Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

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willowdragon
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Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by willowdragon » Sat May 13, 2017 11:47 am

I'm rehoming one of my kittens, and the new family want to collect it at 9 weeks old rather than my preferred 10-12 weeks because they are moving to Switzerland and want to get him all vaccinated, pet passported etc ready to go with them.

Of my four kittens (all being rehomed) he is the only one that at nearly 8 weeks old is still not weaning. No interest whatsoever. On the advice of my vet I'm separating him from mum each day 6am-6pm, with just about every food option available. I've literally tried everything, and vet said try this, because chances are while mum has milk he'll just be happy to feed from her for up to six months.

The new family have asked if they can take him anyway, and wean him themselves, on the basis that with no other option he will obviously get hungry enough that he'll have to eat something

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand it IS a practical solution, and he's bound to eat from hunger. On the other he's my baby at this point, and whereas I tentatively accept my vets advice to get him hungry enough in the day to try food, my worry is that he simply won't go for food at all and will literally starve to death.

What do you guys think? Do I let him go on the originally requested date, or do I refuse until he's weaned which could potentially take months and likely she won't want him anymore.

I know it should be less of a concern, but the human in me who loves kids is also feeling for her littl boy who is very excited about his new kitten coming to live with them, and I feel bad that I might have to let him down. But of course, my kittens come first.

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Kay
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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by Kay » Sat May 13, 2017 12:04 pm

I have very limited experience of raising kittens, but I did once have a litter of 5 who refused to eat the traditional weaning foods, but at 6 weeks mum became psychotic and hid away from them, and in despair I put down a dish of mashed pilchards

they were all straight in there, and never looked back - it must have been the strong smell

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by Lilith » Sat May 13, 2017 12:36 pm

Hi, it wouldn't be 'quite the thing' to rehome a kitten at 9 weeks - but it's been done far younger than that, with no ill-effect. I'm not advocating early rehoming but the usual age used to be 6 weeks ...

But if he's not weaned, I would say 'no'. On no account.

What are you weaning the kittens on to? You prefer to feed a raw diet I believe, and if so, if this kitten refuses raw, I'd definitely think about offering conventional tinned or pouch kitten food. What do his buyers intend to feed him on - raw or conventional? If he takes to conventional they might prefer this. Even at the risk of letting them down, though, I really wouldn't sell him unweaned, especially as they plan to take him out of the country; hand-rearing, even with the best of intentions, can be harder work than people think, especially on top of new country, new home, settling in with child etc. If anything went wrong they wouldn't be able to come back to you for help.

I do hope you manage to wean him in time - as Kay says they can sometimes get tempted and they're away - pilchards lol! :lol:

All the very best!

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by booktigger » Sat May 13, 2017 2:01 pm

I definitely wouldn't regime an unweaned kitten, and especially not one travelling to a different country - if they don't like that, they aren't putting the kittens interests first. Have you tried both wet and dry food - my vet swears that dry is easier to wean. Have you tried kitten milk?

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by vanilla » Sun May 14, 2017 8:26 pm

I got my kittens to wean by mashing up some wet cat food and wiping it over their teeth. They licked it off and loved it! :lol:

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Re: Advice about rehoming an unweaned kitten

Post by willowdragon » Tue May 16, 2017 8:54 am

So these are the things I have tried over the last 4 weeks:

Kitten milk supplement, alone in a bowl.
Kitten milk supplement alone in a bottle (tried to feed him like I would an orphan: he locked his jaw.)
Kitten milk supplement mixed with raw round meat/organs/fish.
KMS mixed with dry kibble - Whiskers, and Royal Kaniin
KMS mixed with Wet whiskers and royal kaniin
Raw meat/organs/fish on their own and mixed together, ground.
Raw meat/organs/fish on their own and in a mixed bowl but not ground (is worked with my other difficult weaver, he skipped the mushy food and wanted chewy.)
Whiskers dry and whiskers wet, as they are.
Whiskers dry with water.
Royal kaniin kitten kibble.
Royal kaniin weaning mousse.

I have smeared my fingers, his mouth, his paws, his toys, his bedding, mum's teats (yes that was extreme. She just licked it off.) my partner has held him down and I have tried forcing food into his mouth, by finger, syringe and pippet.

I'm not kidding, NOTHING worked.

Vet advised to separate from mum. We had been separating already for 6 hours or so, but over the last week we have separated for between 12-24 hours, placing him in the room he originally nested in with a litter mate who Is weaned. I had a camera set up to watch who ate. The littermate ate regularly, as expected, but he didn't touch a thing. I'd come home to find him crying and shaking. If I put food anywhere near him, he backs away, it's like he's frightened of the food itself, and I don't mean the bowl.

He took a little nibble of a chicken wing last night. He was sat in a fresh litter tray munching the litter, and I took a gamble and just dropped a wing in there, and he tried it. He hasn't touched anything since, but it's a start.

As for him going at 9 weeks the vet said it was fine. I adverse for them to go from 10 weeks, and honestly we didn't think anyone would want them and as he was the first to be adopted I was definitely a little too eager in pleasing his adopter. But it's too late now for regrets, all I can do is learn from that, the others aren't going until almost 11 weeks. Advice I found online was very conflicting, and I was under the impression 8 weeks was the age from which they can leave, subject to being weaned.
Last edited by willowdragon on Tue May 16, 2017 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by willowdragon » Tue May 16, 2017 9:05 am

booktigger wrote:I definitely wouldn't regime an unweaned kitten, and especially not one travelling to a different country - if they don't like that, they aren't putting the kittens interests first. Have you tried both wet and dry food - my vet swears that dry is easier to wean. Have you tried kitten milk?
Yeah that's what my guts telling me. I think part of it is that she's a nurse and the only time she has to settle the kitten in is May bank holiday weekend, and I understand she wants that time to settle him in, but as I explained to her my priority is that a healthy, happy kitten leaves me to go to a safe environment supportive of his wellbeing.

I haven't said as much, but that she's pushing so hard to have him regardless of whether he is weaned is actually making me question whether she cares more about the kitten or about getting too play with him for a weekend. If I was buying a kitten I personally wouldn't accept one that wasn't weaned! She said her last cat wasn't weaned when it came to her and after two days of not eating it was so hungry it eventually just learned to eat out of hunger, the "tough love" approach. But I feel there's a fine line between tough love and just plain cruel. Then again who am I to judge, I'm probably just being over protective.

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by vanilla » Tue May 16, 2017 12:10 pm

No, I don't think you are being over protective. I would definitely not rehome if he hasn't been weaned, more concerned about the kittens welfare. And if I was the new owner I wouldn't want to accept a kitten not weaned as it would be such a big worry for me. At the moment he's happy to have mum's milk, but it will come when mum will stop feeding him and push him away. Just continue trying to feed him.

Has the vet checked him out? Hopefully nothing wrong with his mouth like a fused tongue or something??

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by booktigger » Tue May 16, 2017 12:33 pm

No, you aren't being overprotective, and the kittens welfare is the priority. I have to say, I've never had such a hard kitten before, the worst I've had is one that would only eat dry - his new owner eventually got him eating wet by putting grated cheese on it!! I would echo Vanilla's advice as to whether there is something physically stopping him, although he is eating litter, which is normally a sign they are ready for weaning. 9 weeks is generally the youngest you would home, as it is when they can have their first vaccination, although in an ideal world it would be 13 weeks and fully vaccinated.

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by willowdragon » Tue May 16, 2017 1:58 pm

Hmm see that's odd because my vet told me the earliest they can vaccinate is 7 weeks, so we're having ours this Thursday at about 8 1/2 weeks.

We've been to the vets at least once a week, as you can imagine I've been drought with worry over the eating (or lack of), and our dietary consultations are free. He's gaining weight at the expected pace, has healthy teeth and bones so far, enjoys playing and snuggling...he's basically a fat, healthy cat. He's just a stubborn kitty.

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by willowdragon » Tue May 16, 2017 7:32 pm

HE'S EATING! HE'S EATING!!!!
Cooked chicken! I didn't think to try cooked because... well he's a cat... he WOLFED it down like he's been starved for days!!!

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by vanilla » Tue May 16, 2017 9:05 pm

I was going to mention cooked chicken, but I thought you might have tried that option already!! CONGRATS!!!! YAY!!!! :lol:

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by booktigger » Wed May 17, 2017 12:45 pm

willowdragon wrote:Hmm see that's odd because my vet told me the earliest they can vaccinate is 7 weeks, so we're having ours this Thursday at about 8 1/2 weeks.

We've been to the vets at least once a week, as you can imagine I've been drought with worry over the eating (or lack of), and our dietary consultations are free. He's gaining weight at the expected pace, has healthy teeth and bones so far, enjoys playing and snuggling...he's basically a fat, healthy cat. He's just a stubborn kitty.
There is one brand that can be done at 8 weeks, but the manufacturers normally state not to be used until they are 9 weeks old - we have had the odd ones done a few days early with no ill effect, I've never come across one that can be used on kittens at 7 weeks, although I get mums vaccinated at 7 weeks, so the kits get a bit of the immunity through the milk. So glad you have found something he will eat, I assumed you'd tried cooked chicken - now you just need to make sure he doesn't only eat cooked chicken, as it isn't complete enough.

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Re: Advice about renaming an unweaned kitten

Post by willowdragon » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:52 pm

Yeah Nobivac can be done early, we had our four kittens vacced at 8.5 weeks and again about 4 weeks later, and they were fine, little stars at the vets too.
As for the food, we got there. Two of them would only eat cooked chicken for several weeks, then Mum clearly got as fed up as we did and started taking her raw food to them, oftrn dropping it in the middle of the nest and running off. I haven't heard from the new owners as to the other fuss pot, but we kept one and now he eats like a champ. He's still fussy, so I generally trick him by putting very smelly things like a tiny cube of cheese or some fresh fish stock into the food. He's shot up, and at 4 months is now as big as his mum.

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