he can't push it out. Don't force by continuously rubbing to make him go because it could make how poor little butt sore. It happened with our little kitten just because he was pooping every feeding, but luckily is back to normal now.(My family finds it easier if our dog potties her. Especially for pooping when they are constipated. It's not like we try and let her sometimes. She just goes over to the little box we have for them when out of the cage and she does it)
 

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Agreed! Constipation often occurs after switching from premixed to powdered. You can add 2-3 drops of olive oil to his feedings. This should help to soften his stool. If he has gas, you can add 2-3 drops of infant simethicone to his bottles (found on baby aisles at the store).

I’m happy to hear that he is eating well though. Constipation is better than diarrhea. :)
 
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PeeWee111

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You can add 2-3 drops of olive oil to his feedings. This should help to soften his stool.
Thanks - will do that next feeding and see what happens. Now for the dumb question: Is "extra virgin" olive oil okay? That's what I have.
 
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