Help! My orphaned kitten refuses to feed! What do I do?!
The other day I found an orphaned kitten at my gate. The poor little thing was scrawny, and in a dying condition. I reckon someone must have got it from the street and transferred it into the shady area of my house entrance. There’s no way the little kitty would have brought himself all the way here because he could barely walk, let alone stand up!
It was a beautiful ginger cat, and when I first found it, I thought it was dead. But upon closer inspection I saw that its chest was moving up and down, so it’s heart was beating. The midday sun was blaring hot and kitty was probably severely dehydrated.
I splashed some water on its face and it regained consciousness. I noticed his eyes were still closed so I thought it could not be more than 6 weeks old. One eye was covered with what looked like a large scab.
What was I supposed to do, leave it outside for certain death?! No, I took the tiny thing home and named him “Lucky”.
Feeding Problems in Kittens
I always wanted a cat of my own and when I found Lucky at my door step, it was like a manifestation of what I deeply yearned for. Though he was weakly and all skin and bones, I was ready to nurse Lucky back to health and raise him as my own baby!
But Lucky wouldn’t feed. In fact, he REFUSED to feed. I had purchased all the necessary items for a newborn kitty – a special feeding bottle and kitten formula milk, among others. Every time I tried to feed him, he wouldn’t even take to the bottle. I noticed he didn’t even try to latch on and suckle. He wasn’t interested in milk, or water!
I was starting to get really worried and stressed. I tried different formula milks but none did the trick. I had to force feed the little guy and I felt terrible doing it, but there was no other way. I mean, if a kitty doesn’t feed, it will just die!
A new born kitten needs to be drinking at least 2 ounces every 2 – 3 hours but Lucky would be curled asleep for 8 hours at a time. He didn’t poop or pee and I’d have to wake him up for feedings, where he would simply refuse to be fed. He would keep resisting the bottle and pushing back his head.
But there was another problem. Lucky’s eyes seemed to have an infection. And what I thought was a scab was actually dried up pus. One time while I was feeding Lucky, green sticky pus was not just oozing out of his eyes but actually POURING down onto the floor like a leaking faucet!
The pus seemed to have reduced drastically the next day, so I thought it was getting better. On the third day the pus returned again and I decided to take Lucky to the vet.
What to Do When an Orphaned Kitten Refuses to Feed
There are many reasons an orphaned kitten refuses to feed. Some of these include:
- Trauma from being abandoned or orphaned
- Feeling too cold or too warm
- Illness and pain which creates low appetite
- Digestive trouble
- Unseen deformities in the mouth or throat
Many times, orphaned kittens which refuse to feed end up inevitably dying. It’s best you visit your vet as soon as possible to help the kittens have a better chance of survival.
At the Vet’s
When I took Lucky to the vet, I was surprised to be told that Lucky was 2 months old. But it looked scrawny probably because it refused to feed, even while with its mother. The vet told me the eye infection was very severe and that Lucky might lose one or both eyes to blindness. The kitten’s mother must have abandoned it due to the eye infection and failure to feed. Cats are known to do this all the time in nature.
As I have full time work to attend to, I knew I couldn’t care for a badly sick and traumatized kitten. Fortunately the hospital had an animal shelter unit where sick and injured animals could be housed until they get okay. That’s where I handed Lucky over to.
It was an emotional parting for me because I thought I would get to keep Lucky and have lots of fun time with him, and to make him feel happy even though he was heartlessly abandoned.
I asked the vet if I could come back and pick Lucky up after he gets okay. But the vet was stern with me and said that I shouldn’t get too attached because anything can happen. Animals that are in severe pain and aren’t making medical progress are often put down.
The vet told me to visit back on Saturday where they release lots of rehabilitated pets that are up for adoption. I truly pray that Lucky gets back to good health and grows happy and strong. He will forever have a place in my heart.
What was your experience with orphaned kittens? Did they survive? Please share your experience!