Bottlefed kitten scratches at bottle when trying to feed

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This topic contains 55 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Kittyzee 1 year, 6 months ago.

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  • #41397

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Hi Everyone, I just discovered this site and think it is wonderful how kitten lovers are willing to help each other and share advice.

    I just adopted an orphaned kitten that is about 3 weeks old. He took to the bottle well for his first feeding (about 15cc), but since then he has been more difficult to bottle feed. I have used several different nipples and made sure that the milk drips out when I lightly squeeze the bottle. Today, he acts….frantic when I put the nipple to his mouth. He stretches out his arms and scratches like crazy. When he finally catches on and starts sucking, he gets calm. He will take 10-15cc’s at the most, then he is no longer interested. I will burp him and offer more but he won’t take it. Then he will nuzzle on my shirt like he is still hungry, but won’t take anymore. He weighed 8oz. yesterday and 9oz. today. He voids after each feeding when I stimulate him, but has only had two hard stools in the two days I have had him. I added a few drops of mineral oil to his last bottle, so hopefully that will soften his stools. He seems to act normal. He purrs, meows a little, runs and climbs. I just hate how he has started scratching when I feed him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    #609623

    CheetahBoysmommy
    Participant

    Welcome to TDK, and thank you for rescuing the little one.

    Is he scratching or is he trying to knead? When a kitten feeds off mama cat, he kneads her tummy on each side of the nipple to make the milk come out. If that’s what it looks like he is trying to do, then wrap the hand you hold the bottle with in something soft (old fleece works great. Grasp the bottle close enough to the nipple so that the little guy’s feet can knead on the fleece.

    Kittens don’t poop every day. They usually go every other day. Kitten Milk Replacement (you aren’t using cow’s milk, are you?) tends to constipate them a bit, especially the already liquid kind. Putting a little oil in the formula helps and using the dry KMR and mixing it yourself will also help.

    I’ve added “orphan” and “handraising” to the links in the right hand corner – there is some good info on those threads.

    How soon will we be seeing pictures of the little one? We love kitten pictures.

    #609624

    Skyron
    Participant

    He misses his mommy and his siblings 🙂 the scratching thing is called ‘letting down’ – its how they would paddle the momma cat’s nipples to get the milk to flow faster or stronger. And him snuggling up against you and sucking on your shirt, they would also do that with momma – they always go to sleep with momma’s nipple still in the mouth, its like a pacifier is for a human baby, just something to comfort them while they are falling asleep. You can try giving him one of your old t-shirts that you’ve worn, that smells like you, to sleep with. As for the poop, in my experience it only happens every 2-3 days, so dont worry too much about that.

    #609625

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Thanks for the welcome and quick replies!

    I don’t think that he is kneading, this is more like frantic scratching. Like he is starving. He sometimes meows and growls with the nipple in his mouth. I just fed him about an hour ago and he did it again. (I used my blanket to cover my hand that is holding the bottle because it really hurts!) This time, he couldn’t “latch-on” to the nipple, like he was fighting it. I only got 8cc’s in him and that was letting it dribble in his cheek. He is sound asleep now. I love it when he does it right, his little ears wiggle. I guess he is still learning and getting impatient! I am using powder kitten milk replacer by Hartz. I just hope I am doing everything right. I am super worried because the first day that I had him, he ate 3 times and was active, then when I went to wake him up to feed him again, he had spit-up, was breathing fast and was listless. I thought he was dying! I tried to dribble some in his mouth and I just held him and cried. Then I put him back in his warm box and kept checking on him. About 4 hrs. later my husband checked on him and he popped his head up and started climbing around!! It was like a miracle. I am thinking of naming him Lazaras!! I’m still thinking on a name and praying he will be okay. I guess that is why I am so worried about him. Thanks again for the advice! (I will new to the site and will try and post photos.)

    #609626

    jcat
    Participant

    Lisa, there are some great sites on raising orphans:

    http://feral-kitten-rescue.blogspot.com/2008/10/feral-kitten-how-to-story.html

    http://www.messybeast.com/handrear.htm

    http://www.kittenrescue.org/pages.php?pageid=15

    http://www.fanciers.com/cat-faqs/orphans.shtml

    http://www.feralcat.com/raising.html

    Welcome to TDK! You can’t really post pix on here but you can if you make your kitten a Catster page — click on our avatars to see ours.

    #609627

    Skyron
    Participant

    No, really, the frantic scratching is kneading. It just seems worse cause he’s hungry for food. Have you tried keeping his feeds on a schedule? Like every 3 hours, so he can come to know and expect when his food will come, so he doesnt get so frantic? With food its usually more of a mental thing if they’ve gone hungry for a long period of time in their lives, that they seem so eager for it all the time. Also, you should consider taking him to the vet to be dewormed. Its possible he could have parasites that are getting more of the nurishment from the milk than he is.

    #609628

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    I have been keeping a notebook and writing everything down. At first, I was feeding him every 3 hrs. Last night, he never woke up on his own, so I woke up and fed him every 4 hrs. Today, it has been every 2-3 hrs. I was thinking that the more frequent feedings would make him less frantic. Thanks for the links to the web sites, I have been checking them out. I hope to take him to the vet. on Monday. I was expecting to get him in a few more weeks, but his owner told me that two of his litter mates had died. There were 5 in the litter. I thought I would go ahead and get him and give the owner a break. I have raised two other very small kittens, but they are all different and special. So I will get him to the vet. ASAP. Thanks again!

    #609629

    Buttercup
    Participant

    Aww such an adorable little Orangie! Thanks so much for rescuing him. Do you have a heating pad for him? He can’t regulate his body temp yet and they won’t feed or be able to digest food if they’re cold. Just put the heat pad to one side so he can get off it or put a hot water bottle with a towel on it so he can snuggle up.

    #609630

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Yes, I have a heating pad for him and I put him in a dark, quiet spot for sleeping. I have learned so much from the sites that everyone has recommended! He just ate great last time, still scratching and acting starving. He loves to root, and suck and kick on me when I hold him. He is a rough, strong little guy. I put a little stuffed kitten friend in his bed and he was playing with it! Thanks for the compliments on how cute he is, there are beautiful photos on this site.

    #609631

    CheetahBoysmommy
    Participant

    He is absolutely adorable. I hope the vet will fit him in on Monday. It’s always comforting to hear that you are doing all the right things. Does he have a name yet or are you waiting for him to let you know what he wants to be named?

    #609632

    Buttercup
    Participant

    Sounds like you’re doing all the right things Lisa. He is adorable and Orangie boys are the sweetest things. 🙂

    #609633

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for the support. I named him Lazaras because he came back to life after I knew he was dying! He is such a good little guy. I set my alarm last night for 4 hour feedings.(He never wakes up on his own to eat.) I had fed him every 2-3 hours yesterday. I did that tent test that you all told me about yesterday and he was a little dehydrated yesterday, but today it is normal! I am still concerned about his stools being so hard. I hope to get him into the vet tomorrow where they can check him out. Is it normal for him to be a little jittery sometimes? He was playing a lot after eating, and his head was jittery. I don’t think he is cold. He has his heating pad. Thanks again!

    #609634

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Hi Everyone,

    I took Lazarus to the vet. yesterday and he checked out fine! His stool looked good, but they gave him dewormer anyway in case there were eggs. They said his near death episode may have been a low blood sugar since he had spit up. Me putting a little formula in his mouth may have helped him. His is running around a lot now and very sweet. Skyron, he loves to sleep with my old t-shirts that I have been wearing. He nuzzles up in them and goes to sleep. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advice. You all are great!!

    #609635

    CheetahBoysmommy
    Participant

    I’m glad he had a good check-up. He is just the cutest little thing. The picture of him with his Beanie Baby is darling.

    #609636

    jcat
    Participant

    OMG, yes, the piccy of him with the beanie baby is too cute! You should submit it to Kittenmaster for kitten of the day, the look on his happy little face is just gorgeous!

    #609637

    HuddysMama
    Participant

    What a little cutie-pie. Bless you for taking care of this special baby. He’s simply adorable. I hope you guys have many years together.

    #609638

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Hi everyone, I have a question. Lazarus is running around, climbing, meowing & purring. I am concerned because he really doesn’t “suck” his bottle anymore. He chews on the nipple and swallows when I slowly squeeze it. He acts hungry, but won’t suck like he used to. He isn’t drinking as much either. Usually between 5-10cc’s every 2-4 hrs. Any advise would be appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Lisa

    #609639

    CheetahBoysmommy
    Participant

    First check that the nipple isn’t blocked and that the hole is large enough. Then make sure the formula hasn’t gone ‘off’. (It’s not usually a good idea to make up a whole day’s formula at a time.) If both of those things check out okay, then he may be letting you know he’s about ready to start weaning.

    If he’s ready to eat from a plate, make it a very swallow one like a saucer rather than a bowl. Start with just formula in the saucer. You will probably have to put him in front of it, then wipe some milk onto his little lips. If he’s ready to wean, he’ll figure it out within a day. Once he has mastered lapping milk, the you can make a mushy mixture of wet food and milk. Pick a mild flavor and stay with one flavor for a while. Switching what goes into the front end can make a real mess out of what comes from the back end.

    #609640

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Thanks Cheetahboysmommy! The only thing different about the formula is that I am no longer adding a little bit of mineral oil to it. The nipples seem to be working fine, some of them drip faster, some need squeezed a little to drip. He is getting some because I see it go in his mouth and he chews and swallows. Do you think it will work if I pour the formula onto the middle of paper plate? I don’t have any saucers.

    #609641

    2 Popoki
    Participant

    I am no expert by any means, but I would not use a paper plate. The formula will soak into it too quickly and I’d worry about kitty getting the paper in his system. Doesn’t have to be a saucer… a plate of any kind would work. Just so the sides are not high, like a bowl.

    #609642

    wendydelmo
    Participant

    Mine did that when they were ready to wean (and I didn’t know it) the first time I put canned food on a spoon and held it down to a plate with milk on it, Chubbie just took a lick, then started chowing down! By nightfall all 4 kits were eating solid food, and by the next night, no one wanted a bottle anymore!

    #609643

    CheetahBoysmommy
    Participant

    If you don’t have a plate or saucer that might work, try a Tupperware lid, or a casserole lid or even the lid to something wide like a peanut butter jar. Just make sure if you take the lid of food, that it’s really clean.

    One of the reasons you need a shallow dish is so his little whiskers don’t touch the sides when he puts his head in. Cats tell distances with their whiskers; when something touches them the cat knows the area is too narrow for him. Then he pulls his head back. Unless, of course, he is knowingly sticking his head into something to get to the people food/drink in it – then it’s ‘full speed ahead, whiskers be damned.’

    #609644

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Thanks everyone. Well, I just tried to give him warm formula on a plate. I put my finger in it and put it on his mouth. He walked in it and off of the plate onto the floor. I tried this a few times, then ended up dribbling it into his mouth again from the bottle. I will keep trying to see if he is ready. I don’t know why he won’t suck anymore. He is now getting to where he wakes up from his nap and YELLS LOUDLY!! LOL, I hope that means he is healthy. I may have to put him somewhere else tonight so that I can at least sleep for 4 hrs. at a time. I don’t mind feeding him 5-10cc’s every few hours today, but I will be worn out if I don’t sleep tonight. He has to do better by this weekend because I will be at for for 12 hrs. on Friday and Saturday and I just don’t see my husband or teenage girls feeding him every 2 hrs. I just don’t want him to get sick. I love it when he runs-wobbles across the floor to me!! Thanks again.

    #609645

    Skyron
    Participant

    royal canin makes stuff called babycat mousse. Its a very soft meaty paste for weaning kittens. I always use it for their first 2 ‘weaning’ meals, it works a treat. They cant resist it, you can even mix it into their formula to give it more nutritional weight, so he’ll be full for longer. I always just take a blob of it on my finger and smear it on/inside their mouth so they have to lick it off and taste it. If you cant get the mousse, any soft wet food could also work, but just use small amounts, cause it tends to give them the runs . . .

    #609646

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Thanks, I will look for the babycat mousse tomorrow at Petsmart. I bought some Gerber baby food “chicken & chicken broth” and mixed it with a little bit of warm formula and rubbed in on his mouth but he didn’t act like he cared. Oh well, I will keep trying. He actually just sucked a little bit of his bottle this feeding. I got him to take 10cc. I mixed his formula with pedialyte instead of water since he isn’t taking as much as he used to. Oh, I called and checked on his two brothers and they are doing fine. They are drinking from a bottle and using a litterbox. I need to buy some litter tomorrow, all I have is the clumping type and I read not to use that kind. I am glad to hear his brothers are doing fine.

    #609647

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Hi everyone!

    I have another kitty question. I bought the nonclumping type of litter for his litter box. I put him in it and scratched his front paws around in it. Then he started to EAT the litter!! I don’t want to do anything to hurt this guy. Some of the litter chunks are kind of big, I think he could get choked on it. But, I read somewhere that the clumping litter can harm the kitten’s eyes and they may eat it. What should I do? Please help!

    #609648

    Buttercup
    Participant

    Oh the little dickens! maybe you should just use torn up newspapers or there is a litter made of that at Petsmart(forgot the name sorry) until the little silly is sure what to eat. He sure is a cute one.

    #609649

    CheetahBoysmommy
    Participant

    Kittens have a bad habit of swallowing litter, either off their feet or just ’cause they play in it. That’s one of the main reasons you don’t want clumping litter for a kitten.

    Try putting shredded newspaper on top of the litter. The paper won’t hurt him if he chomps a bit of it and the litter will absorb whatever he deposits. Plus he’ll get use to the smell of the litter and start to equate it with elimination.

    #609650

    Lisacat65
    Participant

    Thanks so much guys! I am going to try something different tonight. I am going to let him have some roaming around room in the bathroom. I am going to put the “newspaper” litter box in one spot, some kitten chow mixed with a little water and chicken baby food, and a nice warm sleeping spot. I hope he likes all of this. He tends to get mad now if he is put in his little carrier. Let me go shred some paper now! 🙂

    #609651

    ladysky61
    Participant

    OMG. Your kitten is sooo adorable. Who is the black cat in the photo on Catster? He looks like a sweety. Is he or she being nice to Lazarus? I hope this older cat can teach the younger one the ropes of being a cat:

    1) Meow cutely when you did something you shouldn’t have

    2)Train your servants to get up and feed you on YOUR schedule

    3)climb high on furnature to get a good view of your “servants” working

    4)the curl-up in lap and purr move

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