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Bottle fed kitten won't try eating (7 weeks!)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello! I have a kitten that was rescued with mama and siblings at 1 week old. This kitten I have had to bottle feed since 3 weeks of age. She is finally gaining weight! YAY! In fact, last week she weighed .4 pounds, and this week she tipped the scales at 1.1 pounds! Anyway, she is now 7 weeks old and, although the vet is not concerned, I am. She refuses to even try any food, or lick any formula. She isn't even drinking water! Thank heavens she's using the litter box. All the same, no matter what I try she won't touch anything that isn't in a bottle. How can I convince her to try to eat? Also, she doesn't clean herself at all. It's not unusual to have her fur all hard and poop stuck to her bottom. I have to wash her with a wash cloth all the time and I'm giving her baths which I really don't like to do because she's so little (she also has a touch of upper respiratory). She's on amoxi drops for that. Please, any suggestions would be great.
post #2 of 15
Gracie, while I'm not an expert (I'm sure one of them will be along shortly ), it sounds to me that with her rough start, your little kitten is just developing at a slower rate than other kittens. She'll get there eventually, but right now her development age is much younger than her real age.

Some suggestions I've seen here are putting some formula in a jar lid, and dip your finger in it and put a drop from your finger on her mouth. See if you can get her to lick the formula from your finger, and lead her to the lid jar of formula little by little. That could at least get her started lapping on her own.
post #3 of 15
I had that problem with both of the orphaned litters that I bottle fed. My vet simply told me that I spoiled them to much. I had a very shallow saucer where I would give them a little bit of the bottle, then bring it over to the saucer where I would squirt the formula onto it. Then (this is where we usually failed), don't give in right away when they meowl for more bottle. Once they started lapping, we would start mixing in Science Diet A/D then eventually get them off the formula and onto dry food.

Be strong!
post #4 of 15
I would start adding more water to her formula, and also give her either KMR full strength or kitty glop in a small jar lid. Her choice, a watered down version or the better stuff in the lid. But really she isn't going to be sucking on the bottle her entire life, and one day she will start chewing on the nipple and not sucking. I just use jar lids because small kittens love to walk in their food, and jar lids stop that. Also pick up a small bag of Royal Canin's Babycat34 made for the tiny ones, perhaps the dry food will entice her to eat-
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
UPDATE!! Harley licked her formula from a bowl today!! Yaay!!!! She still won't eat any wet kitten food, but I ordered the KMR weaning formula for her... so knock on wood. I followed the advice on this board with leading her to the bowl while she licked my finger and I didn't let her dictate the feeding terms. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the Rotal Canin food, but I've been feeding Wellness to Mom and started just leaving a bowl in with baby. Thank you all so much, I reaaly appreciate the help!
post #6 of 15
I had two kittens just like that.. had to be bottle fed for a week, but they picked up eating the wet food by themselves. They had to be on the Amoxicillin liquid as they both had URI and were nderweight. Thank goodness there are people who help these little guys.

While I volunteered for a rescue organization, we had 4, 1 day old kittens come in that wouldn't nurse off mum.. I took two of them while another person took one. One of the 2 kittens that was nursing, died that day. I fed those little guys everyday for weeks.. untill I decided to add dome A/D wetfood into the formula and syringed it into them.. it took a few days but they started to lick out the bowl.. sadly one of the other kittens didn't make it but two of the four did and are now adopted inot loving homes.
I don't know if that will work for you or not, the A/D is a very soft, watery wet food.
post #7 of 15
Our shelter volunteers have been bottle feeding a kitten with a cleft lip for a few weeks now, and since last Wednesday we've been adding something the vet calls "kitten flakes" to the KMR to form a runny gruel that can be fed with a small "turkey baster". The flakes look a bit like oatmeal. Timmi is licking the gruel off the end of the baster, so the next step is a flat dish.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I couldn't find the kitty flakes anywhere, which is why I ordered the KMR weaning formula. I guess its supposedly very similar, much like a gruel. I have the A/D food because my vet recommended it (holy cow, does that stuff stink!). So far, she won't eat it. I'm betting she will, though. I'm just so thrilled that she's making progress finally!
post #9 of 15
This kitten is only 7 weeks old, so it is still quite young. There is nothing to worry about that she will not eat solid food. This is normal and she will eat when she is ready. As long as she is eating the formula and gaining weight, thats all that matters. When my female Pixie-bob had kittens, some still nursed at 12 weeks of age, however, they were also eating solid food. Usually by 10 weeks, they will want to eat solid food. The kitten will let you know. While nursing on the bottle, they will start to chew on the nipple. This is a sign that they are getting ready for solid food. If you see this, start offering solid food. While nursing my bobcats, they did the same thing. The female was quite stubborn and took quite a while before trying solid food. Our male bobcat went for solid food at 9 weeks of age, which was quite young for a bobcat. But, he wanted the solid food, so he got it. Otherwise, he would bite the nipples off the bottle.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gracie
I couldn't find the kitty flakes anywhere, which is why I ordered the KMR weaning formula. I guess its supposedly very similar, much like a gruel. I have the A/D food because my vet recommended it (holy cow, does that stuff stink!). So far, she won't eat it. I'm betting she will, though. I'm just so thrilled that she's making progress finally!
The weaning formula is probably the same thing. We don't have that here (Germany), and the "kitten flakes" are sold by the producer of the KMR we're using. One of the volunteers mixed pureed mackerel (very stinky) with the milk yesterday and served it on a flat plate (I just heard about it today), and Timmi, and his sisters, who hadn't shown any interest in solid food, went to town on it, though they apparently got more of it in their fur and ears than in their stomachs. Momma cat liked it, too.
I really don't have experience with very young kittens, but I've been told that the "time" for solid food can be anywhere from 4 -5 weeks to 10 -11.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, the little sassafras has started eating the weaning formula mixed with her formula. She's still not drinking water (that I can see) or eating any kitten food. I figure I'll give her a couple days on the weaning formula and then I'll begin adding small amounts of wet kitty food and slowly graduate her to hard kibble. Does that sound right? Thanks again!
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Okay, back again... Harley is now 9 weeks old, and the vet says she's healthy. However, she is about the size of a five week old kitten and she's lost .2 pounds in the past two weeks. She's eating canned kitten food, but still refuses to touch dry food. SHe's such a stinker!!!!
post #13 of 15
I have gotten all of my kittens on dry food by mixing the canned and the dry together and adding more dry and less canned as they get used to it. To start with they would just suck off the canned but after a few days the dry would be eaten as well eventually I get them to the point where its mostly dry with just a canned treat (1 can mixed with the dry divided between 4 kittens) 2x a day
post #14 of 15
Just a quick question, its been awhile since I had tiny kittens. At what age can they start eating the dry food? I am afraid that they will break their teeth or something.
post #15 of 15
My current brood started at about 4 1/2 weeks and really went for it by 5 1/2 weeks
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