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Discussion Starter #1
This may be a really dumb question, but I've never been around kittens pre-weaning before. We've got 7 kittens, about 4 weeks old now, and we've had them about a week now. We've just been bottle feeding them, but we're trying to work on getting them to drink out of a plate or a bowl.

The problem is these kittens don't understand that a plate or a bowl is different from the floor. They'll walk right through it, making a mess and ruining the food. I don't know if this is normal or not, but does anyone have suggestions on how to make them understand what the bowl is for, and to stop when they come to it, not keep going?

While I'm at it, how do we keep them from using the litter box as a bed?

Thanks guys, we're trying really hard here.
 

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They will eventually figure it out on their own, but these problems are common (probably 100%) in very young kittens. Give them a week or two, they'll get it.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Aww...baby kitties are so funny. Anyway, I think they will learn not to step in their food as they get bigger, since they will be able to reach further with their heads, and also won't want to get food all over themselves. Make sure the bowl or plate isn't too big (like a dinner sized paper plate) - but it might help if the container does have a lip to keep the food in one place, and the kittens in another.

You could try placing the plate/bowl on a slightly higher level too - making it just a little raised could help them learn that it isn't meant to step in. Don't raise it too high, though - just an inch or two would be enough.

Sleeping in the litter box is very common - especially in young cats. There are a lot of posts around here about this. If it's a covered box, they might like the feeling of being in a cozy small space. Or, it might be comforting to be surrounded by their own scent. You might want to give them some alternative places to sleep - like those window beds, a curved cat perch, a kitty cozy bed, or a cat condo.
 

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quote said:
They will eventually figure it out on their own, but these problems are common (probably 100%) in very young kittens. Give them a week or two, they'll get it.
I agree.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. They do use the litter box quite well. We started "pottying" them in the litter box a couple days ago, now they go in it to do their business, though they're not covering it quite yet.

It's the weaning I'm really concerned about. Here's the situation... they were discovered in the Refuge's tool shed, so now they're in our care until we can adopt them out, so they're not "ours," nor are they going to be with us very long. At this point, they're staying in a baby's playpen AT the refuge while we're at work (about 12 hours). It has a litter pan at one end, and a water/food dish and towel at the other end. Whoever's working in the gift shop that day feeds them every 3-4 hours between customers. AFTER work, they come home with us in a pet taxi. We have an area blocked off with boxes so the kittens can run around. We have a litter box in that area. The kittens go into their pet taxi to sleep. We feed them at 8pm, 11pm, 3am, and 7am at the house.

When we first got them, they were so hungry that several willingly drank off a saucer of milk (yes, kitten milk - not cow ;)), but now they're spoiled so that they refuse to look at a saucer or bowl of milk. They're absolutely viscous with the bottles, biting and clawing them AND us. I'm starting to dread feeding time, which is sad because it should be sweet and fun. Plus it's really diificult for the poor intern in the gift shop, trying to bottle feed 7 kittens, one at a time, while answering phones and talking to customers. It'd be a lot easier if they would just eat on their own... and cheaper, because kitten milk is expensive for interns who just get a small grocery stipend weekly :oops:

So, okay, I'll try to be more patient with them, the monsters.
 

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They will eventually figure it out on their own, but these problems are common (probably 100%) in very young kittens. Give them a week or two, they'll get it.
I also agree.

When Mango was that little we would put a tiny bit of the formula on our fingers. After doing that a couple of times we then put some on a small spoon. At the first try to drink out of the saucer she accidentally snorted it. I guess she was smelling it an got a bit too close. :D Be sure to use a very shallow bowl or small saucer. I got a really nice tiny one at Target for only $.69.

It takes time and patience but they'll get there.
 
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