Posted June 24, 2019 at 06:40 PM Under "Pet Health & Nutrition"
Feeding Sick Kitten

I’m currently fostering a 3 month old kitten who’s contracted a URI. As far as I can tell she can’t smell food to know to eat it, so she’s hardly eating anything if at all. What’s the best way to overcome the lack of self feeding?

  • June 27, 2019 at 11:37 AM

    Just wondering how ur little one is doing?

    I have several right now who have uri and low appetite who responded very well to afrin nose treatment for me. Ive only had to take one to my vet for the magical b12 combo injections.

    I do have another more complicated case who i am still trying to coax to eat. I picked her up from the shelter couple days ago. Shes a five yr old who was surrendered to shelter with sister bc the family got a new kitten.

    Once at the shelter both girls stopped eating; shelter was able to find foster for one, several other fosterers who said they could come get the other girl never showed up. By the time i was asked to foster (i am already up to my ears in fosters & med case fosters) it was too late.

    The sister i have was rtnd from foster bc she started uri. The fosterer did not want to infect her own household. I involved my vet right away, not wanting to take any chances on losing her. She is still not eating much, if anything so i have been doing what i can with vet & supportive care, knowing we r dealing with uri plus depression.

    In all that, been thinking of ur situation - hope u r having good success with ur foster.

  • June 26, 2019 at 07:47 AM

    Let me suggest this option. Take a small carrier and tape all opening, cover the carrier door with a plastic bag. Wet a small towel, roll it up tight and microwave till hot. Place kitten in carrier with the wet towel to the rear and "steam" the kitten for 5-10 min. a couple of times per day. This will have the same effect as a humidifier for a child. I have found in extreme cases this will break up the mucus.

  • June 24, 2019 at 08:24 PM

    You may want to try to warm the wet food you are offering?

    As you have learned, if the cat/kitten can't smell the food they won't eat. The idea is to do anything you can to get them to be able to smell it. Like warming it and or offering something really smelly like the fish/salmon varieties of wet food.

    You may also want to try to offer food on your fingertips/hand-feed the wet food or raise the food bowl. It may help her breath better when head is upright, may be more apt to eat with head in more upright position.

    Sometimes I find a bit of liquid vitamin can stimulate appetite.

    Vicks can help open breathing - put a dab on a paper towel and in the kennel and or smear it on a cloth handkerchief around the neck. I have also put dab directly under nose using cotton swab. In extreme cases I have used afrin nose spray to open the nose - be sure to work with your vet if it comes to using something like that.

    Any cat/kitten should not go for very long without eating - it can start an irreversible downward spiral. If the simple things like hand feeding, elevating food bowl, warming the food or offering smelly food, Vicks, etc are not working you will need to get to vet again. May need subcutaneous fluids, and or b-12 injection to boost ability to overcome lack of food.

    Also may want to opt for antibiotic injection instead of oral antibiotics. I have found that if the kitten can't smell they usually have a hard time swallowing and spit out most of the liquid antibiotic (amoxi). :(

    I'm not a vet. I have fostered cats/kittens for five years now without much support from my shelter and had to learn medical and home remedies on my own, with the help of my vet and his staff. There are other home remedies we have used successfully but I wont mention here for fear of starting an argument. Hopefully just doing some of the basics will help get that kitten eating again soon. <3

    All the best.

  • June 24, 2019 at 06:44 PM

    Please get your kitten to the vet fast!

    • June 24, 2019 at 06:56 PM

      She’s been to vet, been giving oral antibiotics

  • June 24, 2019 at 06:42 PM

    Please try human baby food. They are chicken and turkey (don't try ham, it's too salty). It is completely pureed and even ill cats love it. AND get to your vet RIGHT AWAY!!!

    • June 26, 2019 at 04:35 AM

      if you go this route, make sure the only ingredient is the meat and water. Added ingredients especially onions/garlic (which are toxic to cats) complicates things unduly.

      • June 28, 2019 at 06:09 PM

        Absolutely right! I was referring to the chicken and turkey and water as the only ingredients.



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