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Very young kitten (2 months?) not eating

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I've been given a tiny little furball who was found on the sidewalk during a storm yesterday morning. He would have died for sure if it hadn't been for a friend who picked him up.

After picking him up the friend carried him to a vet, who visited him and said he's about two months old and healthy. He gave her a kind of dry food made of very small pellets that the kitten shouldn't have trouble eating.

The poor thing has to have grown in a house, because there were no other cats nearby and he apparently didn't have the instinct, or the energy, to find shelter from the rain. He also isn't showing any sings that he's a wild cat (clawing at everything, hissing all the time, being generally asocial and restless, etc). Actually he seems the kindest, cutest little creature, friendly and curious.
I suspect he was abandoned.

Now: the cat has gone since he was picked up without eating OR drinking. He is showing no interest whatsoever in the dry food, and when my friend tried giving him some water from a needle-less syringe he averted his mouth and didn't want to drink.

I got him a few hours ago; I gave him his own room (my living room, which I'm almost never in normally), put some cat litter in a corner (which he seems to know how to use, as he did pee a very, very small amount in it) and put two small bowls with some water and dry food nearby.
In the beginning I thought he wasn't eating due to the very bad day he'd had, but it's been hours that he's been walking around in my living room and he hasn't yet touched food or drink. Instead, he keeps meowing, and only stops when I cuddle him. The moment I stop cuddling he starts meowing again.
I'm starting to get seriously worried here. He's already very tiny, I don't think he can afford to go much longer without food or drink.

I'm also not sure he actually is two months old, because he is so very, very tiny, but the doctor said he's weaned, so he can't be that young either.

I'm at a loss here; I love cats, but I don't really know much about how to keep them, never having owned one before.

Oh, here's a movie I made of the little creature, so you can see just how small he is:

What do I do? Am I worrying too much? Will he start eating on his own accord, eventually? Do I have to give him homogenized food? Maybe get him to another vet?

Please help!

post #2 of 26
He is very young. He needs to be given kitten formula and canned wet food at that age - mix it together into a nice soupy gruel. The canned food is smelly enough that most cats, and kittens, cannot resist. He's likely never had or even seen dry, so isn't recognizing it. Start him eating by getting some on your finger and rubbing it on his mouth - on his gums and teeth so he'll have to lick it off. And he needs this tonight - little ones can't go without food and it's been too long already. If he isn't eating by morning I suggest you take him vet for a thorough check.

As for being a pet before, maybe not. His body language (butt down, tail tucked) says he's unsure but at that age he would really want contact and care - so he's warmed up to people quickly.
post #3 of 26
Here's a thought and please excuse it if it's stupid, but as little kitty likes being handled so much and it's dry food...have you tried hand feeding him?

Adorable video by the way. SO CUTE! I hope he starts eating and drinking soon.
post #4 of 26
Ditto what strange wings said. He is tiny and young. I have only raised 3 orphaned kittens and it does help to rub some soupy wet food on their gums.
Dry food can be added once he gets some nutrition and gets the hang of eating instead of nursing. The kitten may not have been fully weaned. I have used the "Just Born" brand. Walmart carries it and it was easier for my orphan with digestive issues. Keep working to get food in him and keep him warm. No direct contact with a heating pad. Check out this site for more info. http://www.kitten-rescue.com/
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
I don't have anything suitable for a kitten in my home, and the shops are closed... it's the middle of the night here (actually very early morning), and I've been up all night playing with him, cuddling him and trying to get him to eat the dry food.

I do have some meat paste made for spreading on bread, though, and - to my great joy - he lapped it up with enthusiasm. While I'm sure it's in no way optimal for tiny kittens, it did just fine for emergency food. At least now I know he won't starve until I can get him some proper kitten food and formula when the stores open.

Me and the kitten (I still have to name him, by the way) thank you dearly for your advice
post #6 of 26
Oh I'm glad he has eaten something. I'm sure it won't matter too much right now that it wasn't cat food, just so long as he ate.
post #7 of 26
I bet he dosent now how to eat real well yet. You can get him kitten formula in the am and try can kitten food. He is cute.
post #8 of 26
get some meat baby food, too [read the label - no onion or garlic]. 4 out of 5 of mine think it's manna from heaven! i keep 2-3 jars on hand just in case i need something to tempt an appetite...
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
He's eating wet cat food with great enthusiasm (I got the soft pureed type meant for young kittens), but he doesn't seem very interested in drinking. He may or may not have drunk a very small amount of water - I think the level in the cup has gone down a bit, but then again it was early morning after a night without sleep when I checked last, so I can't count on my senses being right.

He really doesn't want to know about the (ridiculously expensive) cat formula I got him this morning, though. I put some on my finger, then tapped it on his nose so he'd lick it off - which he did, but then ignored the rest of the milk which I was trying to make him smell and eat off a small spoon.

I poured some in a small dish, and he hasn't touched it yet - granted, it's only half an hour since I did it so maybe he'll change his mind.

What cat knows how to eat from a dish but doesn't know how to drink? Should I start feeding him the milk from a bottle? From a syringe straight in his mouth?

Also, he seems to go on standby whenever I'm not in the room. He picks his favourite spot under the bookshelf, plops himself there and that's where I find him whenever I go back in the room. Only once I found him somewhere else, on his towel in the box I set up for him. When I do get back in the room he starts walking around, meowing and generally being a cat, but walk out of the room and he meows a bit (which I'm interpreting as "noooooo please don't go away!!!"), then he'll again go under the bookshelf.
Maybe he'll start to behave more cat-like after he gets a bit more used to the place...

By the way, I'm in Italy, so no WalMart here.
post #10 of 26
From what i have learned so far, cats get most liquid from the wet food they eat. Unless feeding dry food, which your kitty is not. I would still keep fresh water available for it regardless though. As far as formula have you tried mixing a little bit in with the food and making it even more sloppy than cat food already is? That may help get extra nutrition in it. It is sooo cute by the way!
post #11 of 26
Wow, that kitten is very small and very cute! Good luck with the little baby, and thank you so much for rescuing it. You are a very nice person! I'm glad the kitten is eating!
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
I don't understand him.

He shows no interest whatsoever in a piece of string (maybe he's too small?), and only seems to want me to cuddle him while he stays under the bookshelf. And I'd like to do it, except I can't stay hours upon hours kneeling with a hand stuck under furniture.
When I stop cuddling him he instantly starts meowing in protest, but doesn't come out from under there to let me cuddle him in a more comfortable position.

If I (gently) take him away from his hiding place and cuddle him elsewhere he'll stay for a minute or three, then free himself, maybe scamper about a bit on those tiny legs of his, and then retreat back (you guessed it) under the bookshelf, whereupon he'll resume playing his serenade.

An hour ago I triple-checked my home for anything dangerous, then opened the living room door expecting him to come out of his favourite place to do some exploration. Wishful thinking; he's still under there, meowing because I'm here writing instead of there getting a back ache to cuddle him.

I'm thinking of placing some carton in front of the bookshelf, so he can't go in there. Any other place he'd choose in the living room would be far more comfortable for me to cuddle him in.
post #13 of 26
It takes a little longer for kittens to figure out water - of course there's always the kittens that at a young age will drink and munch down any food, even dry. But for the most part it has to be smelly to really get their attention.
He's not going to figure out the formula that well either as he's not used to eating out of a dish, hence why I said to mix it with the wet food. Just keep offering it from your fingers and get him to follow your fingers down to the food in the dish.

The youngest I've had to care for, though luckily had help, was newborn. On my own I've taken in 3 week olds before, and many kittens of other ages on - and there's always one from a litter that is incredibly stubborn about eating. So don't give up, he will figure it out eventually.
post #14 of 26
Some cats like to play with toys and some don't.

Talley and Harper came to us a little older (10 weeks) and were mostly interested in roughhousing and cuddling together or with us. Keep trying with the toys, but it may be a few weeks before he is interested. Enjoy the cuddling and bonding.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
I think the constant meowing means he's calling his mother. I played on the computer a video of him, and the instant his meows came from the speakers he (in the other room) got in a meowing frenzy.

Now he's scampering about the home, but I get the feeling he's searching for his lost family rather than exploring, because he doesn't really show much interest in places - he just walks around, calling all the time.

Poor thing, I'm so sorry he's no longer with his mom and brothers/sisters.
post #16 of 26
Thank you for taking in this cute kitten!

Tough call regarding the bookshelf. On the one hand, cats of all ages want and need "safe" places, especially when they are in a brand new and scary environment. On the other hand, him insisting on staying under the bookshelf for so long is not good for his socialization since he is harder to reach, or his physical development since he seems to need you to feed him.

So yeah, maybe blocking off access to under the bookshelf is a good idea. But in its place could you maybe provide him with an alternative, like a box of some sort that would be easily accessible by you?

And from your last posting, it does sound like he's lonely. And who could blame him?

This would be a significant decision, obviously, but assuming that you intend to keep this little guy....Is there any chance of you maybe adopting a slightly older cat/kitten (like, say, 6-12 months old) to keep him company and help teach him how to "be a cat"? I know that's a lot to ask, especially for someone who has never owned even one cat before. And you still have a ways to go in terms of getting this kitten on his feet, so to speak. But generally speaking they really do tend to do better in pairs (or more) and they interact and bond with each other in ways that they obviously cannot with humans.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Yes, I considered the idea of getting another cat. It doesn't make too much sense to me to keep just one cat; humans and cats have different needs and habits, so only having one cat tends to make the cat bored and the human frustrated.

Right now, however, I haven't yet decided whether to keep him or give him to someone else. I've fallen in love with him so I'd like to keep him, but I travel often so I'm not sure I can take the responsibility.

We'll see.

He's sleeping on the sofa right now, which is a positive step, so here's to hoping.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

He woke up and has been acting insane for the past hour and a half. He's zipping around my home, meowing as loudly as his small lungs will allow him (which is quite surprisingly loud, by the way). I set it on the litterbox and he did his thing, but then resumed the meowing and running all over the place, with the addition of trying to scale my living room's walls to get past what I'm sure he thinks is just an obstacle inbetween him and his family.

When in desperation I put him in his box and closed the door, he decided to improvise free climbing and damn near choked to death when he got his head stuck inbetween two pieces of carton. I only noticed because the meowing had abruptly stopped; upon freeing him the mishap only served to quiet him down for all of, I dunno, thirty seconds. I fixed the pieces of carton, of course, and won't be closing him in there again, but this kinda shook me.

If he knows I'm in the room he just won't stop screaming ever, whereas if I go away he'll scream for a while and then eventually calm down and get under the bookshelf... only to start the meowing again if he so much as hears me move in the other room.

And it can take him a surprisingly long time to get to the point where he stops; I locked him up in the living room for the past half hour and he's still occasionally yelling.

He has his litter box, his food, his water and his milk, and even some food and some milk mixed, so whatever needs I can see to I have.

I fear I'll have to give him away, I can't possibly live with a tiny fuzzy ball of insanity that keeps screaming bloody murder whenever he's not sleeping. Even if I just keep him locked up in the living room until he grows out of what I hope with all my heart is just a phase, and even if I manage to avoid the descent into madness myself, my neighbours will eventually try to have me crucified.

Please help, I don't know what to do!

Edit: I just went to check on him, and he's lying asleep behind the sofa's back cushion (his second favourite place). He woke up, but then got back to sleep after I started cuddling him, and amazingly didn't start meowing after I left (probably because I managed to move lightly enough not to wake him up).

He's so very sweet, and I so very badly want to keep him... I really hope the next days go better, and my neighbours don't eventually tell me to either evict the cat or be evicted myself.
post #19 of 26
Originally Posted by sailahara View Post
From what i have learned so far, cats get most liquid from the wet food they eat. Unless feeding dry food, which your kitty is not. I would still keep fresh water available for it regardless though. As far as formula have you tried mixing a little bit in with the food and making it even more sloppy than cat food already is? That may help get extra nutrition in it. It is sooo cute by the way!
also adds more liquids, as well! once he's off the formula, you can always add a bit of water to his wet to increase his fluid consumption.
many cats drink more from a cat fountain. there are several different types/brands - don't know what would be available in Italy, tho.
post #20 of 26
Fallingwater - Welcome to the joys of having a young kitten. You're "momma" now and he's bored/lonely/just saw something interesting/needs to poop or pee... well you get the idea. He's going to tell you everything in his own way. Just like with a human baby, crying is the only way to communicate.

I suggest that you don't let him have full run of your home at that age. Keep him in one room for a couple more weeks and only let him out if you're keeping a very close eye on him. And also, little ones like to get underfoot, so be careful.
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Just like with a human baby, crying is the only way to communicate.
Augh, I really don't like human babies. At least feline ones should grow out of the "SCREAM YELL PAY ATTENTION TO ME" phase sooner. :p

I suggest that you don't let him have full run of your home at that age. Keep him in one room for a couple more weeks and only let him out if you're keeping a very close eye on him. And also, little ones like to get underfoot, so be careful.
That's what I'm doing. He doesn't seem particularly interested in exploring the rest of the home, anyway; he just walks around screaming (calling his mom/family, I presume), not really looking at things. I guess what he has now is already a bit of a handful, so I'll give him progressively more access as time passes.

Oh, by the way: he drank some milk/formula. I put some food in a small dish in which I poured some milk; I gave it to him like that, and he ate the food and lapped up some milk while he was at it.
post #22 of 26
I hope that you can manage to give the little one some time to adjust. I took in a little one yesterday morning, he is a little older but still is doing the meowing thing like crazy when im not in his reach. His hiding spot is under my bed. However I am like you and this is my first cat, but everyone here has helped out so much, just have patience it will pay off I'm sure! Good Luck
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm pondering whether I should give him to my mom. She already has a cat, a female of no specific race whose size sorta makes you think of aircraft carriers.

She is relatively social and benign, though when she gets mad she knows how to hurt. She is currently 10 years old. She never had kittens and was sterilized young, but I hope the little furball might spark her motherly instincts and she could become sort of an adopted mom.

Do you think this is a wise idea? My worry is that she might see her territory violated and become hostile, though she hasn't shown any particular hostility to two other cats that have entered her inner sanctum (also known as my mom's home) aside from hissing a little, which I understand is normal.

I also have to overcome the obstacle of my mom, who very explicitly told me she doesn't want another cat. She is, however, just as much a sucker for tiny cute furballs as I am, so after she looks at the little one I'm expecting her to melt in a puddle of sweetness in approximately two seconds.
post #24 of 26
You could always work on convincing her. If she agrees give the kitten a couple weeks to get a little bigger as it is likely your mother's cat may swat at him. He also needs to have his kitten shots soon.
post #25 of 26
You can try to see if the other Cat will be nice to him. Make sure is has his tests fiirst though for feline leukemia.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
At what age does he have to have his shots? I was thinking of bringing him home to test potential mama cat's reaction (and my mom's) straight away, but I'll postpone it if he can pass something to her.

You see, the problem is that I'm supposed to go back to my mom's place next week and stay there for a month, and the kitten obviously has to come with me, so new problems arise if I have to wait longer.

Aside from that, do you think there's any chance of Miki (the potential mama cat) accepting him? What are your experiences?
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