Tue, Jun 11, 2024

I have a 10 day old kitten that was brought to me still in the sack. The person stated she found the 3 kittens in the wide open on her porch deck near the stairs. She said it looked like they had been birthed as the mama cat casually strolled across the porch. Two of the kittens sadly passed within 24 hours but the third one has been going strong. Except, he's kind of dumber than a box of a rocks. I have a nursing mama cat so I gave this one to her. She took him on immediately and did everything a mama should do but he just squirmed around whimpering, never latching on to feed. I kept him in a safe place she could access but I also started to bottle feed. He is very vocal, very strong, inchworms his way around. Even though he's had near 100 bottles now, I still have to hold his head still and pry his mouth open and squeeze the bottle to get milk on his tongue so he knows to eat. I would think after drinking from a bottle 10 times a day for 10 days now he'd readily accept it but he doesn't. I have to force it in his mouth for him to realize it's food. Mama cat was laying on the couch tonight so I put the kitten down at her nipples. He cried and squirmed crawling up her body, under her tail, over her head, totally opposite direction. I kept putting him back at a nipple but he made no effort to latch on. It looked like a normal kitten hunting for a nipple but even when I expressed milk so he could smell or taste it, it never seemed to register with him to latch on and eat.

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Dr. Windom
Dr.Tail Vet

It sounds like you're doing an amazing job caring for this little kitten, especially given the circumstances. The behavior you're describing, where the kitten is not latching onto the mother cat or the bottle, can be concerning.

Firstly, sometimes kittens that have difficulty latching or feeding might have underlying developmental issues. These could be neurological or physical, making it harder for them to recognize and respond to feeding cues.

And you might also try warming the milk slightly more, to body temperature, to make it more appealing.

Before feeding, gently rub the kitten's face and mouth with a warm, damp cloth to stimulate their feeding reflexes. This mimics the grooming behavior of a mother cat and can sometimes encourage them to latch on.

Hold the kitten in a way that its belly is facing down and its head is slightly elevated. This can sometimes help them latch on more effectively.

Given that the kitten is very vocal and strong, these are good signs of vitality. However, if the kitten continues to struggle with feeding, it might be best to take your cat to the vet to rule out any underlying issues and to get more tailored advice.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. Thank you.