Baby multigrain cereal for 2.5-week-old hand-reared kittens?

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Erynne Mitchell-Waltman 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #848373

    I’ve been caring for a pair of kittens (Ginger and Bran) for just over two weeks now (started with 24-48hr post-birth when their queen apparently abandoned them underneath the steps of our vacation cabin; that made for an interesting vacation), and we had our first establishing visit with our vet who’s cared for all my dogs over the years (I’ve never had cats before). She recommended I add a teaspoon of baby multigrain cereal to each of their bottles from this point on to acclimate them to solid foods before transitioning to formula-softened kibble at 4wk. As cats are obligate carnivores rather than opportunistic omnivores, my plan was to put them on a grain-free kibble/canned diet (I have small children/toddlers, so a raw diet isn’t something I’m comfortable pursuing at present).

    Does it make any sense at all to be adding baby cereal to their bottles? Is this just old school thinking (this is the same vet I’ve taken companion animals to my entire life; my parents took their toy poodle to her starting when I was three and she had an established practice then, so she’s been in the business at least 35yr). Is it worth continuing the cereal in their bottles or should I stop that and just transition to a mix of formula and canned kitten food before introducing kibble at 4wk? I’m very fond of these tiny squeakers, and I don’t want to potentially harm them.

    Thanks for your knowledge and guidance!
    Erynne

    #848381

    pussigato
    Participant

    Welcome Erynne,

    We’re the fluffy feline blog around! It seems the queen wants you to be a multi-pet household. You can give them baby cereal but it has no nutrients. We recommend feeding Goats’ milk because it’s closest to mama’s milk. It’s high in probiotics and nutrients. Cats don’t digest cow’s milk very well because they are lactose intolerant and Goats’ milk is low in lactose. This prevents many problems like diarrhea/constipation. You feed them Goats’ milk exclusively until 4 weeks and then mix it with wet kitten food making a gruel. By 7-8 weeks they should be eating wet kitten food. Of course, the kits will decide when they’re ready to make the transition. You can find Goats’ milk in the dairy section or the concentrate in the baking aisle. If you use the concentrate mix it 1:1 with water.

    Here’s a couple of links on hand raising kittens:
    http://www.safehavenforcats.com/newborn.htm
    http://messybeast.com/handrear.htm

    I hope this information helps-Good luck

    PG

    #848383

    Kittyzee
    Participant

    I have used the cereal/formula mix on kittens when I first started rescuing and it keeps their tummies a little fuller longer, but you may have to watch out for constipation issues. I would switch over to the goat’s milk (I have used this, so know it works first hand) and then at around 4 to 5 weeks, introduce wet kitten food to them mixed with the milk. I know some websites are saying that it isn’t nutritionally complete, but the transition from formula to goat’s milk went so smooth for me as my kitten then didn’t have any digestive issues like he did with the KMR. It’s no fun dealing with constipation, then diarrhea in a kitten see sawing back and forth from one to the other on KMR. So glad you decided to help these little ones on your vacation, so many people would have just left them to die. Everything happens for a reason, doesn’t it? 🙂

    #848389

    Thank you for your replies! They’re nearing the end of the current box of premixed liquid kitten formula, so I’ll buy some goat’s milk today and begin transitioning them over. I appreciate your knowledge! And so do Ginger and Bran.

    Thanks!
    Erynne

    #848429

    Kittyzee
    Participant

    Erynne, keep us posted and let us know how they are doing. You are going to love being a cat mommy (not just a dog mommy) too!

    #848467

    I went in to feed them this evening and Ginger appears to have had diarrhea. 🙁 His hind end was crusty with diarrhea and Bran’s front end was a bit splattered (washing his face sent him into a pretty pitiful sulk).

    Is the diarrhea likely to have been caused by the addition of goat’s milk to their diet? I started yesterday evening at a ratio of 1/3 goat’s milk (mixed with water, since it’s the canned stuff) to 2/3 kitten formula. I’ll continue at that ratio to let his tummy adjust; is it the likely culprit? I suppose I’ll also pick up canned pumpkin (plain, not pie filling!) if this continues through their before-bed feeding.

    Thanks!
    Erynne

    #848468

    Kittyzee
    Participant

    I’ve not had the problem with diarrhea and the goat’s milk, so I can’t say. Your kittens may also have worms and one celled parasites too, but they are probably too young to be wormed yet. Give them a couple of days to get adjusted to their new diet. Did you mix the canned condensed with water 1 to 1? Then mix it 1/3 to 2/3 formula? (hoping I was reading your post right) I think that should be good, just keep them at that until they get used to it. If they should get really bad diarrhea, mix some pedialyte in with their formula to replace electrolytes lost.

    #848469

    Yes, equal parts water to canned goat’s milk, then mixed that in 1 part to 2 parts formula.

    The emergency vet I took them to last Wednesday actual put them on a three-day course of Strongid, which actually gave them diarrhea for the three days they were on it… but they could definitely still have worms, or have another illness altogether. Poor tiny babies…!

    At least Ginger hadn’t leaked diarrhea around the kitten nest again when I went in for the pre-bed feeding just now. He had a tiny bit of runny poo when I stimulated him to eliminate, but only a very tiny bit. I’m hoping he’ll be much better by tomorrow; I suppose the 3am feeding will tell! I’ll probably buy canned pumpkin and Pedialyte tomorrow, just in case.

    Thanks!
    Erynne

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