Kittens (not that kind, ya pervert)

Last night, after resisting the urge for several years, I finally broke down and took in a stray cat. The last cat we had (three years ago) had to be put down because of distemper, so I was reluctant to take in another pet because I was heartbroken about the last one and didn’t know if I wanted to put myself through all that again. But when a friend of ours showed up with a half dozen tiger-stripe kittens, telling us that he found them in his garage with momma cat nowhere in sight, I couldn’t resist. She appears to be about three months old and appears to be healthy, other than the fact that she’s a little skinny and dehydrated. I can get her to eat but she refuses to drink anything. Any suggestions?


First, you must take this kitten to the vet for a check up. She needs to be tested for feline aids and leukemia, checked for worms, and she needs vaccines (upper respiratory and leukemia, if she is 4 months old she is old enough for rabies). The kitten should be fed a premium diet such as Science Diet or Eukanuba kitten formula. She will drink water when she is thirsty, she is probably just a little nervous right now. Don’t give her milk.

Good luck with her. If you have any other questiones, let me know.
Resident Vet Tech

I had a cat once who got dehydrated. The vet put her on an IV filled with some fluid (water?) to re-hydrate her, and told me some story about how cats will get dehydrated and then won’t drink.

The same cat a few years later stopped eating long enough to lose half her body weight and do damage to her liver. We had to put her to sleep after that incident. Maybe I just had an anorexic cat, but perhaps you should get your cat to the vet and let him hydrate her for a while. Sometimes they need a kickstart, I guess.

Umm, I know I’ll regret asking, but what kind of kittens would perverts be thinking of?


Little purry, furry kittens!

OK, got that out of my system. You can always try giving her water with an eyedropper, if she won’t drink out of a bowl. I had a cat who stopped eating and drinking, and I had to force-feed him and give him water from an eyedropper (it was like holding a lawnmower in my lap, but never mind).

He also got water like Athena’s cat, only it wasn’t an IV, it was subcutaneous. Apparently, cats can absorb water that’s sloshing around under their skin. People can’t do that. He looked mighty lopsided for about half an hour afterwards, until he absorbed the water.

Let us know how she’s doing. What’s her name?

The Cat In The Hat

Sometimes cats seem to like water more when it is further from their food dish. Perhaps this is an evolutionary thing: cats won’t drink from water that’s near a recent kill?

Another thing is, cats are sometimes offended by tap water since it is too cold and clean, not enough like pond water. Also, the chlorine doesn’t exactly taste natural. The kittens at my parents’ house didn’t like the water in their bowl for a long time, but they got plenty of water since there were always flowers in a shallow vase filled with water. So we have cute pictures of a kitten pushing his head between floppy purple flowers to get a drink.

My advice is: put water in a wide, shallow vessel that won’t tip over. Keep it well away from the Tender Vittles. Decorate it with some flowers if you want. After it gets tepid and nasty, it will likely become every cat’s idea of Ultimate Refreshment. The other advice on the page is good, too, but needles give me the willies.

Really, I wouldn’t rush to plug your cat into an IV drip just yet. Only SICK cats need that kind of thing. As long as the vet deems your cat healthy, don’t worry about it. The cat will drink when it is thirsty. And as cute as a cat drinking from a plant holder may be, don’t allow this. Animals get bacterial infections from drinking water from flower pots, toilet bowls, dishes in the sink. Many cats do like to drink running water, so you might want to try one of those water bowls that have this little water fountain thing on it.

Resident Veterinary Technician

Uhh, pardon my ignorance, but what do animals drink in the wild?

No offense intended, but…animals that have been domesticated for thousands of years tend to have different tolerances than their wild counterparts. And wild animals also get infections.

Did domesticated animals drink clean water for thousands of years? I kind of figured they drank at the pond, to wash down the rat they had just eaten. I just thought their digestive juices would take care of the bacteria.

I think what Michelle was saying is that they can get bacterial infections, not that they necessarily will. Your cat didn’t, right? But I still maintain that most domesticated cats over the ages have had access to better water than wild cats, heightening their susceptibility to infection.

Yes eden, you are correct. Not every cat that drinks stagnant water from a flower pot is going to get a bacterial infection, but it still happens. Plenty of indoors only cats come my way with horrible diarrhea and when I check their stool, it is laden with bacteria. Some amount of bacteria is normal but drinking unclean water can cause an overgrowth, which in turn causes diarrhea. You are also correct when you say that wild animals aren’t the same as our housepets, and that wild animals get sick from this sort of thing too.

Just to pipe in, my cat refuses… absolutely refuses to drink from a water bowl. The only thing she’ll drink from is a trickling tap. So we turn the faucet on a tiny bit a few times a day, and she jumps onto the side of the tub or top of the sink and laps at the flowing water. Go figure.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

Okay, another question? Is tuna fish bad for a kitten? I have been so broke this week that I can’t even afford the cheap cat food, so I’ve been feeding her tuna fish (always seem to have a surplus of that in the cabinet). I’m planning on taking her to the vet after I get paid this weekend. I guess the most surprising thing is that this is the most timid cat I’ve ever seen. Most cats will fight you when you try to pull it out from underneath the couch, but this cat has never even so much as hissed at us or even tried to scratch or bite. Of course, I don’t think I’ve heard it meow once either. I swear, this cat is afraid of its own shadow!

BTW, the reason for the title of this thread was that when I went to a search engine and put in the word “kitten”, the first 20 hits or so were for porn sites (“sex kitten”).


Shadowfox asks:

Standard disclaimers apply here, but I have cat.
Tuna intended for human consumption is not a balanced diet for cats (it’s not a balanced diet for humans, either, but we’re not discusing them at the moment). In addition to the protein that is undoubtedly present in the fish, she also needs vitamins and minerals. I do not know every feline nutritional need (I doubt that anyone does), but, e.g., well-nourished cats synthesize all of the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that they need, whilst they cannot convert carotenes to retinol (vitamin A), but must have retinol present in the diet.
Assuming that the cat has previously been adequately nourished, she can certainly survive on tuna for a few weeks. I wouldn’t go beyond a month, however. Aditionally, growing kittens need more sheer calories, and may have other dietary needs that adult cats don’t.
As a safety measure, get her off tuna this weekend, and buy a kibble that meets AAFCO guidelines. Check with the vet to see if she has special dietary needs. And do discuss your finances (or lack of same) with the vet. Too often, lack of discussion leads to the advice that should be given if the person being offered it has an income of USD10,000,000 per year (this failing is by no means confined to veterinary personnel; ask anyone what to do about anything if “money is no object”).

“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”

IIRC, canned tuna fish is pretty salty, so a steady diet of it isn’t good. A few days shouldn’t hurt, though (although Michelle is the person who should be answering this question, not me!)

As for her disposition, I bet she’s just overwhelmed right now. Give her a few days, and she’ll turn into a little bundle of razor wire when you try to drag her out from under the couch. :wink:

The Cat In The Hat

The little thing will warm up to its new situation soon enough. You just need to let her go at her own pace. And some cats are always on the shy side.

As most people have already guessed, tuna isn’t very good for cats. Tuna packed in oil rather than water is even worse. Cats are highly prone to urinary disease, and any fish diet in general can aggravate these conditions. Some vets don’t even advise feeding fish flavored cat foods.

I strongly adivse checking into pet health insurance. It comes in very handy if you are faced with large vet bills and your vet will not take payments. Some insurance plans also offer vaccines packages. Pet insurance is actually quite common but not many people take advantage of it.