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10 day old kitten losing weight..

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I feel a little silly because I keep posting a new thread everytime something happens, and so far everything has been fine.. but I'm worried about the little guys!

One of the kittens lost weight! He was 6.35 yesterday and is 6.15 today. The day before yesterday he was 5.65. What I did first was separate mom and the kitten and make sure he got a good 5 minutes nursing (I had to hold mom down even for that, because the other babies started shrieking). I weighed him again after and he was still 6.15, so he didn't even get .05 oz of milk out of it.. is it possible Mom is running low on milk? Most of them are only gaining .1-.3 oz a day and they're 10 days old now - it seems like it should be more..

I have tried bottlefeeding but they really hate it. I'm going to try a few other tricks (going to see if I put it right by Mom so they can lie next to her and suck on it will help), but I am not hopeful as they really won't give it the time of day. I don't like the idea of tubefeeding them personally since I don't know how much or little the kittens are getting and I very much dread overfeeding (thank you internet horror stories). I may take them to the vet tomorrow, but I'm not sure what they can do. I can't afford to leave the entire litter with them (they charge per cat, even when they're kittens, $15/day), and I don't want to separate anyone from the litter.

Right now I think I'm going to try letting them nurse in groups - maybe 15 minutes each in groups of 2-3-2? (7 kittens in all). Is it feasible to expect the one who lost weight to gain .1 or .2 oz in the next 8 hours if he gets to nurse freely, and he's not sick (as opposed to just being shoved aside by the bigger guys).
post #2 of 14
He may just be the runt. Also if he is a boy the littermates may be suckling his genitals (are they red or raw or bleeding) I would just supplement him by the bottle, holding mom down to nurse while her kittens shriek nearby isn't the best idea. Mom gets stressed and she will stop giving milk temporarily. Most times in big litters, there is one that gets stomped on, pushed away and misses the majority of the milk bar will tell you how to bottle feed, it is possible you just aren't doing it correctly or the nipple is plugged.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I agree I may be doing it wrong but I've read all the tips on that site and I'm still at a loss. :/ I snipped a tiny hole in the nipple with scissors where the milk will only come out when the bottle is gently squeezed, and I check every now and then to make sure it can still come out.. he doesn't seem to like it.

Also I have tried putting a tiny dab of corn syrup on his lips but it just makes him start squeaking..

I got the standard bottles in the cat aisle at Petsmart, so I assume they're 'right'. Must.. figure this out.. if he ever just tried the bottle, he might actually like it and I would feel a LOT better.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok I've spent the last hour trying to feed kittens. I am trying with both the kitten glop and plain goat's milk. Next, KMR I guess.

I warm it up to where it feels warm to my hand, but not hot. I make sure if I hold it up a drop forms on the end, but it doesnt start dripping freely (should the hole be bigger? I really don't want them to choke..)

Place your kitten on it's tummy on a soft surface such as a blanket or towel and gently place the nipple into his mouth. Tilt the bottle up slightly so the nipple is full of milk. He should automatically begin sucking. If he refuses to take the nipple, place a little dab of Karo syrup on his tongue to stimulate his sucking response.
This is where everything stops working - the kittens become pretty distressed when I pick them up and start crying for mom. Also, their heads start weaving everywhere and they start trying to climb away. I have tried holding them for a few minutes, cuddling them in a towel so they feel secure, holding them up to my chest so they feel warm, but they never seem to settle down. The best I get is they'll stop crying, but they'll still keep trying to crawl away.

So then I hold up the bottle up to them. They usually accidentally whack it with their head, because their head is bobbing all over the place. They ignore it, and keep trying to crawl or climb. I've tried putting one hand gently on their back to keep them reasonably still and holding it to their mouth, but their head still bobs around like crazy.

I DID finally get two kittens to 'sort of' suck on it. They wouldn't really suck. They'd lick a little bit of the formula I dropped on their lips up, and when I bumped it into their mouth they would then open, but they wouldn't suck. They seem to turn their head sideways so they were no longer in good sucking position, but were in a good position to bite on it sideways (I have no clue why they would do this, but they both did). Then they let it drop. I did try very very gently squeezing it while one kitten had it in his mouth and he seemed to like that (he licked a bit), but I didnt think continuing would be a good thing because of the choking issue.

There seems to be a problem getting it at the right angle. I have the bottle filled all the way up so as long as it's at least horizontal the nipple is full of milk. However the kittens don't want to angle their heads up enough to drink from it like that - they basically keep their noses almost touching the ground, and in order to get them high enough I have to either put a finger under their chin, or under their front paws. They generally don't like that and then start crying again. If I keep it horizontal or a little higher anyway, they just slip right off and go back to ignoring it (without even bothering with a half-hearted chew).

Also, they seem to be getting more aware of their surroundings.. everytime I go in the bathroom now, everyone starts squeaking wildly. Yes, I'm the terrible lady that swoops down and attempts to feed them milk.

The best part of the whole experience was when one of them figured out I had spilled some Karo syrup on the back of my wrist and sucked on it for about a minute.. oy

They don't seem to be sucking on anybody's genitals.. I have seen one of them sucking on another's face a couple times, but it seems to be in the middle of a feeding frenzy and they usually stop and relocate on mom's nipple after a few seconds. I did notice a couple of them seem to have dry scabby things stuck in their fur?? I'm confused, maybe it's just dirt or dandruff? The skin underneath looks ok, but then they've got the little crusty bits in the fur...
post #5 of 14
I am sort of having the same problem! I was going to start a thread today so don't feel bad! I do it all the time and the great people here have helped me through!
My smallest one does the same thing. She has not gained weight in 2 days, still stuck at just over 9 oz so I tried to bottle feed her a few times...she sis the same thing as your baby, wouldn't suck, head going everywhere! She gets around the box quite well, and she doesn't throw too much of a fuss when I pick her up. The other 2 kittens are just over 11 oz now. MOm isn't very big but we have been feeding her well so that she has milk, but even her belly doesn't have any size to it anymore. I know there has to be milk though because the other 2 are gaining fine. They will be 2 weeks tomorrow.
So I am with Sapling....any ideas out there!?
post #6 of 14
I am currently raising a 10 day old. (lone stray handed into the vet practice i work at) I was in the same situation but i have figured it out. They will cry when you pick them up purly because they think the warmth from your hands is mum. They will also be throwing their heads around because their necks are not strong enough yet as for the nose to the ground they are looking for a nipple(simple you would of thought). The way i got mine to feed as to place them on a towel(as suggested) the towel should be raised at the head end to a slight angle(a natural possition for suckling) then place your thumb and forefinger around either side of the head and tilt up wards until you can clearly see their mouth(they WILL wriggle and scream) then quickly but very gently push the teat into the upside down v where their nose meets their lips you should aim for the roof of their mouth!! If they are hungry then they will latch on with their tongue. Do not give them milk if they pull their heads to to side as it will flood their lungs. It will take a few attempts but dont try for too long in one go as they will become stressed. If they are getting zero milk from mum then they will get hungry so keep trying. If they are constantly crying but are not suckkling from you or mum you should look at other factors like chill of heat stroke also hypoglycemia -(seek veterinary help immediatly). Hope this helps both of you and good luck. Oh i would also look up fading kitten syndrom.
post #7 of 14
OK, I think that all is going fine now....she is still a little smaller but maybe I have been seeing the scale wrong or something because she is 11 oz today (they were born 2 weeks ago today). BUt I did notice something, there is a little 'bend' in her tail about 1/2 inch from the tip. It alomost looks broken but she doesn't seem to mind me touching it (no pain) and I cannot IMAGINE how it might have gotten injured!
I never noticed it before but it could have been there....
They all are getting around the box and beginning to venture away from mom a bit to explore. I will try to post some pics later today.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, mine are all gaining weight again so for the moment I have given up on the handfeeding..

However, 11 oz?? Yikes. The biggest of my babies is between 9 and 10, and most are 7-8! They are 2 weeks old last night.
post #9 of 14
The scale I am usuing is a cheap little kitchen scale, and it appears to be pretty accurate. I questioned it at first and then i put a 10 oz bag of candy on the scale and it said 10 oz. But it is not digital so with the kittens moving it is tought to get a REAL weight. The babies were about 4 oz when born so they seem to be doing ok, I guess. They were 2 weeks yesterday.
post #10 of 14
I noticed my scale isn't always calibrated correctly. After each kitten it might be off slightly from the previous weighing. So always check the calibration, but sounds like he is doing good now.

Also it sounds like your kitten might have a tail kink. Its nothing to be worried about, just a genetic thing and causes no pain.
post #11 of 14
Sounds like the kittens are gaining now. Just FYI, I sometimes have more luck with a syringe (no needle) to drip the formula in the kittens mouth.

I have also had trouble with a Momcat where if only the runt is with her she won't lay down and nurse. But if you put all the kittens with her except the one or two biggest guys, it gives the little one better access to a nipple. I try to rotate who I pull away from Mom, because I don't want to endanger them either. But having a robust kitten away from Mom for 5-10 minutes daily won't harm them, and may give the runt a chance to get a belly full!
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

Sorry for the lack of updates! Things got a bit crazy because I was moving for grad school, and now my parents are taking care of the kittens.

So far the kittens are doing very well. They are still small for their age, but in general healthy. Squeaky has a bit of a problem walking but the vet said it should straighten itself out with time, and even if it doesn't she can get around well enough to take care of herself and play with the others.
Possum was diagnosed with a small heart murmur but on the most recent vet visit the vet couldn't hear it at all, so it is hoped it was either a misdiagnosis or that it was possibly caused because she was a bit anemic when we first brought her in (but doing better now).

Everybody else is very perky and friendly!

Thanks for all the tips and help when I was taking care of them in their first couple weeks - they owe a lot to you guys.
post #13 of 14
Currently I'm in a similar situation to you guys. I discovered that, when momcat gave birth to a single kitten and it failed to gain any weight for two days, that he wasn't getting enough milk from mom. So as of noon today he is on KMR every two hours. The trouble is that he doesn't seem to get how to suckle, either from the eyedropper or the bottle. I drip some formula into his mouth very gently, very slowly and let him lap or swallow it up, and by this process I manage to feed him very slowly. I don't get why he is not understanding how to suckle on it, though...
post #14 of 14
You can try to put just a very small drop of Karo Syrup (corn syrup) on his tongue to stimulate the suckling movements of his mouth and as he is doing that, place the bottle into his mouth ... it might help.
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