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Cats/6 week old kitten - won't eat


I found a flea infested kitten 4 days ago. She got a flea bath, tested for FIV and leukemia - both negative. She was anemic. She ate the first 2 days, then stopped! I have tried KMR, all types of kitten foods, even baby food! I have resorted to Force feeding to keep her alive. Any idea how to get her to eat on her own again?

Thank you!

Hi Mandy,

If the kitten is having regular bowel movements, I would recommend phoning the vet and asking if she can have a supplement like Pet Tinic or NutriCal. NutriCal will supplement her calories, vitamins, minerals and sugars, so this is a good overall way to help ensure she doesn't starve (it doesn't replace meals, mind you). Pet Tinic is an iron supplement and will help her body build her red blood cell count up more quickly. If the vets say it's ok, I'd give her both. You may need to adjust the Pet Tinic down slightly from the dosage on the bottle because the NutriCal already has some of the same supplements that the PetTinic does, but the vet will be able to tell you how much to give. Both are available at chain pet stores like PetCo, or from your vet, of course. However, don't force either of these down if she's too fussy. Little ones can choke, and Nutrical has some mineral oil in it, which is bad for the lungs if aspirated. Try mixing them with food to make them more palatable if she resists.

Anemia can cause such exhaustion that a kitty is too tired to even eat. But nutrition is extremely important in helping them to bounce back. Their entire systems are down in the meantime with less oxygen to supply their vital organs and immune system, and infection can sneak in easily. Watch for any sign of fever, sneeze, soreness or elevated third eyelids. A stuffy nose especially will cause a kitty to stop eating, since they find their food strictly based on smell. If any of the symptoms I mentioned are present, she should see the vet again. An antibiotic will probably be warranted.

If she is not having bowel movements daily, I think that's your problem. Belly aches will cause a baby not to eat. Initially, you should have the vet check her out and determine whether an enema is needed. Some rectal stimulation is usually needed at least, with some lubrication. The vet may show you how to do this or give a cat-safe enema at home in case transitioning onto food at such a tender age is giving her some constipation issues. Once she's all cleared out, she may be fine from here on, or she may need just a little oral gel or powder mixed into her food to keep her regular. The vet can help you determine what the best plan of action is for her.

Best wishes!



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The areas in which I have gained the most experience are cat health and feral cat management/rescue. I provide supportive care to chronically ill cats, hospice care to terminally ill cats and also am involved in trap-neuter-return efforts. My specialities lie in taming feral cats and in the allopathic treatment of cats with illnesses or special needs. I also have owned Siamese, Himalayans, Abyssinians, Russian Blues, Savannahs, Bengals, Peterbalds, Don Sphynx and Oriental Shorthairs and am well-versed in cat breeds as well as cat behavior and nutrition.


I have 15 years of extensive experience with cats ranging from breeding to medical care. My daily routine consists of caring for cats with diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney failure, feline leukemia, feline AIDS as well as feral cats. I have experience with liver patients, heart patients, feline infectious peritonitis, cancer, recovery from amputation and trauma, congenital deformities and most every disease in between. I have assisted cats giving birth and hand-nursed kittens who were neglected by their mother from 2 days old through weaning.

15 years' hands-on experience. Current nursing student. I've studied the parallels of human and cat anatomy as well as zoonotic disease, so my studies are broadening the depth of my understanding of feline anatomy, physiology and pathology.

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