Providing hydrating and higly nutrious liquid Meat Concentrate is essential to save the life of a failing/fading kitten or very sick cat recovering from any health challenge, especially if they refuse to eat or drink on their own. It is easy to make and administer with a large needleless syringe which you can get from your vet. Carefully squirt small amounts of the liquid into the cat/kitten's mouth and repeat until you have administered at least 18 mls (less if small kitten). Repeat feedings every two to three hours 24/7 until the begin to respond and recover. You can then add a tablespoon of chicken baby food my Chicken Cat Food recipe or pate style commercial cat food and add the meat concentrate to make a runny mixture and administer (syringe feed). Even when the cat or kitten recovers and eats and drinks on it's own, continue supplementing at least three or four times a day for the next two to four weeks to ensure recovery.
Another suggested using light Karo syrup, mixed with a bit of warm water, which can be appliedit directly on kitten's gums (is absorbed by the mucosa), and do so repeatedly -- this gives them instant energy, using no "digestive cost". "Digestive cost" is the energy it takes for a kitten's GI system to process the food to get energy. If you feed a very cold, or very anemic kitten, orally, you may kill it, because the body sends energy to digest the food, and if the kit was just barely hanging on, it needed that energy just for survival.
2 pounds lean Muscle Meat
Mason jar with lid
Pot of water
Optional if prescribed by your vet: Claxamox 250mg tab crushed and 1/8 tab Ciproheptadine crushed.
Simply cut up into small cubes about one half London Broil and fill the cubes into a large Mason jar and loosely put on the lid (to allow steam to excape). Put the jar into a pot filled with water and simmer for about four hours. Keep an eye on the water level of the pot and refill so you don't ruin your pot. Pour the liquid meat concentrate into a bowl; you will have approximately one cup or less of liquid. Discard the remnants of the meat solids. Optional: you can crush a tab of clavomox 250 mg and 1/4 tab of Ciproheptadine (stimulates the appitite) into the bowl of liquid if directed to by your vet, and store in the refrigerator. Syringe feed your sick cat or kitten this liquid as much as they will take--force feed if the situation is dire (the situation is dire if the cat/kitten will not eat or drink on its own), every two to three hours, 24/7. Buy a good quantity of the lean meat and freeze as you will be making repeated batches if you are successful in saving the life of your beloved kitty.
Successfully saving a life is seemingly miraculous and seeing a 'miracle kitten' respond and flourish is incredible experience indeed! We all know the time of birth through one week of age is delicate and tenuous as we anxiously pray and hover over a new litter, hoping all kittens thrive. We are devastated when one baby does not seem to latch on to a nipple and begins to fail. We tube feed, supplement, and pray some more. The next dangerous time in a baby's life is about four to six weeks of age. This is when a healthy and robust four to six week old baby suddenly grows thin and weak. This condition is so heartbreaking and happens so fast. Everyone I know has dealt with this tragedy at least once every two years during kitten season.
Why this happens, I do not know for sure, but do have some theories. When the babies are about four to six weeks of age they begin to lose their immunity from their mother's milk, increasing their susceptibility to an errant virus'. Also at this time, the Dam begins to space her 'availability' and/or may go into heat and simply may 'forget' to nurse her babies or perhaps an older kitten from another litter fights off a younger kitten away from a nipple and that little one does not get to nurse along with its litter brothers and sisters. Do separate an older litter from a young one until both litters are fully weaned. Be watchful because even a 'weaned' kitten will not forego the opportunity to nurse, if one presents! If a baby kitten does not nurse for 12 to 24 hours for whatever reason, it can quickly become dehydrated and begin to succumb.
Thankfully most kittens transition to eating solid food and lapping water without any problems, however some resist the transition or simply slower in terms of development. If a kitten or cat for that matter becomes dehydrated, they will simply refuse to eat or drink. If this happens and the Momma Cat is not making herself available, the kitten can quickly lose weight, become even more dehydrated and simply stop nursing altogether. If this happens you must immediately step in and supplement/hydrate the baby or else it will not survive in a day or two.
Also, be sure to be vigilant about making sure the Momma cat is well, comfortable and has extra servings of food. Monitor the condition of her nipples and keep an eye out for possible mastitis, which will sour the milk and affect the kittens adversely.
It is so heartbreaking when a kitten dies, despite your heroic efforts and the heroic efforts of your vet to save the kitten. All experienced breeders suffer this painful tragedy at least a few times in their lifetimes. This was the first year I successfully saved my failing baby's life. I will describe below what I did to save Rosy and in addition, I have included advice and recommendations from Jayne Wood of Achemist Persians, Eve Sheridan of Over The To Gems Persians, Munira Murrey of Mission Hill Persians and Kathy Zennaiter of Silver Estate Persians. I hope our experiences serve to save the lives of many baby kittens and cats in the years to come.
One Monday, I found my sweet Rosy in the dreaded prone, head down position, when she was about six weeks of age. I quickly started supplementing her with fluids and powdered kitten replacement milk, and each day she would grow thinner until she was just skin and bones. And worst of all her face wore that frightening 'death-mask' look and I felt for sure she was lost. In desperation I tried Janice's meat concentrate recipe mixed with Amoxicillin and began to see improvement by Thursday, but I have been there before and lost. By Saturday she started to welcome the syringe and really started to put on a bit of weight and perked up in general. When she gave a little hop, I broke down in tears several times over the weekend as I saw more and more signs of her improvement. It was truly a miracle she survived and thrived.
The first week I gave her the meat concentrate mixed with Amoxicillin and gradually added my poached Chicken Cat Food I make for my cats for the first two weeks. Week three I added a bit of regular pate style canned cat food to the runny mixture of the meat concentrate and my chicken cat food and syringe fed as much food she would tolerate. Eventually I got her to eat on her own if I showed her the syringe and led her nose to the plate of food. About three weeks later, Rosy joined the other kittens on the kitchen floor for meals (rather than the counter). I still needed to smear food on Rosy's lips to get her started eating on her own. During this time, Laddie her brother waxed and waned a bit and I supplemented him too, but he was not nearly as ill as Rosy was, but both steadily improved and gained good weight and played rambunctiously. Lady GaGa The smallest kitten in the litter was not affected. Lady was a tiny baby when she was born and I was sure she would not latch on at birth, but she did, and got stronger and bigger everyday to my immense joy. She eventually caught up with her litter sibs Laddie and Rosie in terms of size and development.
Avoid being fooled by a seeming 'rally' and make sure you maintain the every two hour feeding cycle as a baby kitten or health challenged cat can quickly relapse and rapidly go downhill, and then fail to revive. Never think you (or rather the kitten or cat) are out of the woods, until at least a few weeks have elapsed and you see steady improvement every day. So please remain vigilant.
I think the key to Rosy's success was using the meat concentrate and simple pureed chicken in broth instead of the powdered kitten replacement solution. It is simply easier for a compromised kittens to digest. After being fed the liquid meat concentrate and well pureed chicken in plenty of pure broth from a whole chicken; Rosy had well-formed brown stools as opposed to the icky yellowish runny stuff when fed the kitten replacement milk. The liquid meat concentrate provides high protein nourishment, as well as plenty of liquid to keep your dear kitten or cat well hydrated; Rosy's well-formed stools proved her digestive system readily accepted and absorbed the nourishment from the concentrate and pureed poached chicken.
Throw away your KMR or similar powdered kitten replacement milk. Read the ingredients on the can! KMR is not pure powdered milk but has all sorts of other synthetic additives. Plus it is made from cow's milk which does not have the necessary fat content kittens need.
Jayne Wood of Achemist Persians writes: I never use commercial kitten replacement milk - only goat's milk. I always keep a couple of cans on hand for supplementing new born kittens, weaning older kittens that don't want to stop nursing, adult cats that don't feel well, or just a special treat. They all love it and always do well on goat's milk - one can of milk condensed goat's milk to one can of water - it keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator. Some of the commercial replacement milks are made from cow's milk (and other synthetic additives) which some cats have a difficult time digesting and can make matters worse.
Jayne's vet was fostering a newborn kitten someone left at the clinic door and she told Jayne she that the kitten wasn't putting on any weight. Jayne told her to throw away the KMR and put the kitten on goat's milk. The vet thought Jayne was had lost her mind but did it anyway. A few days later, the vet was so excited as to how fat the kitten had gotten in such a short period of time.
Jayne used to fast her cats once a month with a "milky day" - only goat's milk for the day (and have fresh water available, of course). Fasting is supposed to be good for them to release toxins (as with people).
Eve Sheridan of Over The Top Gems Persians wrote with the advice to try Royal Canin's Baby cat when weaning kittens. She was amazed about how well her kittens (and moms) took to the food and stopped bugging mom to keep the 'Milk Bar' open for extended weeks. Eve knows her kittens will keep nursing until the mom gives them a good thwack. Royal Canin's Baby Cat has a high corn content, which is highly palatable to the weaning kittens. Others' recommend Friskies Kitten kibble as that too has a equally high corn content, however it is said the kittens gobble up the Friskies Kitten Kibble and ignore the higher quality brands of more nutritious kibble, we prefer they ate. While foods high in corn are not as nutritious as other foods, the bottom line is whatever gets them eating on their own and gaining weight is a good thing!
Munira Murrey of Mission Hill Persians recommends introducing weaning kittens to her raw meat diet. She insists her raw meat mixture recipe entices the appetites of weaning kittens about which I agree. Missionhill Cosmic Rainstorm (Cosmos) was raised on this diet and he is enormous! In addition, I saw an incredible growth and development when I started feeding Dreamhearts Hartbreker of Wyndcreste (Kiwi) Munira's raw meat diet. Hartbreker grew phenominally fast and his coat became thick, flowing and lustrous in just six weeks on Munira's Raw meat diet. Everyone was amazed to see how fast Kiwi grew and how much he and Cosmos look like each other now. I can only rave about the results.
Kathy Zennaiter's of Silver Estate Persians gorgeous Silverestate Candy Kisses also began to slip away when she was about 6 weeks old. She refused to be force-fed and clamped her mouth tightly shut. Kathy was extremely upset, because nothing she tried seemed to get Candy Kisses eating again and it was clear she would die soon. Kathy took her to her vet and he recommended giving Candy Kisses a liquid mixture he made. Kathy is not sure of all the ingredients in the mixture, but it did contain Cisipride Oral, but mixture did not work initially so then her vet recommended giving Candy Kisses 1/8th tablet of Cyproheptadine twice a day. Candy Kisses responded within 2 hours after being given the dose and started to nurse on her own. Kathy continued to bottle feed her as a supplement with the liquid mixture her vet made and now she is fat, rambunctious, and begging to eat regular food every two hours. Kathy believe it was a miracle Candy Kisses survived.
This is a good way to get a kitten to start nursing or when you first find a failing/fading kitten: mix together light Karo syrup with a bit of warm water, which can be appliedit directly on kitten's gums (is absorbed by the mucosa), and do so repeatedly -- this gives them instant energy, using no "digestive cost". "Digestive cost" is the energy it takes for a kitten's GI system to process the food to get energy. If you feed a very cold, or very anemic kitten, orally, you may kill it, because the body sends energy to digest the food, and if the kit was just barely hanging on, it needed that energy just for survival.
Recently this Youtube video was posted on a list and it is excellent! I know tube feeding is scary for many of us and with good reason! One has to carefully measure from the mouth to where you think the stomach is located and insert the tube into a wriggling, screaming with hunger baby--it is very unnerving and repeat every two hours and as the infant (hopefully) grows, adjust your measurement. In this video, the woman shows you how she makes a nest for an infant puppy, stimulates the infant to urinate and most importantly how she cuts up a dense non-latex sponges into largish teat shaped triangles.
She first assembles all the items she will need (see below) and fills a needless syring with formula, and takes the infant from the nest. Then she stimulates the baby's bum to make it urinate. Next she puts a scrunchie around the neck of the infant to help hold up the head and wraps the wriggling and crying infant in a wash cloth. Next she dips one of the sponge triangles into the formula and inserts that into the mouth of the hungry infant and it immediately latches on and starts suckling the formula. She then picks of the syringe filled with the formula and squirts some formula on the side of the triangle (away from the nose of the infant) to refill it and keeps 'refilling' the sponge until the baby spits it out when it is full. Lastly, she stimulates the baby again to make sure the baby has a bowel movement.
She then prepares the infant's 'nest' by putting a Automatic Reusable Heat Pad into the small bed with high sides and places a faux fur blanket on top and puts the baby back into the 'nest' surrounded loosely by the faux fur blanket to nap until the next feeding. Note: I tried to find the source for the "Lily Pad Bed" bed but couldn't find it, but there are similar small cup like beds available on the internet. You can buy the faux fur fabric at a fabric store or find a similar throw at Ross, Marshall's, Home Goods or TJ Max at a reasonable price.
Items you needTowel, a couple washcloths, damp cosmetic pads (to stimulate expellation of waste matter), scrunchie, needless syringe, dense non-latex sponge (cut up into triangles-see video for size), and formula. Goat's milk is best for kittens. Avoid KMR or other powdered synthetic milk formulas. They are made from cow's milk (not enough fat content for kittens) and have a host of synthetic additives.
Kittens are extremely delicate in terms of maintaining proper body temperature. Avoid extremes in heat or cold as those fluctuations can readily kill a delicate kitten. One idea is to make a nest with a down throw. The surrounding down acts as insolation and will help the kitten maintain its optimum temperature. If the days are warm there is no need to do anything extraordinary. If it is cold (below 60 degrees) another suggestion is to fill a tube sock with uncooked rice and heat in a microwave. With this being said, keep the rice-filled sock away from the baby so there is no danger of over-heating it, but close enough to warm the blanket or ambient air in a box or a carrier. View the video above for an excellent idea for a bedding to keep a recovering kitten or puppy warm, but not too warm. Remember a baby will not properly digest its food if too cold!
In conclusion, one day I hope these experiences and suggestions serve to save the lives of many of your precious baby kittens any health challenged and recovering cats.
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