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Kitten weaning onto solids - not interested

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by KathyM, Jun 19, 2010.


  1. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    My gut tells me it's too early to be worried, but sites online tell me otherwise so I thought I'd best check with you lot.

    I have fostered litters before, usually slightly bigger than this one (there are only 2 kittens) but not had this issue. Usually kittens are keen to try food at the 4 week range, often a little younger (!) if they're from a big litter.

    Molly has two kittens, who are fairly whopping in size according to their weights (male 600g, female 500g, both weighed at 4 weeks this last Tuesday). They are going to be 5 weeks old on Tuesday and are not showing any interest at all in solid food. In fact quite the opposite, they don't want anything to do with it. Now their weights and young age tell me it's nothing to worry about yet, the male in particular is huuuge and pretty fat with it (he has a fat pad between his back legs that is actually visible when he walks lol), the female is leaner and more girly in shape, but she is more active too, the male is pretty lazy and laid back.

    There are a few sites online that say kittens should be eating predominantly solid food by 5 weeks old, obviously staying on mum's milk too til 10-12 weeks. Is this right and there is something going wrong here, or is my gut instinct right in that if they're fat and happy it doesn't really matter?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Tje

    Tje Banned

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    They’re what…. 4 ½ weeks old? Yes it’s on the late side to be weaning, but I have came across it before. They’re obviously getting everything they need (and more) from mum, and happy and healthy. I’d hazard a bet in the next few days they’ll stick their nose in a saucer of mush and take to it like ducks to water.

    With my rescue litters, the mothers are generally sooo scrawny, that come the 4week mark, even if the kittens are showing no interest in weaning, I tend to coax them into it, if need be with a syringe full of AD. But that is purely because these mothers are often running on empty and I’ve been topping up her milk supplies by bottle feeding he kittens to keep their weight up.

    I’ve never came across a problem like yours (kittens with a GREAT weight) and not started weaning by 4½ weeks) but I think as long as mother is healthy and well and not fading away to a shadow… I would sit back and enjoy it. I can only assume the mother cat was in very good shape when she came to you, and probably because she only has two kittens to feed her milk bar is well stocked.

    Please keep us posted how this pans out… not that I’m worried or anything… it just interests me to know when the kittens start to wean.
     
  3. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Tje knows her stuff :)

    What foods have you tried?

    I tried a few different things to begin with and it became quite clear quickly that some foods just dont interest them, where others do ... to the point of lick, lick, bite ... bite hard :eek: :lol: The one food that really got them all interested was raw beef mince. just a tiny tiny bit held on my fingertip, up to their mouth. It seemed to be enough to wet their appetites, and then once led to a plate full of mushy loveliness they soon tucked in. The other thing they liked a lot was the Whiska's kitten dry food soaked in water or Cimicat.
     
  4. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    Thanks both of you!

    Yes Molly was in good nick when she came to me, and I've moved her onto 3 pouches of Hilife a day with 2-3 big handfuls of Jollye's biscuits. She was on fully dry when she came so am taking it slowly moving her off them as I wanted her to get enough wet food but not upset her tum. She eats like a horse and has gained loads of condition, and given that she wasn't in bad nick at all when she came, that's pretty good, especially when she's got Verbal the male attached to her constantly like a tick!

    The kittens have been presented with Hilife kitten food mixed with Lactol a few times this week and tonight have been presented with Hilife Petit Pate salmon tinned (because it's high meat content I figured it didn't matter that it wasn't a kitten food) mixed with a tiny bit of Lactol to make a moussey mush. The Hilife kitten food was a bit lumpy and didn't mix well with the milk so I got the Petit Pate as it was more moussey. I have tried dabbing a bit on their mouth and front feet but they are not interested in the slightest.

    I am a bit loathe to try them on raw, not because I don't want to, I do, but because I don't currently have the capability to make it a complete diet for them, so it would be a bit unfair on them. There are other reasons too (them going off to new homes that might not feed raw for example).

    Are there any other good pouch/tinned foods for kittens? I don't want to go down the route of using any with grains or sugars in if I can help it.

    Thanks! :D
     
  5. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Oh I'm not feeding Raw either, but it did stimulate them to try the other stuff.

    I wouldn't worry about the pate either, my lot are quite in to Tesco's Just Nature pate. In fact they eat more of that than anything really. That mixes quite well with my Cimicat.

    One other thing I noticed when we started the process. One wouldn't eat from the plate or anything else to start with, she in fact would only eat off a towel :lol: picky bugger. She's fine now like, but to start with that was how I fed her the solids. Also as far as mush is concerned, it wasn't so much mousey mush, but just well mashed, but very wet food. I tried blending some meat with Cimicat and they almost laughed at me :D
     
  6. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    LOL sounds like here, but in our case they won't eat just solid/wet tinned/pouches either! I will get some mince out of the freezer for them and try that, thanks for the tips! xx
     
  7. Milly22

    Milly22 PetForums VIP

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    Do you have them near Mums food ? Hilife is fairly good meat quality so it would be ideal if they started eating mums food, it has much the same as the kitten content too so they could all eat it, if they like it.

    Poppy had 2 kittens, one didn't make it and the other seemed very reluctant to eat, he is 6 weeks today and the litter blighter has only just started eating real food, I have tried raw mince, mince cooked a little bit, tuna, steamed fish, chicken and at each of these meals he has done the little digging thing with his foot, likehe is trying to hide it and NOT because he likes it. i even smeared it on his foot so he would tatse it and he seemed to like it but still won't eat it. :D

    He will now only eat dry... I am going to remove it tonight and ensure he eats some wet solids!!
     
  8. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    I think the battle is getting them to eat anything, so you should be alright now with a bit of coaxing :D

    Tinks nabbed some cheese of my sandwich at dinner the little bugger!
     
  9. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    I think to be honest it's just that their mum is feeding them too well. The male in particular is massive and a bit podgey with it too, so it's not that he's a picky or weak kitten that needs coaxing to fill his belly. I do wonder if it's worth seperating them until they are hungry, as they seem to feed nearly all the time still. :confused1:
     
  10. deedeedee

    deedeedee PetForums Senior

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    I wouldn't worry too much:) - ours are nearly 7 weeks and one of them is still not that keen on 'proper' food. She likes fish (boiled cod) and that's about it:rolleyes:

    They will wean when they are ready.:):)

    D xx
     
  11. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    Well, sat watching telly last night after trying to coax them to eat wet half the day, and heard "Crunch crunch crunch". Had a look in their dog crate and there was the little female eating her mum's biscuits. Have taken them up completely in the hope that hunger will make them eat wet, but no luck so far. They just don't like wet food. There is no way I'm going out to get kitten biscuits for them, I don't want them on dry food! Grrrr!
     
  12. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Lol - life would be so much easier with cats if they just ate what we put in front of them.

    Could you smash up the crackers that they like eating and coat the wet food with the kibble crumbs? You can start reducing the amount of kibble crumbs you put on and hopefully they end up eating the wet food with no kibble.
     
  13. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    That's an idea, thanks! You have to have expert timing at this malarkey, because Molly will eat her food *and* theirs, so you have to seperate her from them at exactly the right time. If you don't get it right, you've wasted their food, so Molly gets it, and the babies have full tummies of milk. Frustrating as anything!!
     
  14. Milly22

    Milly22 PetForums VIP

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    To be honest i wouldn't worry too much, as long as they are healthy they will come on with the weaning, I am not stressing over it all anymore, I still have 7 weeks to coax mine!

    That is a good idea though Hobbs.

    I cannot believe mine doesn't like Aberbdeen Angus Steak mince to be honest, I attempt to feed them better than the children. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Tje

    Tje Banned

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    KathyM, last night I sat reading though my old jotters (I used to use jotters to note all my kitten weights and odd-ball facts before I had a computer at home) and I came across one kitten who was fully 7½ weeks and 740grams before she really started weaning on to solids. From week six she would take a Royal Canin kitten biscuit (but I do mean a biscuit, one or two) and she would take a lick of the mum’s wet food, though never actually eat it … but she was well and truly past 7 weeks before he began to wean in ernest.

    I suppose for all intents and purposes you could say this particular kitten was an only child, she did have 2 siblings, but mother was in such a poor state when she came to me she rejected the other 2 when they were very young (her body just couldn’t physically support 3 kittens) so I bottle fed the other two and got them weaned early (about 5 weeks) then mother allowed them to come back to her to comfort drink when they were 6 weeks old … which was sooooo lovely to see, as weeks earlier she wouldn’t even lick them or look at them.
     
  16. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    Thanks - that's ever so reassuring and I really appreciate it! Well I took hobbs's advice on mixing crushed biscuits with wet food and the female kitten has literally filled her face with it. Verbal the boy is still not interested but he is on his mum like a leech all the time and is twice the size of the female, so that's probably why - he doesn't *need* to wean so he's not bothering! :lol:
     
  17. Milly22

    Milly22 PetForums VIP

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    I have tried this too, he has yet to eat it but am going to take away the dry for night and leave the high quality mixed with the dry. See if that works. :rolleyes:
     
  18. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    Did it work? I don't know how long I can seperate these two from their mum at a time so I have caved too often and Verbal is like a tick on his mother lol. Still no interest from him but I have bobbed them both in the dog crate den we made for them with a tray, water and food and we'll see how they go for an hour or so. I have a 2 week old foster kitten coming tonight that we're hoping Molly will take on, so maybe a bit of competition might bump Verbal onto the food!
     
  19. Milly22

    Milly22 PetForums VIP

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    It worked!! I now have big kitten eating wet & dry food!!! yay! :D I crated mine with mum last night no dry food just wet with crumbled dry and voila, he seems to quite like it too. I may try him with some tuna later.
     
  20. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    I'm so glad it worked for you!! Molly can't be around the kittens' food as she eats it as well as her own, to the point of near explosion! :p I am thinking of seperating the bigger kittens from her and leaving her and little orphan Sol in together on a night now. That way the big kittens will be left with kitten food in the dining room and if Verbal is hungry he will have to eat? I didn't know if that was too cruel. :confused:
     
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