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New kittens- runt not nursing well?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi I'm new here and just have a few questions

One of our cats just had 4 kittens yesterday morning and they are so cute This is my first time with this experience so I'm a little clueless about how to care for them (mama and babies). There is one runt who is about half the size of the other 3 and doesn't seem to be able to nurse well. He has a hard time searching for a nipple and doesn't seem to understand how to latch on. Plus since he is smaller he gets trampled and pushed under by the other kittens. Last night my hubby was able to help him get nursing and he did ok once he got going, but I'm worried that if we aren't helping him he's not going to nurse much and since he's already so small I'm worried he will not do well. Is there anything I should be doing to help him more, or will he just learn? Also, the mama cat sometimes rolls over onto the kittens and the bigger ones can crawl out but the runt just whines, I'm afraid that she might smother him, is that possible? She does care for him, and is always checking on him if I hold him to make sure he's ok, so I think she would know if she was hurting him. And the mama keeps coming into our kitchen as if to find something else to eat, could she maybe need something else to eat besides her normal cat food?

Sorry that was so long, but any help would be very appreciated Oh, and here's pics of them too
post #2 of 12
Firstly, you should be feeding the mother cat kitten food. I hope your doing this. Also, feed her as much as she wants, because the babies need it as much as she does.

Alot of members will suggest that if the 'runt' doesn't get any better, then to start bottle feeding him/her with KMR from the vet.

As caring goes, just make sure they are warm, and that you change the blanket every 1-2 days. And keep an eye on the runt, don't leave it too long until you put him on KMR, they can deteriorate very quickly.

They are very cute kittens by the way.

Good luck,


PS Welcome to TCS
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I had read something about having the mom on kitten food but wasn't sure if it was necessary. I will get some kitten food today when I go to the store.
post #4 of 12
Kitten food has much more of the nutrients needed for growth, which is why the mother should be on it during pregnancy and nursing, so's that the kittens have more chance of growing and developing properly. Get a good quality one, try Hi-Life or James Wellbeloved from a pet store - not supermarket own brands as they can often be 'junk food' for cats.

Are you keeping any of the kittens?
post #5 of 12
I agree getting high quality kitten food, not just Purina, or some store brand.

Second, make sure mom is inside 24/7 until she is spayed. She can get pregnant again already.

I suggest getting some KMR & a bottle. You'll want to start bottle feeding the runt to help him/her along. You can call your vet for advice on how to bottle feed. Check out for more info. on bottle feeding.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
We aren't planning to keep any of the kittens, but that might change. I love baby kitties so much, it's the adult ones I have a hard time with lol. I think we might keep just one of them. A friend might want 2 of them, of course not until they are older.

Thanks for the info on the kitten food and feeding the runt. I went down a little bit ago and he seemed to be nursing ok, but I'll keep an eye on him today and if he's still having trouble I will call the vet.

I have separated our other 2 cats from them (Stars chased them out of the room after she had the kittens) and am planning to get them all fixed as soon as we have the money. Definitely don't need any more kittens.
post #7 of 12
What a gorgeous cat! The kits are pretty , too.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Runt was doing a little better nursing, but not well enough that I was comfortable with it, so I bought some KMR and just gave him his first litle bottle. He was not happy with me at first and pooped all over my hand, but he drank it down quickly. I hope he'll be able to nurse better soon, but until then it's good to know he's getting something. Didn't have time to swing by the pet store for some good kitten food for Stars, but I'll do that tomorrow.

Thanks again for everyone's help
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've been giving Runt the KMR and he doesn't like me feeding him lol, but will drink it down pretty quick. One question though- mama cat seems to like the taste of it and won't leave me alone while I'm feeding Runt, she keeps trying to lick it off him or the bottle. Should I try to feed Runt separated from her or just keep doing it how I do? I don't want her to disown him or anything by me taking him away to feed him. Right now I just sit by their blankets and hold Runt still on the blanket or in my hand while giving him the bottle.

They are doing well though, I turned up the heater in there (they are in our storage room) so it's warmer and have changed the blanket and will change it every day or so. I took another pic so you can see how small Runt is, and cuz I just like sharing pics lol He's the tiny one on the right.
post #10 of 12
Woh, you didn't need to tell us which one he is!! He's tiny. I wouldn't take him too far from the mum. She's probably just wondering what you're doing to him. Would you be able to feed him while the others are nursing next to him, as Stars may not notice so much then and there will be less chance of him being rejected.

Hopefully his weight will get up quickly now that he's getting regular food.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
I think I'll try feeding him while she's nursing to see if it will distract her.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I think Stars was getting annoyed with me touching her kittens too much because she moved them all to a tiny box in the room under our stairs. I found her a bigger box and put a sheet in it and moved them to that in the same area, hopefully she'll keep them in there, I don't want them getting lost or hurt in the pile of junk and boxes we have in there. Runt is nursing better so I think I'll hold off on the formula for now so I don't freak Stars out again.
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