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My new kitten won't drink and isn't eating enough

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Manfred, Nov 19, 2020.


  1. Manfred

    Manfred PetForums Newbie

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    Hey, I would love any tips or help you guys could suggest, starting to get quite worried. I have a new kitten (13 weeks old) who isn't eating enough, only about half of what the cans/pouches recommend. Initially I gave him what the breeder fed him, dry food to graze and wet food a couple of times a day. He simply won't touch the dry food no matter the brand or if I wet it or evenp sprinkle some good stuff on top. In regards to the wet food I gave him what the breeder did, tried switching it to different brands, types of meat, jelly, paté etc he still eats the same amount no matter what. I have tried switching eating places, different kind of bowls/plates, finger feeding, heating it up, rubbing it on his gums so he can taste it but all to no avail.

    In terms of water, he sniffs it and then walks away, i tried different bowls of different materials, glasses spread out around the apartment, running straight from the tap but still nothing. Eventually I tried to force him to drink small amounts from a teaspoon as the breeder recommended but he still didn't get a taste for it.

    I have weighed him every day for close to a week now, he isn't gaining weight but hasn't lost much either, lost 50g and now he hovers with +-50g each day.

    Other than that he seems fairly healthy, pees 1-3 times a day, poops once a day, no difference since arrival. Gums turn back pink instantly after being pressed, gums are moist and his backskin retracts normally. He just sleeps a lot and is pretty much only awake for play a couple times a day which i suppose is normal if you're not eating enough. We thought perhaps it was initial stress from moving to our home, going from his litter mates to being an alone cat (although I am always home), but he seems comfortable, always hangs out with us, sleeps belly exposed etc.

    I've been in contact with a vet and they said to wait 3-7 more days and if it's not resolved by then to swing by to check so that nothing is physically wrong with him.

    How do I get him to eat more?
    Thank you..
     
  2. mrsfarq

    mrsfarq PetForums Member

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    Hi Welcome to the forum,

    Im not an expert as I’ve only had my kittens 4 weeks and I’m sure someone else will come along and give you some great advice soon.

    What is your kittens name?

    Its good that your kitten is ignoring the dry food, it’s not good for them and fills them up without offering much nutrition.

    How long have you had the kitten? It sounds like you have changed quite a lot of things in the time that you have had him and this in itself can be quite stressful for kittens who have already had the stress of leaving mum and littermates.

    Weighing everyday isn’t advised because as with humans weigh fluctuates depending on when they last ate or had a bowel movement or a wee. It’s recommended to weigh once a week at the same time and using something like baby weighing scales you can get on eBay to get an accurate result.

    My kittens drink hardly any water but they are only fed wet food and so get all the moisture they need from this. Cats generally don’t drink much water.

    I know you have spoken to the vet but if it was my kitten I would be booking him in for a check up as if he is poorly kittens can go downhill quite fast. But again I am not an expert in all things kittens :)
     
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  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    quoting mrsfarq " I am not an expert in all things kitten"

    Good advice though @mrsfarq :) xx

    @Manfred - I agree with mrs farque's advice , I'd remove all the dry food. Your kitten may be eating more of it than you think and it could be spoiling his appetite for his wet food.

    if you feed him a good quality nutritious wet food he won't need to eat as much to get all the nutrients he needs to help him grow and build strong muscles.

    Foods such as Natures Menu Kitten, HiLife It's Only Natural Tender kitten food, Lily's Kitchen Chicken, Little Big Paw Mousse, will all nourish him.

    At his age I would feed him 4 or 5 meals of wet food a day, about 40 to 50 grams a meal. Don't try and force him to eat, and if he doesn't eat all his food by the time his next meal is due throw the old food away and give him fresh food. If he continues not to finish his meals then reduce the amount you feed him by say 10 grams.

    As said above, healthy cats often do not need to drink any water if they eating only wet food. A wet cat-food diet is around 75% to 80% moisture so it provides all the fluids the cat needs. All my cats are fed a wet food diet (no dry ) and only one of them ever drinks water [sometimes] and that is because he has diabetes.

    I would not try and give him water from a teaspoon. There is a risk the kitten could choke and aspirate the water into his lungs which could cause pneumonia. If you do ever need to get water into him (i.e. if he is ill and dehydrated) please use a syringe (the type used for giving oral medicine) and always put it at the side of his mouth not at the front. And release the water slowly into his mouth so he has plenty of time to swallow it before the next mouthful .

    But for now it doesn't sound that he is dehydrated - he is eating some wet food (if not a lot) and he is peeing up to 3 times a day and pooing once a day., (Pooing twice a day would be more usual at his age, but if he is not eating much then that will be why he is not pooing more often)

    If this is his first week with you then it is possible/probable his appetite has been affected by the change in his environment, being separated from his mum and his siblings and having to adapt to a strange environment with new sounds, scents and a new human. It is heck of a lot for a kitten to adjust to. Also, if he recently had his vaccinations it may be that which is affecting his appetite.

    If when you weigh him once a week he has not lost weight, but preferably is gaining weight or at least maintaining his weight then that is OK. If he were to be continuing to lose weight then you need to get the kitty seen by the vet.
     
    #3 chillminx, Nov 19, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
    Pep, Manfred and mrsfarq like this.
  4. Manfred

    Manfred PetForums Newbie

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    @mrsfarq @chillminx

    Thank you both for your advice, really helpful if nothing for at least calming my mind. My little guys name is Manfred, a beautiful cuddly "little" ragdoll. I have had him for 5 days now so I thought the initial appetite jitters would be over but it seems while fairly uncommon but still normal issue to be lasting this long. I tried my best to not switch everything up too much but I worry took over i guess hahah.

    Last night we actually actually bought a feliway scent dispenser and instead of calming him it gave him the zoomies running all over the apartment, first time since arrival. He hasn't eaten more today but has had much more energy it seems, so something at least has changed. Hopefully it will last and his appetite will match.

    Thank you guys for taking the time to comment!
     
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  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Manfred (what a great name! :D)

    Manfred sounds as though he is already feeling livelier! Hopefully this mood change will continue and his appetite will improve. Please let us know how things go. :)
     
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  6. Manfred

    Manfred PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx @mrsfarq
    I thought I should write you guys an update as well as sharing the experience other new kitten owners who might find this post.

    The breeder was going to the vet anyways with a new litter of kitten and was kind enough to take Manfred with her as well. Generally he was in good health and had no physical illnesses that would cause him to not eat however the food changes took it's toll and made him a bit gassy so the vet recommended him to go back to the breeder for a short while for a special kitten care diet and to stay with his mother. He was there 5 days in total and when he came back he was much more confident. He still isn't eating as I/the packet thinks he should but none the less he has been steadily gaining weight. We are now feeding him a mix of wet and dry food together 4x a day and leave food out overnight. He has also been drinking much more but that is likely due to the increase in dry food. All together it was a rough start but I think it has turned a corner.
    Also on to another point for new kitten owners, the more we play with him and use up his energy the more he eats, if we don't play much for a day he immediately eats much less so it seems he also just heavily calorie restricts himself.

    Thank you for the comments :)
     
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