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New kitten gorging on food - please help

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I just got two 6-week old kittens a week ago. (Guess that would make them 7 weeks now...) One of them has been begging for food every time we are eating, and has been eating her dry food until her belly is swollen. First visit to vet isn't for another week and I am worried that something is wrong with this little one. I believe this one was the runt of the litter, and she is much smaller than her sister. Is it normal for her to be eating until her belly is so swollen? Please help, I've never had any pets before.
post #2 of 9
Part of the problem is that you got them far too young. Kittens need to be with mom/siblings for at least 10-12 weeks. At least you got littermates which helps. Mom would still be nursing those kittens at that age and they would SLOWLY learn to be eating solid foods.

Their little tummys can't hold much and without nursing maybe they are trying to make up for it. I'd be feeding them canned kitten food at that age, not the dry food.

Try to get them to the vet for shots and worming and general health check up - they can be spayed by 3-4 months old; sooner the better. Kittens as young as 4 months can come into heat and get pregnant.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I didn't even intend to get them. A man and his son were wandering around the flea market with the last two of the litter, I saw them and fell in love.

So no dry food at all, just wet food? Is there cat milk I can get them? The guy who gave them to me said they were already on dry food at 6 weeks old when I got them. What's best for their age? I'm completely clueless about all of this.
post #4 of 9
Wet food is ideal for general health, for life. Go for high quality, not grocery store brands.

Feed them 2-4x a day, restricted amounts. Gorging can cause digestive issues.
post #5 of 9
Important things have been mentioned... wet over dry , frequent meals and quality and a vet check... they could have worms ( the vet will treat that.. you may want to add KMR it is a kitten milk replacer avail at big and small pet stores
post #6 of 9
The kitten my fella came home with was also too young to be away from her mother. She didn't gorge but rather, was too easily distracted to eat.

There's a type of nursing milk replacement called KMR and if you have a Petsmart, they sell it there. You can get the pre-mixed in cans, or powder to reconstitute as milk. And as you also probably know, cow's milk isn't a good choice.

Since the kitties are already eating solid food, you may not have success in getting them to simply lap the KMR milk and may have to mix it. I used kitten food and mixed a teaspoon of KMR powder, water and canned food together to make a slurry and Simone the kitten would eat that. I gave her 4 small meals over the course of the day. First thing getting up, once again before leaving work, when I got home and again before bed.

If your kitties aren't used to canned food, they may not want to eat it. You may want to tempt them by mixing in Gerber's chicken baby food, or Gerbers beef baby food. Make sure it's just chicken/water or beef/water and avoid those that have onion or garlic in it. You probably already know this, but these things can be toxic to kitties. It bears mentioning, just in case though.

For some reason, the baby food is wildly appealing to cats and I keep some on hand for all of them to offer as a treat and to use if they need medicine that can be disguised in the food.

My kitten lost interest in the kitten canned food early, but will eat Wellness brand kitten dry. She gets adult canned food now (she's just now 5 months) plus the Wellness kitten dry.

The Wellness is very rich though so it's good to mix it with the current food, gradually increasing the ratio of the new food with the old food so the kittens don't get diarrhea.

Canned foods that you might try first Nutro kitten, and then some all stage canned like Felidae or Wellness if they don't want the kitten canned.

I'd probably avoid Friskies and Fancy Feast canned kitten or adult if possible. Whiskas, Sheba, 9 Lives, Paws are at the low end too but not necessarily on price.

And even though your kittens are young, who knows what would have happened to them had you not come along? People who get rid of kittens at young ages probably would simply get rid of them if someone didn't adopt them, so you've done a good thing. Good luck with the KMR!
post #7 of 9
Wet kitten food and feeding times cuts down on overeating. I have never free fed my cats.
When they were kittens I moved them from dry to wet slowly and I only give them a few kibbles for something to crunch on from time to time.
post #8 of 9
The "claims" of eating solids at 6 weeks are only partially true. Most kittens will start nibbling on mom's food at that age but prefer to still nurse. By 8-9 weeks they are more/less done nursing and mostly on solid canned with a little dry on the side.

I'd get some good quality canned kitten food and feed that with a small dish of some dry on the side. Feed about 3-4 times a day - only a teaspoon or two. Watch how much they eat and adjust accordingly. Remember kittens are nursing through out the day.

Too many people take kittens from mom as soon as they are nibbling on solid food and think "oh they are weaned now, lets get rid of them" - that's the worse thing they can do.
post #9 of 9
I rescued two kittens at ~4.5/5 weeks old from my grandmother's back yard last summer... What we did was feed them about 4-6 meals a day of wet (canned kitten food) mixed with whiskas "cat milk" to moisten it up even more and add more nutrients. I could only get them to eat maybe 3 tablespoons each at that time.... I slowly decreased the amount of cat milk I added to the wet food. I also started leaving crushed kitten dry food out (I put it in a ziploc and ground it with a meat tenderizer). I tried mixing some cat milk in with the crushed dry to help them eat it. By 6/7 weeks I could leave out crushed dry all day for them and still do the feedings. They didn't much care for the dry though.

It's not a good idea to leave dry food out moistened with anything though, as it can grow bacteria pretty rapidly. I'd suggest getting some good quality cat/kitten canned food...mine ate mostly nutro max and authority (petsmart brand) canned food... It may seem expensive, but a 6oz can goes a long way with 2 kittens. Petsmart and even walmart carry the "cat milk" it comes in a purple box. You keep it in the fridge once opened and it can safely last up to a week in the fridge.

If you aren't already doing so, I'd suggest confining them to one small room with their litterpan, food/water bowls, etc. For now. It's not safe leaving them out and you wouldn't believe what two small kittens can get into! (at least they don't have thumbs or it would be worse).

It's also a good idea to start early with the bathes and nail clipping, etc. The sooner the better. I clipped my kittens nails even when they were 6 weeks old, more than 1 time a week as they grow very fast and are very sharp (they'll leave little pricks on furniture and you, as they are just starting to retract their claws). To trim the nails, it's best to have 1 person help you while they are so small...I'd suggest getting a small pair of nail scissors or even human baby nail trimmers for the job. You don't have to take off much at first, just the very tips to get them used to it. It would also be great if you could go ahead and give them a small cardboard scratching box to use, and run their paws over it (like they were scratching) and praise them for it... The sooner you start, hopefully will help avoid scratching problems later.

One other word of advice... Because they're away from mum so soon, you need to act like her and teach them what is and is not appropriate... when they want to play rough with you/play bite you, don't let them. Scruff them (pull the loose skin at the back of their neck and lift off the ground or gently shake) and hiss at them.. This will let them know that you don't like it when they play rough with you. That way, you will hopefully avoid problems with agressive cats (that like to bite and scratch you as play) when they're older. Mine quickly learned to channel their kitten play to one-another instead of me and are not agressive at all now.

HTH, and good luck with your kittens!
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