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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Too much food?

So I am transitioning my kittens to raw. Right now, I use Northwest Naturals (chicken, rabbit, and turkey), as well as a variety of wet food still. I think the chicken and rabbit with NW Naturals are more of a hit than the turkey, but they'll still eat it lol I plan to do DIY raw, but that probably won't be until they get a bit older.
My little kitten Loretta, who is 7 weeks (was rescued) and whom I've had for one week, really pigs out on this food. Like, to the point where you can really feel her tummy expanded to twice its size!. I put enough on her plate to where there is always food leftover after she eats, as I wanted to make sure she was getting enough, as she is rather skinny. I can feel her bones, (ribs and hips) but vet gave her a clean bill of health yesterday.
But, is this ok? I feed all my kittens right now 4 times a day, and all of them will eat until full. The other two I have are larger than Loretta, and their tummies are no where near as large on them when they finish eating. But she gets a huge pot belly. And she is RAVENOUS when she eats. Like, when she knows I have food she goes nuts, climbing up my leg to get it, and once I put it down she literally climbs into the plate to eat.
She is the sweetest little thing though. It won't let me attach a pic, but you can see her in my intro post, as I'm new here

Thanks everyone!!

Last edited by marie73; 07-14-2019 at 01:30 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 03:50 PM
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A pot belly where you can still feel her ribs and hips and she is ravenous could be a sign she has parasites. Suggest you take a stool sample of Loretta into your vet and have it tested for parasites.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:47 PM
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Everything I have ever heard regarding feeding kittens, even with a raw diet, is "feed the kitten as much food as it wants to eat".

Definitely have her tested for parasites as Ami suggested (though your vet should have done that or at least suggested it) but it may be that Loretta just hasn't had enough time to put on weight yet, if she was a stray/feral before.

That would also explain Loretta's mealtime behavior - my current cat, Kohl, has the same ravenous-eating habits even though I've had her for nearly three years now and she hasn't gone hungry or been starving since she was 7 months old! But I think the "I am starving, must inhale food whenever I find it" behavior gets hard-coded into a cat's brain if they are a stray/feral when they are kittens - it seems to last on well throughout their lives even long after they've been rescued and lovingly taken care of.

Kohl is also on a raw diet and she gets decent-sized meals twice a day - two ounces per meal - and she is yowling at me as if she is starving, 5 seconds after she has literally polished her bowl clean (like, I literally don't even have to wash the bowls, it feels like, she licks them so clean). But she WAS a stray when I found her - don't know for how long - and she has always had the "I am starving!!" attitude.

Anyway, long story short, I think you're doing great. Feed the kittens as much as they want to eat/can eat at each meal. Might as well have Loretta checked for parasites if she wasn't already checked.

If you notice she's still bony after another week or so, or if you feel like she is pooping out huge ol' poops (cats on a raw diet should have small, dry, light-colored feces) definitely get her re-checked at the vet, with bloodwork if needed.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catloverami View Post
A pot belly where you can still feel her ribs and hips and she is ravenous could be a sign she has parasites. Suggest you take a stool sample of Loretta into your vet and have it tested for parasites.
Thank you!! She did have her poo tested and she came back negative for any parasites, but my vet gave me a free sample for each kitten of Strongid T de-wormer. So I'm supposed to administer it once a week for a month, and then once a month as maintenance ? To me that seems like a lot after the initial once a week dose for a month.
The other two kittens get hungry, but they are no where near as ravenous as Loretta when it comes to eating. I feel a nice difference in her hair already. Its softer and not as rough, but I can still feel her bones.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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I have definitely heard the "let them eat as much as they want to eat" thing too. Which is why I usually put more than enough food on each plate. I've fed them enough now where I kind of can gauge how much to put on there so no food is wasted, but there is usually SOME food left over.
Like I mentioned above, her stool was clean of parasites, but vet gave me a de-wormer anyway to give her. So I've been doing that. She has had 2 doses so far (supposed to give once a week for a month), then once a month there after.
I've just never seen a kitten so ravenous when eating. I have noticed a nice difference in her hair since getting her and putting her onto raw. Its much softer, but I still feel her bones. I am wondering if she was malnourished before I got her???

Last edited by marie73; 07-17-2019 at 11:28 PM.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:32 PM
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I'm guessing that was the case. She didn't even have to have gone hungry for long - when kittens are young, they need SO many calories to support the enormous amount of growing their bodies are doing, plus they also have a really high energy expenditure (all that playing, pouncing, and running around). I'm not sure the exact math on it, but I can only imagine that a kitten needs SO many calories that they can become malnourished and emaciated very rapidly, perhaps within the span of a few weeks or even a few days, if they aren't getting enough food.

When I found my kitten, Kohl, she was so small and thin that the vet thought she was only 5 months old, until he looked at her teeth and said she was more like 7 months old. But she was relatively clean and didn't even have fleas, so she hadn't been a stray for long at all. (She did have ear mites, though) So, it doesn't take long for a young kitten to get thin/emaciated, and I really do think the stress/trauma of going hungry so young leaves a lasting mark on them for life, unfortunately.


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