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weaning foster kittens. help please!!

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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:15 PM
Original message
weaning foster kittens. help please!!
I have two foster kittens here at my house. I think they're now about 5-6 weeks old. Every time I bring them their bottle of formula I also bring something like kitten chow (dry or softened with water) or baby food chicken or veal, or even adult wet cat food. I let them play with it and try to get them to taste it from my finger. I also have a shallow bowl of fresh water in their room. They show very little interest in these foods, maybe just a slight curiosity. I'd love to get them to eat something other than the bottled formula so that I could sleep through the night without waking to feed them at 3 AM. (Yuck! I am so tired!!) Do any of you have ideas and/or experience with weaning foster babies?

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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. Try a good quality wet kitten food
mix in a little dry kitten chow.
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. thanks, I'll try it n/t
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. Try some high-quality canned food.
Find something without grains -- some kitties can't tolerate them. (My kitties don't tolerate veggies either.) Since they seem to like the formula, add some to the food at first.

I personally wouldn't wean them to dry food. Especially, don't wet dry food b/c it contains mold and bacteria that grow when the food gets wet.
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. These guys came from the Humane Society
and they are NO help to me. And I have to stop bugging my vet, she has already done so much for the babies.

As long as you think they're not too young I will keep trying. I need sleep.

Thanks a lot.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. They may be a little young, but I doubt it.
Most breeders don't let their kittens go until they're at least 12 weeks old because they want them to be fully weaned. That doesn't happen in one day, of course. We got one at 5 weeks old one time. He was eating food just fine ... the only thing was that he liked to suck on buttons.

Just keep trying. They might like some pieces of raw chicken or game hen.

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tencats Donating Member (226 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
6. My 3 kittens were 7 weeks old Sunday and are completely off mom.
I did nothing special to encourage them except that at week 5 I began offering a small plate of moist food inside the kittens enclosure. One kitten just started eating solid food(canned) at the end of week 5. One other kitten joined a few days later and the last one held out until a few days ago. I started them on Nutro's Maxcat canned kitten food. Other times I have started kittens on Iams canned kitten food. I would never try kibble first. When starting be prepared to waste a few cans of food and don't try to save the leftovers because it looses quality quickly after the can is opened. It seems to me that like using the litter box, when a kitten stops nursing and begins eating on its own is something that they are preprogrammed to do. Just be patient, they will soon not want anything to do with that nursing bottle.
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. encouragement! thanks, I needed that.
I will look for the Nutro's Maxcat and just make it available. Thank you so much.
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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
7. I got Lily when she was 8 weeks old
She had been weened on Science Diet Kitten Formula and for a few years that was all she would eat.

But you could also try some kitten chow moistened with a little lukewarm kitten formula, that might get them used to dry food eventually.
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. She was weened on the dry formula?? or do they have wet? n/t
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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 06:42 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. She was weaned on dry
that's what her mother's owner said. When I went to get Lily from her I saw her feeding them mozzarella cheese sticks, and the kittens were eating that too. I think watching the mother's behavior affects what the kitten will eat sometimes.

I would make sure her little teeth are coming in good and then try her out on the foods suggested. Lorien is an expert on all the good types of food to get, so try some of her suggestions.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
10. Been there (I'm a foster mom too). Get some KMR 2and Step
feed that to them straight for a few days, then mix in a little Wellness kitten food, or Evolve kitten food (both wet-from health food or specialty pet shops/ groomers). They'll be on solid food in about two weeks (I suggest Innova Evo).
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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:50 AM
Response to Original message
11. you are spoiling them with the bottle
don't bring out the bottle every time - just offer them the food and skip the "night feeding"

if they continue to refuse the food -- instead of using the bottle - put the formula in a saucer - see if they lap it up

another trick is to dab the food on their paws - they have to lick it off to clean themselves

of course if they absolutely refuse to eat food - do give them the formula, but always offer the food first, don't even bring the bottle out to wher they can see it
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. you mean I can sleep thru tonight? I'll glady try that- thanku! n/t
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
13. Maybe they are younger than you were told and that is why they are
not responding to the food yet.
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
15. Thank you everyone.
The bigger of the two ate some Nutro Natural Choice kitten food (wet) today. He devoured it. I stuffed a little in his mouth when he cried for the bottle and that was it...almost lost my finger!

I will work on the other and only offer formula (bottled) if I have to.

I will sleep through the night as well.

thank you all very much. I really appreciate your advice and help.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
16. How 'bout some pics of the lil tykes?
Edited on Thu Sep-29-05 03:24 PM by Lisa0825
:loveya: baby kitties :loveya:
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I'm working on photos. My digital camera stinks.
I'll post them soon & send you a Reply then.

Thanks for asking!! :hi:
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. YAY! I can't wait!!!
:loveya: kitties :loveya:
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 06:16 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. kitties for you!!












This image link contains an illegal code>
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. OMIGOSH! They're gorgeous!!!
Beautiful little furballs!!! Thanks for posting!!! :loveya: :loveya: :loveya:
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Adorable!!!!
Thanks for posting them! :loveya:
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
17. my vet said to use canned wet food and mix it with water
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 09:44 AM by superconnected
and put their paws in it.

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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. thanks. The little one doesn't clean her paws (or anything else
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 12:30 PM by sadinred
for that matter - we're working on it still, for now a warm facecloth does the job pretty well.). Today she finally made the connection that the food on my finger was the same as what's in the dish and she just about bathed in it. She was trying to nurse on the food - sucking it in a little at a time, her whole face submerged. The poor little girl. Feeding for her has been tough all along. She just wants Mom back.

Thank you for your suggestion though. Maybe I'll try it and see if she might clean them this time.

The larger one is eating the kitten food very well and fairly happily today. The paw trick would work on him but it's no longer necessary.

I did give both of them a bottle this morning because they were starving and I wanted to be sure they had enough fluid. I'll offer the bottle again tonight to be sure their tummies are full before I go to bed.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #19
33. Bathing in her food....
I thought of your line when I saw the pics my forst kitties previous foster mom sent me:



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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-07-05 07:22 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. LOL!
They eat just like human toddlers! Half of it ends up on the floor or whatever.
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MsTryska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
21. how about offering them some raw food?
ground chicken, with some chicken livers in it and a little egg yolk for vitamins?
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. I'm all for that.
There's nothing like raw food. My kitties thrive on it after years of IBD.

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
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MsTryska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Hee - yeah....
mine too - they still have issues, bu they've both lost weight and it's surprising how their personalities have changed for the better since doing that.

And when it's kitten time again, i'm totally raising raw from the time they are weaned.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. My daughter got new kittens a few months ago.
It was just about the time we switched to raw. She has raised them on raw and they're doing SO well. Mine needed to gain weight -- poor little Satchmo was wasting away to nothing. My vet discouraged raw feeding, so I got a new homeopathic vet. Our babies 4 range from 5-9 years old and they all play like kittens now. Their fur is perfect ... everything's perfect.

We get ground rabbit from hare-today.com (they're in PA). Sometimes we get whole chickens from Whole Foods and grind them ourselves. We don't add any veggies or grains because the IBD kitties can't tolerate them.
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MsTryska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #25
28. Mine are older....
9 and 10, and i've been feeding raw for the last year or so. They were both obese, and I started because one of them was chronically constipated. He's a little less so now, but i've always got to watch him. The other one was about 16lbs and he's down to 13. Unfortunately he was also diagnosed as hyperthyroid, so i think that helped him lose the weight.


I'm failry confident that both of their problems would either have been avoided or mitigated if i'd not fed them grocery store food from the time they were kittens.


either way - they are both doing well now - great coats and everything. The older fat one, used to be damn near autistic, never socialized didn't want to be touched etc. and he was a serious kibble addict. It was tough breaking him to raw, but when i finally got him to at least eat it, grudgingly, his persoanlity got so much better - he tolerates handling,a nd he definitely likes to hang out where the action is now.

I think the most heartwarming thing to me was when he had spend a night at the vet's a few months ago, because he had soem mysterious vomiting (that's when he was diagnosed as hyper-t). well the entire time he was there he wouldn't eat, even when they gave him his favorite canned food. when i finally got him home - i offered him baby chicken first - wouldn't eat it, the avorie canned food - wouldn't eat it - and finally he got what he wand - Mom's home cookingg. :D I was so thrilled that his first meal in five days was his rw food. I'm wonderign now ehther what he was going through was soem sort of late healing crisis.

either way we've been going gangbusters ever since.

in any case - are you happy with hare-today? i'm in Georgia but i've bene contemplating ordering from them. Mine don't eat mammals - except maybe rabbit. So i grind them turkey, chicken, and occasionally quail or rabbit. I sometimes add in ground pork, for variety. But i'm eager to give hare todays pheasant and other things a shot.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. YES!
I'm VERY happy with hare-today. We get ground rabbit and ground chicken in the 5-pound ground packs. We never tried the pheasant. My vet likes them to get at least 70% rabbit, so we usually order more of that.

Isn't it funny how we're so convinced that the manufactured crap is good for them until we have problems? We tried raw as a last resort and we'll never go back. The Abys have gained their weight back, everyone has clean teeth and ears, the coats are soft, poops are normal (small and less stinky, actually), and no vomiting (only hair balls). AND no medicine! I like that part. My next kittens are getting raw from day one.

Let me know if you order from hare-today and how you like them. I'm glad your babies are doing well!

:hi: :loveya:


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MsTryska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. i will definitely let you know....
here's a question - do you give them kibble at all?

i find I have to - mainly because of poop issues - the constipated ones poops more often when he gets the bulk from kibble, and the hyper-t one get's better poops (not quite so mushy) with a little kibble in. I was using Wysong but i thinkt he kibble was a bit too hard on their teeth - i've got them on Wellness plan now, in the mornings - and it's human quality on par with Wysong. int he evenings they get raw. I wish i could do both morning and evening, but i'd get a poop once a week from the constipated one if i did that.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Absolutely not.
We almost lost both of our Abys to IBD and renal problems, so we're not willing to go there again.

Go to www.catinfo.org for some great info on feeding. This lady is a very knowledgeable veterinarian. She literally saved our kitties' lives with her nutritional information.

Raw fed cats naturally produce fewer, much smaller poops. I was surprised when I noticed that ours went 2 days w/out pooping after they'd been doing it 2-3 times per day for years. I found out from the vet that raw food is used more completely, so they just don't make that much. If your kitties are constipated, you might have to adjust the amount of bone in the food or add fiber. I've seen different suggestions on the Yahoo IBD group. The vet who owns catinfo.org posts there, too, so you can get a lot of good suggestions.

Giving them the Wellness canned would be better than giving them kibble ... and would probably produce the same results as far as the poops go.
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MsTryska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #31
32. Nah - definitely not the wellness canned -
it's too rich for the hyper-t one, and the constipated one won't eat it - the constipated one has been like this for years - almost to megacolon stage (which i'm trying to prevent) - his pooper just doesn't work right, and surgery is apparently my only other option.


If i let him go fully raw as i said, he'll poop at most once a week, but the pooplets come out like gravel, and he bleeds because it's so rough on him. I put canned pumpkin into his raw food - but as i said - that kibble needs to be there for bulk.
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