Sickly, Lethargic Kitten

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Marnet 5 years, 10 months ago.

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    Hello everyone, my name is Emilia and I’m a fifteen year old animal lover. I recently found an abandoned kitten on the side of our road at home. Today marks our first ever week with her.

    When we first got her she was very playful, running around like a little jackrabbit and playing with everyone. However recently she seems to have spiraled downward. She’s lethargic and a little lazy. I noticed a gradual change in her playful nature, but today she was just downright tired. I have a feeling she may have dehydration.

    Since I am living in the Philippines, it is quite hard to get quality medical care for animals and kittens. I was wondering if your wonderful community may have some advice to help my kitten?

    She’s about 4-5 weeks old, she’s a tri-colored feral cat, and she’s a little skinny. Due to the lack of kitten milk supplements, we’ve been giving her a breastmilk supplement for human babies. She’s been trying to eat solids, and she poops and pees just fine (she actually pooped for the first time the other day, we have to wonder if that has something to do with her suddenly falling really ill).

    It’s hard to find the right products for kittens in my country, so this is rather difficult for me. I’ve raised orphaned kittens before, they were usually stolen and run over whenever I was gone, however I’ve never had one with quite as many health complications before. We even used to feed the old ones powdered baby milk and sometimes even cow’s milk, they seemed perfectly healthy and fine with these despite what I read on the internet (I don’t use cow’s milk anymore though).

    Thank you so much in advance, you guys have a wonderful community here.



    You are right not to feed her cow’s milk, the majority of cats can’t digest it properly.

    Below are the instructions for doing the tent test and for making homemade pedialyte. The tent test is to test for dehydration. Pedialyte is better for re-hydration than plain water. You can mix her food with pedialyte instead of using water.

    We have had some other posters from the Philippines and they have all had trouble finding good vet care. Start making calls to see if you can find someone who can take a look at your baby.

    Tent test: pick up a good pinch of kitten’s skin at the neck and let go.If it snaps back immediately, she’s hydrated okay. If it takes a little time to go back down, or, worse, it stays up in a ‘tent’ shape, she needs fluids, such as pedialyte (from the supermarket, children’s aisle) or home-made pedialyte below.

    Note, in the United Kingdom, pedialyte is called Dioralyte. Also known as rehydration salts.

    Home-made pedialyte:


    * Pedialyte formula (from World Health Organization)…no preservatives so short life-span

    * 1 cup water (boiled then cooled)

    * 2 tsp sugar

    * 1/8 tsp salt

    * 1/8 tsp baking soda

    * (this Pedialyte formula gives needed electrolytes & some sugar for energy)

    Combine all ingredients and warm slightly.

    Make new after 24 hours.



    Hi, Emilia, thank you so much for rescuing this kitten, you rock!

    Human baby milk is not enough for kittens usually, so if you are still using this, make it up to double strength, though canned or fresh goats milk is much better still, if you can get it. I’m going to give you our favourite sites for helping to raise orphaned kittens, they also suggest emergency formula recipes for kittens (also called kitten ‘glop’) of ingredients that you may have at home, eg condensed milk, mayonnaise, yoghurt and gelatin.

    You’ve gotten the pedialyte formula (boiled cooled water, sugar, salt and baking soda) from CBM above, so if baby is dehydrated, this should help. At four to five weeks, she should be at least trying solids, what are you giving her?

    Does she have fleas? This is very important as they can cause anaemia that can kill little kittens. Don’t use over-the-counter flea treatments as they are probably much too strong for her at this age. A flea comb and/or — if they are really bad — a quick wash in warm water and a gentle soap are best. Dawn or Fairy Liquid are good if you have them. Lather her neck first so the fleas don’t all rush to her head (don’t lather her face) and make sure you dry her off very quickly and very well or she may catch a chill.

    Here are the kitten sites:

    And here is another site with glop recipes:

    This thread may also help:

    And if you can find a good vet, please get her checked over as she may be sick. Best of luck and please let us know how she’s getting on.



    Can you find goats milk? That’s much better than human baby milk because human baby milk doesn’t have the necessary nutrients for a kitten. Also, you could try wet cat (preferably kitten) food, that’s usually easier to eat for a kitten then dry food.



    Hi Everyone, thank you so much for the wonderful support and advice. I have done as you have recommended, and it seemed to prolong “his” (he was actually a boy! Whoops!) life. We were able to rush him to an emergency vet which we found. The 24-hour doctor was really good, and she was able to nurse some strength back into him.

    However, Saki did not make it. He showed such strength before I had to leave him there for the night, and the vet said it was after he left that he stopped fighting. He fought well and he fought hard, and he’ll always be remembered.

    I quite blame myself for not helping him enough, I feel there was always more that I could’ve done to prevent this. But once again I thank you so much for all the kind advice!

    Wishing good health and happiness to you and your kittens!



    Don’t blame yourself for the loss of his young life. You gave him more than he ever would have had if you hadn’t found him and brought him home. He had love, warmth, food and security – none of which he would have experienced if you hadn’t been kind enough to bring him home.



    Saki, sorry your kitten didn’t make it. Bless you for the loving and care you gave and how you made the kitten’s short life a kinder and sweeter life than he would have had otherwise.

    Please don’t blame yourself. Young kittens are very fragile, especially ones that are feral or abandoned or have otherwise lost their momma cat. There are so many things that can go wrong with tiny kittens that the odds are actually against such tiny kittens that are abandoned for even a few hours.

    You nurtured and cared for your kitten with kindness and love. You were a blessing to your kitten. I’m sorry you lost him.

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