Need help & Info on Weaning Bottle fed Kittens - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2011, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Question Need help & Info on Weaning Bottle fed Kittens

About 3 weeks ago I took in a foster litter of 5 that was about 2 weeks old - eyes starting to open ears still down etc - mama kitty was apparently taken by a coyote out in the country.

The 5 bottle babies have been doing well - and I'm a lot less traumatized too, so that helps but I'm having some trouble with the weaning process. Lots of conflicting advice and truth be told I'm not so good with denying babies anything....

Any suggestions? Quality info, personal experiences?
Many Thanks
Nora
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2011, 08:39 PM
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When I bottle-fed my kittens, I would either use dry food or wet food if I had it. With the dry food I would mush it up in a bowl into this nasty looking gruel stuff and add it to KMR so that it was soft enough for their little mouths to eat. Most ate it well enough. Wet food definitely worked better though, so if you have it, try this first! It's easier to work with too.

They may not get it the first time so adding a little bit on your finger and offering it to them might work. Sometimes the bowl freaks them out haha. If it still doesn't work, put it in their mouth and then offer some more on your finger. Over the next few weeks, I continued to bottle-feed them a few meals and then slowly begin to feed them more with the gruel or wet food until they no longer used the KMR. If they won't eat it at all, then they aren't ready and try again later. If they continue using the bottle after 8 weeks, then they just want the comfort and attention.

Well, this is just my experience with it. There might be other ways of going about it, but this how I've always done it. Good luck!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2011, 09:46 PM
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I did this last September with 5 abandoned babies. I took them in when they were about 3.5 weeks old, had teeth, but were terribly malnourished, the smallest weighed only 5 oz. they had horrible URI and fleas as well.

Slow and steady is my recommendation. I gave them all about a week with solely bottle feedings (after bringing them home) then started with one wet food mixed with KMR meal a day. The two larger healthier ones quickly progressed to more wet food/KMR less bottle feedings, they had their last bottle about 3-3.5 weeks after bringing them in, this was miserable for them and me. The three smaller kittens got one bottle a day for about another 1.5-2 weeks- at bedtime. Again this was miserable for all involved, I was in tears at times.

If you have any other questions let me know. Most rewarding thing I've done up to this point.

Also I used paper plates, nice and flat--make a huge mess when they walk through it. Plan on a lot more baths....

Leslie

I am happy to say there are well behaved and socialized almost grown kitties. One of the smaller 3, belongs to a woman I work with and she and her husband think the world of them.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2011, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your insights, Braxen your calm confidence with this is inspiring - I am such a worrier with little ones.

Leslie your situation sounds heartbreaking - I'm glad it went so well in the end.


These babies were pretty well off when they got to me as far as these things go, dehydrated, a bit cold and a bit stopped up but no fleas or mites and they had only been withought mom for 24 hours or so. Still they took a lot of hours to turn around and now that they are chewing romping kittens it seems like we should be making faster progress. I feel like I did when my boys were young and didn't want to give up the bottle.....

Leslie I've got to ask, why the tears and misery, is it bad to let them keep getting bottles longer?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-27-2011, 01:51 PM
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You're welcome, and don't worry so much. Even the ones who don't take to the food immediately will change their minds when they realize how much tastier the solid food is in comparison to milk. You'll do great, I'm sure!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-27-2011, 07:41 PM
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They were so committed to the bottle and like I said the three smaller ones were very bad off, and frankly the vet couldn't believe they made it. Taking the bottle away from them was similar to how I've heard people explain weaning a baby from breastfeeding, who has been solely breast fed. They cried for the bottle and would suck my fingers. Myself and the bottle had absolutely become mom to them and it broke my heart to watch them so upset.

I was afraid to keep them on the bottle too long, age wise, they were definitely beyond the age of weaning and needed to learn to live without it. I knew I was walking a fine line of raising well socialized and nurtured kittens, to kittens who had obviously grown up without a cat mother. I must have succeeded because the reports are that they are doing well and none of them feel the need to suckle on fingers or anything else. I have a cat who is a suckler, when he's unsure, or someone new has visited, or we go out of town, he often is only content afterwards if you let him suck your earlobe. My heart breaks for him and I didn't want the bottle babies to live like that.

Leslie
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2011, 10:34 AM
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Wet food or soaked dry (kitten chow) on flatter style plate (pie plate or even a cookie sheet with a lip works - they will wade in it.. Get ready for baths- a quick rinse in the sink (no soap really required) works as long as you keep in mind a cat has a higher temp than a human & they have to dried completely. The littlies will even sprawl in their food for a while tho yours are old enough to stand while eating. Shove them in the litterbox about 20 min after feeding & bath with a cuple of swipes of tissue on their backside to enforce potty training.
The sucky behavior described can be broken just like a toddler with a binky. And not all cats do it. I never bothered with mine - I call it smurgling, somebody else here on the forum calls it snorgling. My guys do it when they want snuggle time & before sleeping (classic mom time). The soggy shirts never bothered me.
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