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Teaching kittens to drink

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My three foster kittens are about 5.5 weeks old and are no longer being bottle fed. They are on wet food with extra water mixed in which they have no problem lapping up but they still don't know how to lap liquid. I've been told to give them some kitten milk in a bowl and only Lester (the orange food wader) has figured out how to drink it. So have you guys any tips? I've tried putting some on my finger and also using the teat from the bottle to get them interested but it isn't working.

They also keep pooing outside the litter tray, they now have 2 litter trays down so I'm hoping that makes a difference. Their tray got fully changed every day and scooped at night, it was very clean!
post #2 of 9
I find that kittens will "drink" if you make the kitten canned food more soupy. That gives them a little extra water and they eventually figure out that the water in the dish is ok. The will sneeze and cough a bit at first, but get the hang of it quickly. I would not just put out milk for them to drink - give them normal water. I've had kittens was young as 3 weeks old drinking water cause mom did

As far as the pooping - it takes awhile. And maybe the pan is too clean. Try putting the poop in the pan so that they get the idea and will be attracted as to where they should go. You might even get a little of the cat attract litter for awhile.
post #3 of 9
What I did with just one of the kittens was dipped their nose in it, then it's just a refex to lick it off their nose. I also allowed mom in so she could show them. Feeding time was normally off limits to mom because she would be in there eating lots of it...she has her own same food down in the kitchen. Anyway, I ddin't have to water their food down either...they just scarfed it down LOL.

Try dipping their noses.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Daisy (the tortie) is now able to lap, well she laps the water I mixed their food in. So now it's just little Annie, the others lap the water from the top of the food before she gets a chance so later on I will let her have a go by herself and see what happens. Thankfully we have run out of formula anyway so it's plain old water for them now. I so wish they had a mum, sounds like everything would be a lot easier if they did.

As for the pooing, it's all in the trays so far, the newspaper the trays are on had been peed on though. I've got a feeling when I get up in the morning to feed them they will have pooed everywhere, it seems to happen on a night for some reason.

Another question! When they eat, their tums seem to inflate, Lester is especially bad and I'm finding it quite scary. Why is this happening? I've looked after kittens this age in the past and this didn't happen to them. They are due to be wormed again this week but are up to date so far.

I have so much to learn, good job you lot are here!
post #5 of 9
With my rescue, I started by mixing in extra liquids (usually kitten formula, sometimes water) with his food, also I would bring him by his water dish and dip my finger in, letting him lick it off my finger. As he got older, I put less and less extra liquid in his food, and would do the finger thing with him as often as possible, slowly moving my finger closer to the surface of the liquid. Eventually, I would have my finger partially submerged so he was lapping from the dish and my finger at the same time. It took a while, but once I had my whole finger below the surface he figured out to lap it on his own whenever he wanted. It took lots of patience, but we did it!

Also, If you are trying to teach them to drink water, I find it is harder to do, as they don't seem to realize there's anything in there at first, so they give you this funny look like 'why did you bring me here momma? there's nothing in there!" try teaching them to lap kitten formula first, then move on to retraining them to lap water when they are older.
post #6 of 9
You may need more litter boxes. Some cats want to separate the pee and poo. Are they peeing just on the paper by the litter box or other places around the house, too?
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've got 2 litter boxes down now on towels instead of newspaper and they've pooed on them in the night, so now I've got to try tin foil (been told by someone from CP)... I must admit, I'm a bit tired of cleaning poo up off the floor!

All 3 are now lapping the watery food!

Any thoughts on the very round bellies? They are now in the process of being wormed, they need 2 more doses.
post #8 of 9
Mine copy their mother. I have one big litterbox and 2 baby boxes in their room. I find some poo on the floor but not much.
I don't clean the boxes as much and they seem to get it. As soon as I find no poo I will clean daily.
post #9 of 9
I recently raised an orphaned 3 week old kitten. I had her dewormed when she was about 4 weeks old, and she still "inflated" after being fed. I think this is normal for kittens, as my kittens that were raised by their mom also had this happen after nursing.

As for the poo on the floor, my ophan (Annie) learned how to use the litter box gradually. Just when I thought she had it down, I'd find poo in my room. Eventually, she started only going in the box.

I tried to teach her to drink water at first, but it didn't work. Then I read that the amount of water cats drink depends on their diet- if the kitten is eating watered down cat food, then she doesn't really need to drink water. Annie started drinking on her own once she started eating kibble.

I hope this is somewhat helpful!
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