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Kitten feeding question

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by LisaCHughes, Apr 15, 2011.


  1. LisaCHughes

    LisaCHughes PetForums Junior

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    I got two kittens from a private breeder last weekend following the death of our very beloved cat. It has been 15 years since I last had a kitten so I didn't query how small they were until I got them home and discovered that the bigger one wasn't weaned and didn't know how to eat/drink from a bowl. I therefore got some formula from the vets & bottlefeed her until she got the hang of eating and they are both now doing fabulously well. They feed well, are very lively, have had no accidents with their toileting and are very affectionate and the picture of health. They will be 7 weeks old this weekend.

    At present they have James Wellbeloved very well moistened with formula milk and some tuna mashed through. I am keen to stop the tuna but wanted to check that James Wellbeloved was a good food (my dog thrives on it) and I wondered how long I should go on with the formula for? They have shown no tendency to drink from the bowl of water. Also, I imagine that they need to feed little and often so feed ad lib food for them, but am worried about it going off. How long is it safe to leave it for?

    Thanks
     
  2. Gratch

    Gratch PetForums VIP

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    I'm hoping someone more experienced will come along soon but are you sure they're 7 weeks if one isn't weaned? I would change to wet food aswell as if they aren't inclined to drink they'll get alot of their water intake from wet food.
     
  3. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Lisa, wasthis breederregistered with any governing body? If so, she needs to be reported, as this is far, far too young for a cat to be leaving its mum. 12 weeks is more preferable.

    At this stage I'd be giving them as much wet food as they will eat. Bozita, Grau, Anamonda and Smilla are allhigh meat content, low grain foods, but I'm not sure how these will go down with kittens, as I've only tried them with adults. Tuna isn't giving them all the nutrition they need, so I'd stop that pretty quickly. Fish also makes cats very, very fussy eaters if given regularly and/or too early, so you may now have trouble getting them to eat without it. you're doing right by supplementing with milk though.

    I do hope things continue to go all right, but I can't say that I'm not upset that a supposed breeder let kittens go firstly before they were supposed to, and secondly before one had even attempted solids. Unless they were very late weaners, I'd say that you've also been mislead about the age too.
     
  4. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    So sad that these poor little kittens have been taken from their mum at such a young age :(
    I would change their food to wet, little and often. Strongly flavoured food like tuna varieties (not human tuna) will encourage them to eat. If they don't eat all of it at once take it away after about half an hour so that it doesn't go off or attract flies. You can leave dry food down for them all the time with a bowl of water - a water fountain may encourage them to drink as many cats do not like still water.
     
  5. LisaCHughes

    LisaCHughes PetForums Junior

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    The person I got from seemed to be someone whose cat had got pregnant and she needed to find homes for them....... I suppose it is possible that the bigger one had eaten solids before, but just didn't fancy what I had to offer, initially.

    I am giving them as much wet food (by which I mean JW dry food moistened with boiling water to make it mushy, and then with a puddle of formula tipped over it as well) as they will eat - and they are always very happy and purry when they see me putting a new bowl down.

    They have grown noticeably in the last week and always have nice fat tummies. Their poos were a little runny initially and have now firmed up to what I wonder consider to be the right consistency (i.e comparable to those of my old cat). They also seem to be very partial to cooked chicken and raw mince. I do however want them to eat a properly balanced diet, which is why I wanted to know whether James wellbeloved was generally considered to be a good food.
     
  6. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Is James Wellbeloved considered to be a "good" dry food? Well, personally I don't think it is particularly great as it contains grains as the first ingredient.

    Also, just because you add some water to dry food doesn't make it into "wet" food. So, when the other girls suggested that you feed your kittens "wet" food they actually meant the stuff in pouches/tins, which contains hydrated meat with up to 80% moisture compared to the dehydrated meat you can get in dry food with contains up to 10% moisture.

    Since cats are poor drinkers they get most, if not all, of their moisture need from the food - hence why feeding wet food is a better idea than feeding dry food. Yes, dry-fed cats will drink more than their wet-fed peers but they don't take in as much moisture, which leads to more concentrated urine, which in turn can lead to bladder problems - particularly in male cats.

    Perhaps also get into the habit of weighing your kittens regularly (a few times a week or once a week when they get a little older) to keep tabs on their weight (gain, possible loss).

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. LisaCHughes

    LisaCHughes PetForums Junior

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    what would be a better dry food?

    The kittens don't seem to be that keen on food in pouches.

    Thanks
     
  8. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Well, for me, a good dry food would contain either very little grain (and perhaps only one grain and not an array of cereals that reads like a muesli) or no grain. There are several no-grain dry foods on the market but I personally rate Orijen and Acana as two of the best.

    Personally, once they have settled in a little more I would try to get them to eat wet food. If they don't eat it voluntarily, then you could try crushing up some of their dry food and sprinkling it on the food. In the long term, it really is better for them to be fed wet food.
     
  9. dougal22

    dougal22 Banned

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    There's tons of food info in this section - see the A-Z guides of wet and dry foods. The least grains in dry food, the better. All of this info is supplied in the A-Z guides which can help you make an informed choice.

    Links attached :
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/cat-health-nutrition/116753-z-dry-food-cats.html
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/cat-health-nutrition/112132-z-wet-food-cats.html

    What pouches/tins have you tried your kittens on?
     
  10. LisaCHughes

    LisaCHughes PetForums Junior

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    I have had a quick whizz down that list & will have to trawl round our local pet shops tomorrow to see what they stock.

    I had no idea that JB wasn't grain -free as the dog version doesn't have grains & I also don't feed my horses grain so had no idea I was giving it to my kittens!

    They came with some pouches of Sainsburys food & I have also tried them on Whiskas - which was clearly a mistake having read the pinned list!

    It seems as though dry food as the main part of their diet is Ok IF they drink enough water, so I may have to invest in a water fountain, although there is no power supply next to where their water bowl lives, so can you get battery-operated ones?

    Have just noticed that I didn't see the helpful post from Hobbs, so should persist with wet feed - but am confused by which is "best".
     
  11. dougal22

    dougal22 Banned

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    I have no idea about dog food, so I won't comment on that :rolleyes: But, I know JWB for cats isn't too good. If you shop online, the world is your oyster as far as cat food is concerned. Check out a site called 'Zooplus'. As a new customer, you will qualify for a discount on your first order. Delivery is free on orders over £19.00.

    I can only advise based on what I feed my cats - they only have a limited amount of dry for the reasons Hobbs explained (plus dry food has been known to be a contributing factor of obesity in cats). I would recommend Orijen dry and wet food - Grau, Smilla, Bozita, Animonda and Porta21. All are available from Zooplus.

    I also feed a small amount of raw, primarily for teeth/gum health ie: raw chicken wings and raw chunks of beef.
     
  12. gloworm*mushroom

    gloworm*mushroom PetForums VIP

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    Which wet food have you tried so far? There is a wide variety of flavour and textures (chunks with gravy or jelly, or pate types) and some kittens will only eat one type or flavour, (unlike mine who would eat the pouch it came in given half the chance)

    It would really benefit your kittens to get them onto a good quality high meat wet food, as they need all the help they can get being taken at such a young age. You can get the brands mentioned by Dougal from Zooplus which is a really good resource for different foods as I know finding a variety can be difficult in pet stores sometimes! Bozita in particular does a wider variety of textures, and the others are mainly pate (the best as far as meat content go)
     
  13. LisaCHughes

    LisaCHughes PetForums Junior

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    I have discovered there is a vERY limited choice in petshops around here. Have ended up with "pets at home" pate products to try, along with "Purely", but the kittens are not keen at the moment. Any tips for persuading them to actually try?
     
  14. gloworm*mushroom

    gloworm*mushroom PetForums VIP

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    Purely has a 70% meat scrummy range which is good for meat content for PAH. It is quite dense though so sometimes cats turn their noses up. If its the other pouches they are a bit less dense but the ingredients changed recently so ive stopped feeding it.

    You can try crushing up some of the dry they are used to and sprinkling it on top. Usually I would suggest just 'giving them that and when they get hungry, theyll eat whats there' but you cannot do that with such young kittens. Kittens learn to eat from mum, by walking in mums food and licking it off their paws. You could try putting a little of the food on their paws so they have to lick it of and get the 'taste' for it.
     
  15. dougal22

    dougal22 Banned

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    You could try mixing it with some hot water. This will release more aroma and hopefully entice the kittens into eating it. I know one of the Purely range is very dense, so watering it down slightly might make it more palatable.
     
  16. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Surely it would be better to mix with milk such as KMR or Seni-Cat. This is what breeders do ot encourage the initial weaning process. Then just let them walk through it and discover it by copying mum. They will eat when they're ready.
     
  17. LisaCHughes

    LisaCHughes PetForums Junior

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    At least one of them is now happily eating the Purely pouches (albeit that I have mashed an increasingly smaller amount of tuna through it), and the other one still prefers the dry food. I am still giving them formula milk as neither seems inclined to drink from the water fountain - although they had been splashing it judging by the water on the floor, so I guess that is a start?

    At what point do I stop the formula? They have both grown visibly in the last week, look to be very lively & happy & are pooing & weeing fine. Runny poos have now all firmed up.
     
  18. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Hi there

    I've just realised that I made a mistake in my last post. I thought they still had mum with them, so sorry for that.

    Cats get a lot of their moisture from food, so I wouldn't worry that they aren't drinking an awful lot. When they are consistently eating a good amount, start to tail off the formula. Mum would wean them slowly, so you should attempt to follow this if you can, gradually reducing the amount of forumla over a week or two.
     
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