Ask Dr Claire

I have a 1 week old kitten that I saved as its mother rejected it. Up until yesterday it was energetic and eating well. Today it has slept constantly and I’m finding it difficult to feed it. Help?

Really young kittens can be difficult to rear and they can succumb to sickness easily.

When kittens get sick regardless of the cause, they can go downhill quickly.

We call it fading kitten syndrome and they become progressively dehydrated, get low blood sugar and become cold. Your kitten is so young and needs supportive care and treatment when unwell.

Ensure she is being supplemented with a proper kitten milk formula, and be careful not to force milk into her lung, especially where she is not suckling properly. It’s also important to weigh your kitty every day to ensure there’s weight gain–it’s the best way to assess healthy growth. You will also need to help her to go to the toilet normally. (At this age, you still need to help!)

A hands-on examination from your local vet as soon as possible would be a great place to start. Better to be safe than sorry with kittens.

If you’d like to chat in person, you can get a vet on a live video call or start a chat to discuss in more detail now.

We’re here to help!

Chat soon,

Dr Claire