Lethargic 7-week Old Kitten

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  pussigato 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Two days ago my boyfriend and I rescued a kitten from the streets of Beirut, where we live. The kitten weighed just under 600 grams when we first took her into our apartment. Because it is not possible to find high-quality cat/kitten food in Lebanon, we first fed her wet food (Friskies or a similar brand). She had diarrhea, so we then made her up a dish of boiled turkey and pumpkin puree.

    We are worried because she seems to be losing weight, rather than gaining. She is now around 555grams (1.2 lbs), so she has lost about 40 grams within two days. We took her to the vet first thing when they opened this morning, and they have now given her a dewormer and antibiotics. She is not running a fever and the vet doesn’t suspect she has a viral infection. The vet did confirm that she is very dehydrated though. She is estimated to be about 7 weeks old.

    I tried to insist on giving her an IV or subcutaneous fluids, but the vet repeatedly dismissed me and told me to just keep feeding her wet food to get her hydration levels back up. I am hoping that the vet is right and that the meds she is now taking will stop her diarrhea.

    But because vets in Lebanon are not as cautious as the ones I’m used to in the U.S., I am worried and wonder whether I should take the kitten to another vet for a second opinion and ideally for some fluids. She seems very lethargic and only wants to sleep and eat (she doesn’t explore the apartment or play, she just sleeps and eats/uses the toilet).

    Any recommendations? Should I monitor her for another day to see if her stool firms up and/or whether she loses any more weight?



    Thanks to you and your BF for rescuing this wee kit.

    Yes, we are spoiled by the pet/animal care in the States. All street cats have worms so that was a good idea. Often they have bacterial infection too.

    Of course, fluids are most important now. Unflavored Pedialyte is an excellent means of giving fluid to a kitten. If you don’t have it in the baby food section, here’s a recipe. You can use a dropper or bottle but don’t force her to drink it. (It’s easy to do that).
    You can feed her plain pumpkin and boiled chicken until her stomach issues settle down. You can slowly introduce to kitten food.

    * 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.

    In TDKland, we recommend Goats’ milk for kittens. Cats are lactose intolerant and can’t digest cows milk. Goats’ milk is full of nutrients, probiotics and gentler on their tummies. This can also regulate the poop. I expect you can’t find this in your grocery store but if you do, hoorah! You can find it in the dairy section or the concentrate in the baking aisle. Mix the concentrate 1:1 with water or pedialyte. If, at any time, they seem lethargic put a dab of Karo syrup or honey in their mouth.

    If you get from a farmer, it’s important the Goats’ milk is pasteurized.
    To pasteurize milk, follow these steps:

    Put milk in a double boiler or in jars in a pasteurizer or canner and heat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
    Cool the milk as quickly as possible, but make sure not to put the hot jars in cold water or they will break.
    Store the milk in the refrigerator.

    She was probably weak and cold. I’m sure you’ve made a hide away with blanket and towel. Cover an electric blanket on LOW or a hot water bottle to keep it warm. Keeping her body at a stable temperature makes a big difference in how quickly she’ll bounce back.

    This is a lot of information and I hope some of it is useful. Other more experienced TDKs will add more advice to help you out.



    Hi Julie,
    PG gave you excellent advice, the same as I would have given you. I would agree to increase the fluid intake, and I even do this with my own cats when I feed wet food. I add warm water to their wet food and they love it.

    Friskies is good to feed her, I feed mine that also, along with some other kinds and haven’t had any adverse reactions. Good that they dewormed her and gave antibiotics too. Just watch her closely and if you see something changing, then get her back to the vet or even another vet, if you aren’t happy with the current one. Keep us posted on her and blessings to you and your boyfriend for taking her in!




    Thank you for all the tips, everyone!

    Starting Monday night she seemed to be doing much better, and as of yesterday (Wednesday) she was up to 650g (an increase of about 100g from when I first posted). She seemed to have more energy and was starting to explore our apartment more.

    Unfortunately her diarrhea appears to have returned as of yesterday evening/last night. This morning when I weighed her she was about 580g. Right now she’s at 595g, but she seems to have no energy again. She’s not walking around or exploring, and she doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite.

    I’m so worried about her again, just when I thought she had turned a corner. Any tips for what could be causing her returned diarrhea. I did give her a different variety of canned wet food yesterday (she had mainly been on boiled turkey and pumpkin before that). Could that be causing it? I returned to the turkey and pumpkin, but she doesn’t seem interested anymore. How can I make sure she’s eating enough to keep her energy up?

    Thanks in advance to you all!



    OH, she has improved and it’s possible that switching the food around could have upset her tummy. She did put on much of the weight she lost overnight so that a good sign.

    For now, you can put a dab of Karo syrup on her lips to raise her blood sugar. This is will give her an energy boost. Once you give her the syrup give her boiled turkey. If she eats then give her pumpkin.

    I’m sure they’ve seen this before so call the vet for some advice.

    Paws crossed for you and your wee girl.

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