Tempting Ill Kittens' Appetites: How?

OK, I’m not competely sure if this a GQ or an IMHO. We adopted a baby kitten about 10 days ago, and he’s got a wicked upper repiratory infection; he’s got snot like you wouldn’t believe, so he can’t smell much. The vet says cats won’t eat what they can’t smell, which explains why he isn’t eating well.

We’re supposed to force-feed him if he doesn’t eat. He hates that and so do we. (ow.)

Do any of you stellar Dopers out there have any experience with this? Or with getting cats to eat in general? Every cat I’ve known before this eats too much and I’ve had to be ingenious preventing them from eating, not encouraging.

He roundly ignores Iams dry kitten food, various canned kitten food, and plain people tuna.

The kitten in question has just been named Sebastian . He is currently purring on my lap.

Help help help!

Kitten milk replacer-the best option, because it is a complete source of nutrition, and they can drink it.

Eukanuba makes a liquid food that comes in a can that you can heat up in the microwave, if the kitten can smell at all, he’ll be able to figure out it’s food (my kittens loved it). I think you can only get this from vets.

Nutrience makes a powdered kitten food that you can mix with water and heat it up, again, my kittens liked this alright.

For canned food, the one I have found sick kittens like the most is Nutro’s. There are no big chunks they have to chew.

8 in 1 makes an energy supplement that I have used with success with adult cats that won’t eat because of upper respitory infections, but it is messy, and kittens don’t seem to like it very much.
Good luck, the most important thing is to get food in this guy, kittens can get very weak very quickly if they aren’t eating. What antibiotic is he on? How old is he?

fancy feast seems to work when all else fails. any of the flavours should work. the ones that are sliced have nice gravy that will get kitty started.

i know how tough it is to get a “stuffed up” little one to eat. good luck. i hope sebastian gets better real soon.

winken the wonderful gives me the evil eye (and even runs away) when i reach for tissues to this day, her cold was 10 years ago. i even used puffs plus on her little stuffy nose. silly little fur face.

Magayuk, he’s definitely already been weaned – he WAS eating solid foods before his UTI kicked in so badly. We’re really not sure how old he is but are guessing 8 - 10 weeks – it’s very hard to say because he was so malnourished.

He was on Clavamox, which the shelter gave us, but today the vet gave us Cefa Drops instead, thinking maybe his UTI was resistant to the Clavamox.

BTW, thank you! Bless you! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

rocking chair, Fancy Feast, huh? I’ll get some tomorrow, TIA. Any idea what makes it work? Is it just particularly stinky?

Just a thought (no idea if this would work) but have you tried sprinkling catnip on some food? While catnip may not be super pungent if he has that catnip gene and any does penetrate his stuffed head it might spark him to eat something (my cats eat catnip…they roll in it too so maybe catnip on wet cat food isn’t the greatest idea).

Just a thought. I can’t imagine how I’d force feed my cat without getting shredded in the process so I can sympathize.

He’s a beautiful little kitty!

I’m quite surprised your vet didn’t give you A/D, which is quite easy to syringe feed. The important thing right now, though, is that he has to eat SOMETHING. Cats that stop eating are in grave danger because they develop hepatic lipidosis. Basically, they start to metabolize their own body fat and they cannot metabolize fat well, thus the liver backs up with fatty globules, causing liver failure and death.

You MUST get the kitten to eat, and he must eat enough calories to prevent his body from metabolizing his fat stores. Being a kitten, he is probably pretty lean and you likely have more time to get food into him than with an overweight adult cat, but it is still critically important that he eat.

Your vet should give you a daily amount of intake at minimum to get down him. If you cannot force feed him enough, he should have a stomach tube put in to feed him. Also, your vet should check that he is well hydrated and if not, give him IV or sub q fluids.

How many days has he been without food? Good luck and keep us posted.

Calliope, yes, the vet sent my husband home with syringable food and a syringe and instructions… 60cc per day and no more than 20 cc per feeding… I’m just hoping to avoid having to use it, because forcing the antibiotic drops was very stressful for all of us (I have a fine set of scratches on my shoulder) and I don’t want to do lots more of that if we can help it.

He got a bellyfull today at the vet’s and he’ll get more before we all go to bed.

We do know about lipidosis; our other kitty, Domino, ran away from home before I knew him (before I moved in with my husband) and got it, and the tales are dire.

What’s A/D?

Isn’t he just gorgeous? (I am a first time kitten-mom and VERY proud)

At the moment he is still sleeping on my lap, with those adorable twitchyfoot dreams, and seems a lot less hot-to-the-touch than he did yesterday and before. Is that good? It seems good.

Whack-a-Mole, thanks, buddy, :slight_smile: , but he has completely ignored the just-picked-fresh-catnip I’ve shredded for Domino. I’ve read that catnip has something (no one knows what) to do with post-pubescence triggers in cats, and I believe it based on observations of our little crew.

Oh, and Calliope, he’d been two days without any snacking we could confirm before what the vet stuffed in him today.

And as far as I can tell he has zero-nuttin’-nada fat stores.

A/D is just the name of a critical care food by Hills. If the vet sent home something, it is likely the same type of thing. It sounds like you’ve been given good advice and as long as you get the 60 ccs into him, he should stay clear of lipidosis. The antibiotics are probably messing with his appetite. Hopefully, he’ll turn around soon.

He is absolutely gorgeous!

How about rubbing food on some extremity and relying on a cats insistence at cleanliness to work for you. Maybe smear some moist food on a paw. Hopefully he will want to clean it off and in the process eat what he’s cleaning. This might be messy and inefficient to get any significant amount down him so again it is just a thought.

Whack-a-Mole, I did try the smearing-on-paw trick with some tuna but he’s reaaally good at flicking it off. Whizz! Whizz! Tuna everywhere (yecch).

Thank you Calliope dahling! Isn’t he just!

Any tips on syringing? Or damping down kitten claws? A towel wasn’t much use; the comforter worked better. But I’m really hesitant to make him equate comforter=Bad Things.

Maybe try making whatever you’re feeding him more sticky. Put the tuna in a blender and work it till it’s pasty (like peanut butter). I don’t know if you can get tuna to do that in a blender but whatever works (add water, flour…whatever till it’s goopy or use some other food that would work). Then try smearing it on a paw. He’ll flick a glob off but some is bound to stick to him.

Once again just a thought…I’m running out of ideas so don’t blame me if I’m dragging bottom here (clearly you have been down this road and a few others besides already).

Thankee, nice person Whack-a-Mole, we might just try it. My husband just finally got the part to fix our blender so we CAN. :slight_smile:

Well, getting a cat to do anything it doesn’t want to is difficult to say the least.

I read this very morning about a technique one lady uses to give her cats meds that you might try. She holds the cat in a football hold and puts the cat over the back of a chair or couch so that its claws sink into the furniture. Then she holds the cats forhead and uses the other hand to get the stuff into the mouth. It sounds like a 2 person job to me, but putting the cat over the furniture does seem like it could work. I have a cat who hates pills and I’m going to give this a try the next time her IBD flares up.

I should note that I have no idea if flour is bad for kitties. I doubt they can get much if any nutrition from it but I was thinking that the flour acts more like a filler/binder for the ‘real’ food. I don’t see why flour would be harmful but cats are odd in their digestion so it is hard to tell what might be a bad idea to feed them. The flour might block up the works and you have a whole new problem…my cat got blocked-up and had to have an enema (not due to flour…just regular cat food…she will spend the rest of her life eating Colon-Blow 2000 to avoid this). They had to shave her ass and that was one PISSED-OFF cat after they were done.

Anyway, I have zero clue if flour is at all harmful but to be safe you might want to double check before feeding him any food that might be considered unusual for a cat. Of course if you think the whole idea is stupid anyway it’s a non-issue.



It is a natural anti-inflamatory. Go pick up some Fancy Feast Savory Salmon or Salmon and whitefish Feast.

Or just a can of Salmon. It’s not all that expensive and they love the juice/oils. When our Fox (male kitten) was deathly ill and having trouble eating solids, he still greedily licked up the fluid.

Actually I think we have a can of salmon in the cupboard, and we’ll try it ** Chimera**.

NO Monty Python “Meaning of Life” jokes will be tolerated, thankyouverymuch.

OK, so Sebastian just got his first home forcefeeding. He didn’t like it much and neither did we, but I think at least 2/3 of the Prescribed Nasty Goo made it into the kitten instead of outside of the kitten (on my shirt or the floor).

Chimera, I did open the tinned salmon beforehand, and drained of a few CCs of salmon juice for him, but he was having none of it… :frowning: and so then the dog had all of it.