Friday, April 9, 2010

Development Question

Hey all,

No pictures right now, sorry! I'm at work on a lunch break. But I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to make a quick post to ask some questions to anyone out there that may have any info. Time again where I'm at a transition with these little guys, and would LOVE any help :)

So, so far Wesley and L are doing great. As you can see from my previous post, Wesley is really developing into a little sweetheart. I'm seriously so in love with him.

Wesley has always been about a week behind L in development, probably due from the first rejections from Rosie and also being the runt of the litter. But, I worry about how fast they're both growing.

L has always looked huge next to Wesley, and each time I go in and hang out with them... I swear L has grown even more.
But, Wesley seems to be a little quicker in the intelligence department. L seems...... well.... kind of dumb.
Part of the reason why I say that, is because he'll be 5 weeks old on Monday and he still doesn't walk. AT ALL. He sort of shuffles his body low to the ground and rolls places (with his giant rolly-polly belly that he has... --which I will get pictures of soon!), but no walking. Wesley doesn't walk either, but he is definitely sitting up now, and has very apparent strength in his front legs. Where L still lies slumped around. He spends 75% of his time lying on his side or back.
At first, I was thinking that it was because we give Wesley WAY more attention than we do to L, and we work with Wesley in an almost "physiotherapy" session, where we make sure he walks to us to get his bottle (so that he gains strength)... but L doesn't have to go far from Rosie to just get a slurp from her. Should we just continue to leave it and allow the development to continue? Or should they really be walking fully by now?

The next thing is the eating. So, they both have some decent teeth coming in. I know that 4 weeks is when they say the weaning should begin. Since Rosie is there, what do you think? Should I let her handle L? Or should I take over? Any tips on the best ways you've all found weaning should go? I've gradually been letting Wesley taste Rosie's wet kitten food off my finger before he demands his bottle... Next I think we're going to mix powdered formula + water + chicken human baby food(or wet kitten food) and see if we can get him to start getting interested in a plate of it... BUT, my concern again above is... if they're not walking.... should I wait until they can fully stand and walk on their own before trying this?
What kind of time in between feedings should I be following after this 4th week? We've finally merged Wesley to go between 5-8 hours (hurray for sleep through the night!!!) - which seems to be working fine for him. He gets 4 feedings on the weekday, generally: 6am - 12:30pm - 5:30pm - 10:30pm, give or take an hour here and there. He's still only eating 1-2 tablespoons of formula though... (more often 1 than two)... which is worrysome. But, he is still pretty small. L is bit over a pound now, Wesley still dangles behind at about 14 ounces. Hoping the weaning process will help him get some weight on... but he looks healthy to me. Anyone know if this is good enough?

Same thing with the litterbox... We're still stimulating Wesley (though I think Rosie does it sometimes for him too), but we're doing it while his paws are in the box so he can relate the scent to going. Haven't found any traces from either kitten in the box... again, should I try leaving this to Rosie with L? And again with the, should I wait til they can walk there themselves? I've found L behind the litterbox, sleeping, a bunch of times... but, that's about it.

Ok... hum... I think that's it. Thanks in advance for any suggestions! Pictures soon :)


  1. Wish we could help you out, but our mom doesn't know. When he gets home, she'll ask dad (he raised King and Pandora since they were 1 day old, so he'll know). Good luck!

  2. A few thoughts.

    Sausages! That's what we call kittens who eat so well they turn into little roly polys who can't even walk. I wouldn't worry about it yet.

    It's time to have a litterbox handy. One day they'll just toddle over and use it. It can also be useful to just set them down in it after feeding, instead of stimulating them immediately.

    Definitely time to start adding food at 4 weeks. My favorite kibble is Royal Canin Baby Cat. Tiny kibbles, and evidently very tasty (I have a couple of adults who are still addicted to it, LOL!) Just leave a small dish sitting out. They'll taste it when they are ready.

    For Wesley, start mixing wet food into his formula. You want something without a lot of texture, so it will still pass through the nipple, and I start with about 20% food in 80% formula. My favorites are Wellness kitten (pink label) and Nutro Natural Choice Chicken + Lamb. I generally avoid anything "fishy".

    You can start offering L a dish of the kitten food mixed well with water - I usually do 1:1. The babies seem to prefer the slurry.

    I know it's time to start transitioning bottle feeders to a dish when they start lapping or chewing at the nipple instead of sucking. It sometimes helps to have kitten + dish in lap, and guide his head to the dish with the nipple.

    Don't worry about hurrying things along - everything in its own good time.


  3. Hi hon, if you send me an email (hubblespacepaws gmail com), I'll send you the weight chart I kept for the Maples and it includes the "norm" I found on the web.

    The Maples were born on 6/8/09 and you can see where they were in development on their YouTube videos.
    The dates are the first digits: YYMMDD

    You might want to look at their weight on the chart, and then pick a video that corresponds, instead of age, since it was rocky with Rosie and that didn't get them off to a quick start.


  4. Hi,

    I am the owner of Hobbes House Feline Rescue in North Carolina. I would be happy to answer questions you have and to share what I've learned about raising bottle babies. I've been rescuing cats for over 20 years and am more than happy to help. Probably best to use email (

    Thanks, Sue

  5. Hi hon! Just checking in to see how things are going. I'm hoping you've been able to get some good input from your vet, or shelter or another contact.

    I was so glad to see the next comment. Sue and the gang at Hobbes House are terrific and have lots of experience - a whole lot more than I have. And you're always welcome to get in touch with me! (hubblespacepaws at gmail dot com) It helps to talk to other foster parents, I think!

    Hugs and purrs to you and yours from me and mine!

  6. We haven't worked our way up to fostering kittens yet, but just wanted to say I'm so glad you've asked these questions. I'm interested in following the responses so we can educate ourselves :). You're such an attentive kitten mom!

  7. Thanks much Lisa! We're grateful for the kind thoughts. KittyKye - we're more than willing to help answer all your questions and we've got some ideas about how to help these kittens. It would probably be easier to do this through email and then you can share with your wonderful blog followers. Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Hobbes House Feline Rescue (
    You can also find us on Facebook

  8. BTW - The folks at HubbleSpacePaws are an awesome resource too. They are doing wonderful work rescuing homeless kitties. Check out their blog.

    The rescue world is filled with great people. We share with and learn from each other all the time.

    I'm so grateful for blogs like yours, Itty Bitty, PitterPat and many others. Incredible resource and network of caring hearts.

  9. at five weeks and not walking, I would be concerned about swimmer kitten syndrome

    If this kitten were at my house, I would definately be calling the shelter and mentioning the failure to walk.

    As for weaning, when there is a mother cat I let her deal with all of that. At four weeks I start, but you can't rush it. The kittens will wean at their own rate, some at four weeks, some not till seven. Sometimes I'll go ahead and introduce canned food to kittens by putting a dollup in their mouth and see what happens. It really is an either or reaction, either they LOVE it and you see the lightbulb go off over their head about how this is the best stuff in the world, or they spit it out as it is the most toxic substance known to kittenhood. When I'm fostering with out a mother, I will often mix canned food in with formula to help keep the kittens full longer (much as moms mix ceral in with formula for human babies) I generally do not leave formula in a bowl for kittens because I've found they walk through it more then anything else. Either they are being bottle (or syringe) fed or they are eating solid food. But then again I move kittens from formula to canned food, and introduce dry later on as I am not a fan of it.

    as for the litter box, I find it becomes a playground before they realize what it is for, and even then it is still often a playground. If you leave some of their stool in there after you stimulate them, they will start using it. Kittens naturally want to bury their waste, so it generally comes naturally - but you need to make sure they are near a box. When I have a mother cat, I don't worry how far away a box is, but orphaned kittens get boxes in each corner of the room until they are 8 weeks of age. If I don't, they will use any corner or out of the way place to hide their waste. Putting the kitten in the box after they eat will also help them associate it.


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