What's the minimum a kitten should eat?

lizzieloo

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I unexpectedly and happily got a litter of three kittens to foster Sunday afternoon! All I know is that they came in as strays and are approximately 8 weeks old. Based on their odour I assume they grew up on a farm and based on their poor appetite/interest in cat food - wet or dry - I am wondering if they had only been drinking milk from their mom and then were taken in suddenly and haven't really been exposed to cat food? They have had human contact, not feral.

They have access to dry food always and I've given them wet food 4x per day since I was off Mon and today, it will be 3x tomorrow when I work. But they eat such a small amount!! I've fostered 5 week old kittens that ate more!

One is high energy, one is moderate energy but the other one is a bit more sleepy, but this could be part of his personality - he will usually prefer to sit near me and cuddle instead of playing and seems to enjoy observing his littermates play instead of joining in. But I'm not sure yet. I have bought a second brand of dry food (the brand they were initially giving at the shelter) and leave both brands out for them to choose. I also opened two new brands of wet food tonight but the black one fully snubbed them, including the liquid treat I offered him. He threw up twice yesterday so maybe that's partly it? (I emailed the shelter) He didn't get sick today and ate well at 6am, 11am, but not since then. He did that yesterday too - ate wet food the first two meals. He may be eating dry at night - the first evening I had him he refused wet food all night but when I came home at midnight I saw him eat dry food...

All seem to drink water and stools are usually formed/solid. The black one had a soft formed one last night but this evening was normal again. I add a smidge of forteflora in their breakfast.

How much is the minimum a kitten this age should eat? Any tips to get them to eat more? Not sure if I am over thinking things, I tend to worry more about foster kittens then my own kittens!

Just heading to work, but will check responses tomorrow
 

Sarthur2

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Not only are they adjusting to a new environment without mama cat, they need time to adjust to one brand of dry kitten chow and one brand of wet food. I recommend Purina kitten chow and Fancy Feast kitten or adult pate only. They do not have their adult teeth yet, so no chunks or shreds.

You also may want to purchase a can of powdered PetAg kitten formula, and put a dish down, or even soften the wet food with it. Kittens usually love formula and it provides all the nutrients they need.

I expect by the end of a week they should be eating better and playing more as they get used to things around your house! :)
 

di and bob

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They should be eating as much as they want several times a day, no limit until they are a year old. Because they are young, and especially since they were at a shelter, they may have a touch of feline herpes, or cat flu. It is very common and is not transferable to humans. If they get runny eyes and snneze you will know they got it. Just keep them warm, and offering food until they find something they like.you might try Gerber human infant food in the plain turkey or chicken until they feel better. Goats milk,available at Walmart, is something to try too.I wish you well, bless you for caring for them!
 

ArchyCat

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I noticed last week at my local supermarket that they had tinned/canned condensed goat milk.Next to the condensed cow milk.

Kittens/young cats should be provided as much food as they can eat, 24 hours a day. They need the calories/fa/protein until they reach 12 months/one year of age. Feed them Kitten Milk Replacement (buy the dry form) and just make as much as you need. All food should be "kitten" form. They are growing plus they will be hyper-active. Need all the calories they can get.

Provide updates please!
 
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lizzieloo

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I'm definitely not limiting their food, just asking what the minimum amount is that they should eat so I'm not worrying that they are undereating excessvely.

I came home and I'm happy to say there was no vomit anywhere, so that makes me happy. I put out some wet food with water mixed in at 330pm and 2/3 ate some. The girl didn't but she is very high energy and I see her at the dry food frequently grazing so I don't worry too much. The black one is the one I worry the most about but he ate a bit and also ate some at breakfast. Not near as much as I think he should though!

I did pick up some of the chicken baby food as that worked on my feral litters. I'm going to offer two kinds of wet food tonight and if he doesn't eat either than I'm going to add some of the baby food. Then I'll look into some of the milk options if I have to. I'll keep you updated!
 

danteshuman

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At that age and stage I would feed them 4-6 times a day of 1/4- 1/2 kitten formula & half fancy feast pate (mix it together to make a gruel.) Then at night when you sleep let them chow down on the dry kitten food they are used to. You can leave the gruel down for them to nibble on for 2-3 hours if your house is room temp. Get them eating the gruel. In a week slowly reduce the amount of formula from their gruel (over the next month.) In a month you can start reducing their wet food meals. If you think they need to snack on dry food between meals, let them have a little. Do not feed them any fish wet foods or all they will eat is fish! (Not good for them.)

⭐Give them 3/4 original dry food they are used to & 1/4 new dry food for a couple weeks. Then mix it 1// & 1/2 for a week or two, before switching to a new food.

⭐Add a bit of baby rice cereal to the kitten gruel to form up the stools of the one kitten. You made need to feed that kitten separately to avoid stopping up the others.

⭐Dry food is like getting a baby hooked on Frosted Flakes, which is why I don’t recommend feeding them dry food 24/7 if when they grow up, you want them to eat wet. If they are going to eat dry food when they grow up, then leave kitten dry food out 24/7. However expect them to prefer it over healthy wet food! (Ask a preschooler if they want Frosted Flakes or an omelette. The kid will choose the sugar!)

⭐ A great rule of thumb is if they are under 4 months & look hungry, feed them.
 

danteshuman

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Oh and fancy feast chicken broth is good for sick kitties (you can add that gerber rice cereal if needed.) The broth just gives them liquid and keeps them going for a day or two. It is not real cat food but in a pinch it works.

My mom took in my geriatric cat (who refused to move) who has kidney failure. So we are just trying to get him to eat (anything!) The broths work well for giving a sick cat extra calories or keeping a sick cat hydrated.

⭐Many kittens get dewormed and it often gives the poor dears the runs! One litter I raised just seemed to have an awful reaction to the formula or something that gave them bloody diarrhea. The rice cereal and medicine solved the problem. In your case you just need the rice cereal.

⭐You can give them whole goats milk instead of the KRF. Also you can give them probiotics. Jackie was prone to occasional runs until at 6 months I put him on probiotics for 2 months. I guess because he was a bottle baby he never got the good gut flora he needed. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
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lizzieloo

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In case you guys are looking for another update, all kittens are doing fabulous! Appetites increased gradually, although the black one started to decrease so I took him in to see their vet. They confirmed he was not sick and to keep trying different brands, especially "junk food" brands. I tried a bunch and it turns out his tastes ran a bit expensive and if I bought the high end brands he ate more than both his siblings. He has finally gained back what he lost and is starting to play. They will be getting altered this week and then adopted out!
 
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