nursing the runt

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There’s a newborn in the house again, four to be exact.  One of our cats had her first litter of kittens two weeks ago tomorrow.  There’s one that’s awfully small, and I mean awfully small.   This is our first litter of kittens as well, so we don’t really know what we’re doing either, but based on the looks of the runt, my daughter and I felt like we needed to do something.

So, this morning, we loaded up the little boys and headed to the pet store for some kitten formula and baby bottles.  We searched Google for ‘bottle feeding runt kittens’, and I called my mom, hungry for any advice she might have.  We had close to ten litters of kittens when I was growing up, and I remember having runts, but I don’t remember anything else about them.

This one is half the size of the others.  It’s been the runt since birth, but something about the past few days, when the others started opening their eyes and this one didn’t, got us paying closer attention to it.  The mother has not abandoned it, and seems attentive and concerned about it, but we’re not there all the time to see if the others are preventing him from nursing or what.

My mom suggested putting him in front of the mother and letting her lick him, and then seeing if we can get him to latch on to nurse.  We’d been doing that for the first few days after he was born, but then stopped when it seemed like they were all eating okay.  We tried again this afternoon and the mom licked his face, and we did get him latched on to nurse.  Then we left, not sure whether to leave the mom alone so she doesn’t get too nervous, or to stay and wait to see if the runt was going to need any more help.

It’s hard to know when to intervene and when it’s best to leave them alone.  This morning we had found the three healthy ones nursing with the mother, and the runt alone in a corner, weak and looking disillusioned.  That’s when we did something.

Worry, regret, and doubting yourself.

Welcome to the world.

~~~

Dear Jesus,
Keeper of the world
Thank you for the kittens
Please help the runt.

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