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My cat just had her kittens yesterday and two of them don't nurse from her. I already have formula and have been feeding them every two hours. One of them is doing well with the feedings but the other is not. He doesn't like it I think and I can't get him to eat without forcing him, which I don't like to do. I'm really worried now because he is much smaller than all his siblings and he is very skinny in comparison. I sometimes find him curled up by himself or under his bigger siblings and when I try to feed him he just curls up and sleeps. His skin is baggy and I'm just really worried. Is there anything I can feed him that will help him or anyway to feed him? I have no money for a vet and I don't want him to die..

Hi Alexis,

If you are trying to feed the baby with a bottle, try switching to a syringe or eyedropper for now. The nipples on commercially available bottles are too large for a newborn to latch onto. For the first several days, it's best to feed drop by drop using a dropper/syringe. Be sure the formula doesn't get too cool, though, as this will cause belly problems. Between days 4 and 7, most kittens can be coaxed onto a bottle.

It is often an uphill battle when you take to feeding an undersized kitten. Cats are not known to commonly have true runts - when a baby is noticeably underweight and refuses food, it's often because there's a problem with its development. Force-feeding isn't an option at this age, because little ones will inhale the milk and die of aspiration pneumonia. At just days old, diagnosing his ailment will be extremely difficult. Treatment hinges on diagnosis, but he is likely too young for most of these even supposing a diagnosis is reached. I would encourage you to try to feed the baby a drop at a time as he'll allow, but recognize that the signs he's displaying might suggest he is suffering a condition that won't allow for his survival, ultimately. Unfortunately, no supplements can be given safely to a baby this small. We just have to hope for the best.

Be sure to gently rub his belly in a circular motion after meals and stimulate his bladder and bowels in case mom isn't caring for him properly.

I hope he pulls through!

Good luck,


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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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