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Don't know what to do

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
About a week ago I adopted an 8 week old kitten named Dexter, and on Saturday he was put to sleep. For some reason or another he had to be bottle fed, which caused him to have no immune system. By the time they put him to sleep all his organs were failing =(

I now have a new cat, Liam, roughly the same age. The first day I took him home he was sneezing a bit. And now it seems he has developed an upper respitory infection. They have me giving him Amoxicillin twice a day, which I started giving him on Sunday.

My concern is he is not eatting anything, and hasn't eatten much for about a day. I've tried all kinds of different foods, and he just doesn't want it. He won't drink either, so I've taken to using an eye dropper to keep him hydrated.

Is this all normal? Should his appetite return in a few days? Or do I need to 'make" him eat? I can hardly picture myself forcing him to eat, I just couldn't do that without feeling like a cruel owner.

If anyone can help me, I feel so down. I keep fearing I'm going to loose him too.

I fully plan on taking him to the vet again if he doesn't improve. But I'm a college student, and in less than a week I've spent $500, and I cannot afford to keep doing so =(
post #2 of 5
The antibiotic mainly treats secondary bacterial infections. The URI is a virus, much like a cold, and if the cat was in fairly normal health, he should recover after a week or so.

When they can't smell, cats don't eat well. There are others here who can suggest various tricks for getting him to eat, and it's important that he get some nutrition. At that age, they can crash very quickly.
post #3 of 5
I'm in the process of taking care of four 5 week old kittens that have URI's the mother is a stray cat. She seems to be very young, because when i'd go over to the kittens she runs away, usually the mother would protect them til death if she had too. I judge her to be about 9 or 10 months old. The kittens had runny noses, there eyes are all running some are sneezing. I had to take them from her and bring them to the Vet. I got a lot of medications for them. I have to feed them every couple of hours. I do it with an eye dropper and kitten milk. Once I put the dropper in the mouth they will swallow it. I know this is very difficult. If you put the eye dropper slightly in the side of the mouth just behind the front fang, it goes in pretty easily and they are forced to swallow after a while they look for more. After you do it they are fine. I have to put medicine in their eyes plus they are getting ear drops for mites. I also bought a tube of nutri-cal that will give them an appetite and energy. I wish you good luck.

post #4 of 5
First, let me say that I'm going to be very blunt/straightforward/"straightup" with you - please don't interpret this as rudeness. You and your kitten are on the edge of a potentially dire situation.

Originally Posted by Sawyer View Post
...My concern is he is not eatting anything, and hasn't eatten much for about a day. I've tried all kinds of different foods, and he just doesn't want it. He won't drink either, so I've taken to using an eye dropper to keep him hydrated...Is this all normal?...
Yes, all this is very mormal. As mrblanche said, cats rely on their sense of smell (and taste) for appetite. Just like we lose our ability to smell and taste with a bad "cold", cats lose these as well.
...Should his appetite return in a few days?
Or do I need to 'make" him eat?
I can hardly picture myself forcing him to eat, I just couldn't do that without feeling like a cruel owner.
The fact is: if you do NOT help him to eat, that will be the ultimate cruelty!

Here is what happens when a cat is not getting the required amount of nutrients: the cat's liver turns to stored body fat as a replacement. However, what's unique with cats is that (unlike humans and other animals) a cat's liver cannot metabolize body fat very efficiently. So, the liver continues to draw on body fat but it cannot process it quickly enough and, very soon the liver itself turns fatty. This is a life threatening condition called Fatty Liver Disease or Hepatic Lipidosis. There are already two cases of this on the forum today...you can read them here and here.

So, you do need to help him eat until he can return to eating for himself. We call this "assist-feeding". You need to start this immediately.

Go to the Vets and pick up a couple of cans of Hill's a/d and a few needleless syringes. Mix a small quantity of the food with just enough water so that you have a "slurry" that will flow through a syringe. You'll need to hold your kitten, insert the syringe into the corner of his mouth and "inject" a small amount of the mixture into the side posket of his mouth - NOT straight down his throat. Allow him to swallow before giving him more. The danger here is that - especially if it becomes a struggle - is that he can aspirate the food, because that can cause another very dangerous condition in his lings - aspiration pneumonia. You'll need to do many feedings like this every day until he is once again able to eat for himself. You can also continue to give water in the same way.

There's a great website about all of this here and, if you'd like help you'll find both the experts who created that site and other newbies like yourself in an Internet support group right here 24/7/365.

One more thing: even after his senses of smell and taste return in a few days, you will still be giving him the antibiotic, Amoxicillin. These meds can also cause a cat to lose appetite - so you may well have to continue assist-feeding until that has cleared his system.

A cat should never be allowe to go without eating - never, ever take a "wait-and-see" approach. The extra danger with kittens is that they can "fade" very very quickly.
post #5 of 5
Bless you for adopting another kitty! I don't know that I could do that so soon after losing a baby. We adopted a kitty a couple of years ago who started sneezing when we got her home and then, because she was so malnourished, almost died from her URI.

You new little one does need to eat and you may need to syringe feed him. However, if you can get some Science Diet a/d from the vet it'll help your little one. Not only is it packed full of nutrients, it's stinky! If you can't get it, then find the stinkiest canned food you can find, put a bit on a plate, nuke it for about 10 seconds or until it's warm, but not hot and try to feed him that. Warming the food up enhances the aroma and makes it easier for the kitty to smell, thus making him want to eat it. You can also make the Kitten Goop from scratch to feed your guy. The recipe is in the Pregnant Cat and Kitten forum.

In addition to the meds, steam your kitty in the bathroom to help break up the congestion in his little nose. Just get the bathroom nice and steamy, then take the little guy in there and stay with him until the steam dissipates. Or, if you take a shower in the morning or evening, have him stay in the bathroom with you while you shower. If you have a vaporizer, run it 24/7 and isolate him in a room by himself if possible. (The vaporizer will be more effective if it's near him.) If you can't isolate him, then put the vaporizer near where he sleeps. Add eucalyptus oil to the water or in the little well. Eucalyptus oil helps open the nasal passages.

I've also put eucalyptus oil on an old wash rag and laid it near the kitty. You have to be very careful with this, though, because if ingested, eucalyptus oil can be fatal. Be sure to keep the rag out of the reach of your kitty.

It's a slow and gradual process, but with lots of patience and TLC your little guy can recover.

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