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Old 01-05-2008, 09:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Any advice for Runts of a litter

I’m fostering an orange momma kitty with 6 kittens. They are now apx 4 weeks old. The runt is clearly smaller, slower to develop, and not as active. She doesn’t show anything wrong with her that I can see but keeps close to the mom and sometimes wont come out to see me with the momma and rest of kittens.

The other kittens are eating soft kitten food. The runt doesn’t ever eat the soft kitten food. Am I needlessly worried about her well-being or are there things to check for? Id appreciates any advice from the well-seasoned fosterers out there!
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I lost my obvious runt in one of my orphaned litters.

Recent rescue Shadow had just kittened in my bathroom. I had been trying to trap another pregnant female before she kittened, but the evening I finally got the trap from Animal Control, she showed up skinny and I knew I had missed my oportunity.
I returned the trap and bought my own.
Anyway, when outside mama's kittens were 9 days old, she was hit/killed in the road in front of my house and we buried her under our Maple/cat-garden tree. I searched for her kittens and finally found them (5) on the evening of the second day. Shadow would not accept them, but she would let me put them on her to nurse, while I would take them off her one at a time to bottle nurse and stimulate for pottying. Shadow let me do this for about 5 days, long enough for me to get them transferred completely to the bottle. I couldn't leave them for her to nurse as her own litter of 5 were already dragging her condition down.
Here is a pic of the just-rescued litter nursing on Shadow. The center one is the runt.

The runt had continuous diarrhea and cried a lot. Albon didn't work. When I took them for another visit to the vet, I was advised to step up the weaning and stop bottle feeding. The next evening CryBaby was in dire straights, crying repeatedly and steadily, and was unresponsive to outside stimuli. I rushed him to the Emergency Vet, speeding and running one interminably long red light. (no traffic) ERvet was the same Vet who had seen him the day before and advised stopping the bottle and he felt the kitten was too far gone to try rehydrating and recommended euthanasia. He did this at no charge, as he knew I was fostering for the cat adoption program. I told him I would pay for treatments and keep him, to save him, and he asured me that he felt the kitten really was too far gone.
CryBaby is buried next to his mother.

In telling this sad story, I would say to watch your runt closely. Perhaps try to 'force' more human contact with her and gently handle her. If she is not exhibiting any signs of distress (crying) or health problems (diarrhea) then I would not be too concerned about her not eating kitten food, yet. Some kittens take up to 5-6 weeks before they feel like trying the canned food, or kitten food. I have found with other litters, once the runt figured out eating on its' own it usually managed to catch up to its' littermates because it no longer had to fight for a teat, and didn't show a visible difference in growth after a few weeks.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't have any advice, but Cali was the runt of the litter and not expected to survive. She was slow to start on regular food, too, so I guess if yours is getting enough nutrition from Mom right now, she should be fine. Do you have any Nutrical you can give her?
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie73
I don't have any advice, but Cali was the runt of the litter and not expected to survive. She was slow to start on regular food, too, so I guess if yours is getting enough nutrition from Mom right now, she should be fine. Do you have any Nutrical you can give her?
Thank you both for advice. What is Nutrical?

None of them are using the litter box. I think the mom still cleans them so if there is diareha I wouldnt know. The kitten never meows! Very shy and quiet.

I will give her a few more weeks to see if she is going to eat the soft food. None of them touch the KMR I put out for them. The other kittens have very round tummies like they are about to burst! But the runt's tummy is regular in size
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nutrical is a blend of nutrients in gel form which is high in calories. Often the cat or kitten will lick it off your finger.

It's a shame the kitten is already 4 weeks old. Tube feeding would have been beneficial when the little one was very young. (You probably know how to do it, but just in case, I thought I should mention it for future reference.) The kitten would probably not cooperate at her age. What's positive is that she has reached 4 weeks!

To echo what my vet told me when I had a failing kitten, use the formula in a bottle, as it is more natural. Let the baby taste the milk. My vet recommended goat's milk, but you should use what your own vet advises.

If the kitten doesn't suck (my kitten could not suck) you can help a bit, being careful not to feed him too fast. I pray this little one is so happy to taste the milk and feel the comfort of a full tummy that he will get stronger and nurse more efficiently on mother cat. Then, of course, you can stimulated digestion by gently wiping the abdomen and private area with a warm damp cloth.

There is a possibility, of course, that there are internal problems, but this way you'll know you have done whatever you could. And you might have a very happy ending. I certainly hope so.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you Jeanie I will check into this info.
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