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Kitten Won't Drink Water Out Of A Bowl

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My 7 week old will try but he'll stick he's little head in to far and get wet so he'll run off. Anyway I have been giving him water though a bottle a couple of hours after I give him milk or some canned food but he's starting to not want to eat though a bottle and have tried to get him to watch his big sister but he won't go for that either so I'm getting a little worried that he'll get dehydrated. Please help.
post #2 of 11
Well, I don't know what to tell you about how to get the little guy to drink water out of the bowl. I have 4 week old kittens that just learned that neat trick the other day. I figure they learned from their mom. If you're really concerned about the kitten getting dehydrated, you could feed him canned kitten food for a while until he gets the hang of the water dish. The water in the canned food would keep him from getting too dehydrated. Just an idea...
post #3 of 11

Why are you giving a 7 week old kitten milk? Almost all cats are laxtose intolerant. He's not taking a bottle because he's becoming weaned. You could try putting a ping pong ball in the water. The reason he gets wet is because cats have no depth perception so that they can't see where the water starts in the bowl. You can also try getting a kitty fountain out of one of those gadget catalogs (Lillian Vernon). The water runs continuously so she can see the ripples and know where the water level is. If you want to try and get some water into him, you could also try a plain syringe (no needle). Put it up to his lips and push a little water into his mouth (or teeth if his mouth is closed). He may be more receptive to that.

Good luck.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm giving him KRM because I heard kittens nurse until there 8 to 10 weeks old.
post #5 of 11
Oh, when you said milk I thought you meant cow's milk not KMR. Good idea. You might want to try putting a little KMR mixed with canned food. He may walk in it and make a mess, but he may go for it.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help everyone
post #7 of 11
You could also try putting the water in a saucer or small lid. Then its more like a puddle, not so daunting. The kitten may just need an in-between step before going up to a big bowl.
post #8 of 11
Cats of all ages tend to eat, drink, and sleep according to their bodies' needs. The kitten was probably getting enough liquid through the formula you are giving her. The way to teach them to lap is often to give them the formula with a little canned kitten food well mashed up. Then gently shove the kitten's face into the mixture (even its paws). It will clean itself off and get a taste for the food. Most kititens can't lap up food or water in the beginning. Every day add a little more of the canned for, then leaving part of the food in separated chucks in a bit of formula, and finally just the canned food. Some kittens run through this in about a week and they are ready to search out dry food (I usually figure it is time for the great leap to dry food when my kittens begin to gnaw on the huge dog kibbles).

Most learn from their mothers' example, but some don't. I have 2 grown cats who almost never lap their water, but dip their paws in carefully cupped upwards and take the moisture that way. All kittens should probably be weaned by 6 or 7 weeks max. They still nurse from their mothers for the combination of warmth, contact, and perhaps a native instinct that says as long as they are dependent mama will stay with them and groom them and care for them. They will happily "nurse" from a totally dry female dog, and will suckle on the relatively hairless skin of a male dog's belly. It isn't hunger. It's the feeling of cuddling.

If your kitten doesn't want to eat, she is probably not hungry. Check her with the vet and make sure she is not sick. Then perhaps feed her more frequent meals that are much smaller and include canned kitten food (which has enough water in it to satisfy her daily needs). She will set her own pace. After a while you can set out dry kitten food, and eventually she will want it. She will wean herself from the formula plus canned food mush. Always keep fresh water available. Some cats won't drink from the same water other cats or the dogs use. They also may not drink if the water dish is very close to the litter box. Cats, like people, are individuals with individual things that they like or things that turn their stomachs. Just observe her for a while.

Have fun. Catherine
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's help. He finally figured out how to drink out of the water bowl now if I could get him to just stop sleeping in his food bowl he'd be all set
post #10 of 11
For what it's worth, my adult cat does not drink from a bowl. However, if I am running water in the bathroom, he likes to drink from the tap. Sometimes he drinks out of the stream and sometimes from the puddle around the drain. One of my aunts had a wet bar in her den with paddle-type handles, like the ones at a doctor's office, and her cat would turn the water on by himself if he was thirsty. Neat trick. My cat will also drink from the commode after a flush, but I don't think that's terribly sanitary so I try to discourage it.
post #11 of 11
Yes, this drinking from the tap is a great trick, but most of my cats don't learn it, even when I show them how. Some, however, seem born with the art. I often set the bathroom sink tap just barely closed, so it doesn't drip really, but it forms a kind of siphon effect like you get from those nice hamster or gerbil water dispensers. I have seen them now in a few pet shops here in large sizes for cats. One thing I do for all the kittens that come into my home is wash them several times in the bathroom sink during the first month or so. They grow up never fearing a bath, which makes things like dripping water, the lawn sprinklers, or falling in the bath or toilet funny rather than frightening. If you really need to clean their fur of some kind of noxious substances they have picked up in the street, you can do it without being clawed to death.

As for sleeping in the food dish, is there some reason why the cat shouldn't? At some point, it will outgrow the dish, and then it will find more adult sleeping places. Is it perhaps looking for a box to sleep in to make it feel more secure? Many cats crave baskets or small carry-boxes when they are young, so I make them a little nest of towels or old sweaters in old laundry baskets or carry boxes with the doors removed, and they seem very happy to sleep in them.

Put the cat down to sleep in several of these optional spots -- try positioning the box or basket near you at night. I would bet it fills the need for security.
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