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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21464
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I have two 3.5 week old kittens which we have had to hand rear.

Resolved Question:

I have two 3.5 week old kittens which we have had to hand rear. They have both had trouble pooing and I use warm water and KY jelly to help them along. However, one of them is passing very hard stools which he has problems passing - can you suggest anything to help soften the stools and also, should I still wean them onto solid food next week, when they'll be four weeks old, or should I leave them longer in view of the problems they've had?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee ones today.

 

I am sorry to hear that these wee ones are having such struggles. Unfortunately, issues with hard feces that cause straining and constipation are not uncommon for bottle babies. This most often is precipitated by kitten replacer formula being a little too concentrated but can be an general issue we battle with feeding orphan kittens. (since no matter how good a replacer is, it is never just like mom's).


To address hard feces and reduce their struggles, you can try the steps you have been using. Further to this, you can try diluting their milk a wee bit with boiled (then cooled) water or pedialyte. This can help move everything through the gut and just prevent further blockage and soften feces. As well, you can also mix a small dose of lactulose, mineral oil/liquid paraffin or cat hair ball medication into their milk. You can use ~ 0.5 ml per feed for 2-3 days should have the desired effect. Do take care if you using any laxative treatment and avoid giving it directly, as aspiration will cause terrible troubles we are best to avoid.

Finally, in regards ***** ***** kitten food, there is no reason to delay making this (and kitten replacer in a bowl) available to them. Early weaning won't cause them any more risk of constipation then they already have. As well, since weaning isn't an overnight undertaking letting them get an idea of food past the bottle is not a bad idea at this stage. You will still need to bottle feed and still should use the above steps but there is no harm on offering milk in a bowl +/- kitten food to get them thinking about moving away from the bottle.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Excellent, thank you so much for that! Can you just tell me how often do kittens of this age actually defecate?? Is it daily or every other day? I seem to have had mixed opinions!

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

You are very welcome, Mandy.

In regards ***** ***** frequency, this does depend on food volume intake and the nature of the food they are eating. Generally speaking, at this age, I would want to see a kitten passing feces at least once a day. If they passed a few stools a day, I'd not be alarmed as long as they were normal in consistency. Every other day is a bit too long and would be something we' d not be happy with at this age. Still, the most important factor when monitoring isn't so much the time but the kittens behavior during that time (so a straining kitten

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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