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6 week old kittens- need feeding advice!!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello-

 

I have two six week old kittens and their mom. She was a stray that showed up pregnant one day and gave birth the next so we took them all in. Over the past week or so (since the kittens were approx. five weeks old), mama has started to kick them away when they try to nurse or she starts to nurse and then kicks them off almost just as soon as they latch on. I took all of them to the vet for a check up when the kittens were approx. four weeks old just to get them checked out since they were strays. They all checked out healthy, and my vet actually said I could start giving them solid food then (she recommended Royal Canin Babycat and KMR). Well, I took her advice and tried them on it, but they just weren't interested. I have tried every day since (for 2 weeks or so) and they still only really nibble. As mentioned earlier, mama has only just stopped them from nursing.

 

I have tried canned food, dry food (for very young kittens), KMR, chicken baby food, you name it- they just aren't that interested. To be clear, they will eat a VERY little bit. but they will stop long before I think they have had their fill (only taking a few bites). I have caught one of them eating straight dry food.

I guess my questions/comments would be:

1) Is there anything out there that will whet their appetite enough to catch on to the whole regular food thing?

2) I feel like I have tried everything, and sometimes they will seem to love it, but I try it again and they turn their noses up and "bury" it. Financially, I can't afford to keep buying several different things to always have on hand for them depending on what their taste is for that particular day!

3) How much food should a kitten this age eat per day?

4) As they are eating a little bit every now and again, should I be worried? At what point do I take them to a vet?

 

My only other frustration is that no matter what I put down for them, within seconds mama cat gobbles it up. Even when I offer her the same thing, she eats theirs first and gobbles hers up! If I separate them, putting mama in another room, she yowls and the kittens get distracted and won't eat! I try to leave food out for them so it is always available, but she eats it all! Any advice??

 

Thank you in advance for your help. I have never had kittens this young before, so any advice is appreciated!

post #2 of 13

This is really common.  Sometimes kittens get their fill from mom and just aren't interested in solid food right away... Over the next couple of weeks this will change.  Mom probably lets them nurse more than you think.  If not, they would be more interested in the solid food.  Some kittens are adventurous and will start on it about 4 weeks old while others take awhile. 

 

Don't stress about it but it has been my experience that the vet recommended diets aren't usually that appealing to them.  So try Halo or Wellness or something yummy.... You can try dry, too, in these.  But they are usually yummier and more appealing to kitties.

 

My biggest advice is to not frustrate yourself so much.  They are getting what they need from momma or they would be eating.  Let momma wean them and once she starts not letting them nurse enough to satisfy them, they will eat solid food. 

post #3 of 13

They will wean themselves by exploring and starting to eat her food.  Make sure it's in shallow dishes, keep an eye on what they are up to and pretty soon they will be eating from the dishes.  They often start by paddling in it and cleaning themselves up.  And if mum is gobbling it up as soon as you put it down, is she getting enough to eat?  I was putting three dishes down for a mum with 5 kittens when I fostered last year several times a day. 

post #4 of 13

If mum gobbles it up put down more, don't separate them. They need to watch her, and as you've seen it stresses them out to be apart. 

 

Forget the baby food and just feed raw and/or tinned food along with leaving kitten dry out at all times.

post #5 of 13

At 4-6 weeks old, kittens teeth are SHARP, and so it's normal for the mother to start pushing them away, because they will bite and pull, if she's a first time mother, she will be surprised by the fact that it hurts.

 

kittens should not be weaned at 6 weeks anyway as their digestive systems and stomaches are still developing and are not suited to digesting solid food yet, it's way too young, kittens should be allowed to nurse as long as they want or their mother will allow them.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your comments. The kittens are successfully eating food now! They still nurse on occasion, but they are loving the canned food. I've been mixing in a little dry as well, and they seem to like that too. Thank you so much for the suggestion to give them Wellness! I took the vet's advice at first, but they were NOT having it! Even mama cat was turning her nose up to it at times! They all LOVE it!

Anyway, thank you all again, mostly for the peace of mind. I think I just fell prey to worrying over things I've read on many other internet sites that kind of freaked me out. It's so nice to have a place to turn to where people really do care about cats and fellow cat parents. :)

post #7 of 13

I am having the same trouble, except the momma does't live here. I adopted my 6 week old kitten. I have tried everything I can think off and she just eats a little bit here and there. I'm so worried about her . What did you do ?

post #8 of 13

Is she gaining or losing weight?  What are you feeding her?  Is she playful?  How does she feel - boney along her back?

 

She might need some bottle feeding for a couple of weeks or so, but it has to be KMR or (at a pinch) goat milk, not cows milk.

 

6 weeks is really far too young to be away from her mum and this is one of the reasons why - 6-week old kittens with their mums are almost always getting a substantial part of their nutrition from suckling.

post #9 of 13

At that young age, they really need a fairly liquid food.  You could make the famous "kitten glop" (look it up on here) or just add more water to wet food.  You do NOT want to feed them cow's milk, of course.
 

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrientalSlave View Post

Is she gaining or losing weight? What are you feeding her? Is she playful? How does she feel - boney along her back?

Agree answers to these questions would be helpful

6 weeks is far too young to be away from mum, she'd still be nursing along with eating solids - weaning is a process not just the moment they eat solids.
If putting her back with mum for another 6 weeks is an option that will help, kittens should stay with mum for 12 weeks.

When you've tried 'everything' what is that exactly?

You may need some tins of Hills AD, or the Royal Canin version to syringe into her mouth to help her realise what food is.

Raw mince also works very well getting kittens interested in food
post #11 of 13
This is my second time around weaning kittens. A breeder gave me the best advise on how to get my kittens from bottle fed to eating on their own. Kitten milk replacement formula and baby rice cereal. Easy on the digestive system, healthy and the kittens love it.clap.gif
post #12 of 13

I adopted a kitten that was 4 weeks old back in February, he had only just been weaned, and was very stubborn about eating.

 

I was very worried the first couple of days since he was eating barely anything at all when kittens should be eating multiple times a day. Buy some kitten milk replacement formula from your local pet shop and after reconstituting it, mix in a bit of that with wet kitten food. I would feed him in a small room where he can't just walk away, it was very messy, but I got him started by hand feeding him, so I would scoop some of the mush into the palm of my hand and having him lap it up from there. He would mostly just drink up the milk replacement, but I think it was a way of easing him into eating solid food. Eventually he got hungry enough that he just started wolfing down his food and after that he's been awesome about his eating habits.

 

I think that while weaning is instinctive behavior for the mother, it's not instinctive for kittens, it's a bit of a shock for them, but usually the mother should be teaching her kittens to eat normal food. Sadly in my case, I was forced to adopt him way too early since the owner listed the litter well before they were ready to go, he's definitely growing up with some quirks as a result lol.

post #13 of 13

I've found when weaning kittens the best thing to do is start with fresh raw salmon. They get one bite and go crazy over it. Small amounts of course and then I'll start giving them wet kitten food. After I started doing this I've never had a problem. Right now I have 3 6 week old kittens. They love their wet food. I feed it to them twice a day and they still nurse a bit from Mama. Good luck!

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