Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just a quickie...

Don't have much time to make a long post today... which means I haven't uploaded any pictures yet either. I had a bit of a sleepless night last night, which resulted in my taking a couple extra hours to sleep in this morning. And of course, Wesley has been super fussy. Because he's growing, I think he's getting hungrier much more frequently, so it's keeping me busy.

I'm a bit frustrated with the feedings lately... and again am looking for advice on those who have hand-reared kittens before. Wes can't nurse on his own, it seems. He still doesn't have a great sucking power, even being over a week old. His head wobbles all around and he can't find the "nipple" (he hates the bottle nipple, after several tries, so I'm still using an eyedropper). I have to hold his head completely still and stick it in his mouth and squeeze the end in order for him to start eating. Mind you, when he gets started, he's eating about 3-4 ml now... but, I can't get him to do it himself. He just bangs all around until he gets help from me.

Today I decided I was going to see what would happen if I put him with Rosie. First of all, I almost lost a hand, because she -hates- it when I mess with her kittens (understandably).
I weighed both of them.. L.H. is 7.3 oz and Wesley is 4.8 oz. Such a huge difference still.
Seeing the two of them side by side you see a noticeable size difference. But it's because L.H. has no trouble with eating at all.

Rosie accepted Wesley with no problem, and even licked him, which was nice to see. The first time I tried to put him in, he was still hungry. I wanted to see how he would do if I left him with the nipple. So I took a seat in the back of the room to observe. Even sticking his nose right-at-her-nipple, he just wobbled around and screamed bloody murder.

So, I took him out and fed him myself. After he ate (and ate and ate and ate), and was finally content, purring away, I stuck him back with Rosie. She put her arm around him and cuddled him (she's really getting down with this mother thing)... and I just left them. It's been half an hour, and I'm going to check on things in there soon. I may just keep taking him out of there for his feedings so that he bonds with L and Rosie a bit more.

His eyes are opening now considerably (and I checked L's eyes too.. also coming along nicely), so I'm hoping that once he can fully see, he'll be able to just SEE the nipple for himself. What do you think?

Anyway, I said I wasn't going to make a long post, but here I am rambling away. Off to check on kitties and do some dishes. Here's a video a put together yesterday from the videos I took when taking my pictures yesterday. Note the last video clip of Wesley feeding, I was trying to hold the camera with one hand while he tried to put the whole eyedropper in his mouth. I'm usually holding the eyedropper with one hand and his head/body with the other so that doesn't happen. Just wanted to document how cute it is when he's eating ;)

(The first clip is L and Rosie, the second is Yoko)


  1. It seems he has no sucking instinct eh? That's really strange. It sure puts the workload on you doesn't it? Just like having a human baby.
    He's adorable though.
    Have you tried holding him near Yoko to gradually introduce them? What do you think she would do if she saw him?

  2. Oh, right, I meant to mention that, too.
    Last night I put a fleece blanket on the floor and put Wesley on it. Yoko was pretty close to us, and just watched him intensely, not knowing what to make of him. Eventually, she got tired of it and went into the bedroom. So I put him back, washed up, and went to her. I began petting her, and she started making her regular meow sound... and continued drawing it out to a low, almost growling, sound. My guess is that she was telling me "No way. No how." :/

  3. So precious! Hang in there, sweetie, and keep trying. I've only bottle fed one foster and he was a hearty bottle sucker, so I'm sorry I've no advice. Hopefully one of your other readers can help.

    I'm so glad Rosie is mothering him!! That will make it easier on you and give him lots of pluses. Keeping the family together and supplementing with the dropper is a good idea, for all of them, I think.

  4. I wish I had some words of wisdom ~ but I do not. It looks like you are doing everything you can though ~ so like SpacePaws says - hang in there! Hopefully he will catch on soon!

  5. As long as Wesley has someone to make up for his lack of suckiness, I wouldn't worry about it. I have had a number of bottle babies who never actually used a bottle, but were just fine with a syringe. (Here's an example from the archives - they finally learned to suck on the syringe at just about weaning time!)

    It's a great idea to leave Wesley with Rosie whenever you aren't feeding him, as long as she is otherwise accepting him. She'll take care of clean up - washing and pottying - plus kittens just do better with a mom, and he'll soon be needing a sibling to wrestle with. And you never know, he might finally get a clue by following Litterhead's excellent example.

  6. Oh, thought of one more thing. How are you preparing the nipple on the bottle? I discovered that cutting a small hole or an "X" across the top doesn't work with most kittens, but I do have good success with cutting the tip of the nipple off completely, leaving a 5-8 mm "stub". Then assist by squeezing the bottle. If you can force a drop out at the tip, the kitten may start lapping at the milk, and eventually begin to suck.

  7. Hm... I have been cutting an X in it. That's not a shabby idea. I think I will try that! Thanks! I'll let you how that goes.
    Also, I have been letting Wesley back in with Rosie and L.H., and all seems to be going really well - minus the 'him still not nursing from her'. Going to keep that up, since I want them to continue to bond.

  8. cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute! wesley's little tongue! and yay rosie!!!

    does litterhead STILL have litter on his head?! he's a wriggly little guy!


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