Kitten Not Gaining Weight

Kittens are quite vulnerable during their earlier years. They are yet to learn more about their surroundings and the environment they are in. Orphaned kittens have it harder, they do not have their parents with them to look after them.

This is also the reason why they are more prone to various health complications, but this does not mean that kittens with parents around are no longer prone to health complications. Let us find out the meaning behind kittens not gaining weight.

It is a sign of fading kitten syndrome

Kittens are prone to contracting diseases while they are still young because their immune system is not that fully developed yet. Now, in this case, we are looking into a possibility that a kitten may have fading kitten syndrome especially if they are not gaining the weight they should have.

  • Kittens who are affected by this syndrome may have a hard time standing up again when they fall on their backs
  • They may have difficulty in rooting or suckling – making it even more difficult to give it proper nutrition
  • Lethargy, weakness and low body temperature 
  • Their eyes remain closed even during the usual period of five to fourteen days 
  • Often times they are significantly smaller than their other litter mates 
  • Pale gums and low respiratory rate 
  • The most apparent symptom of this syndrome is the kitten not gaining weight. No matter how hard you try to put up weight to your kitten, nothing seems to be working. They could never reach the healthy weight of 7-10 grams.

What exactly is fading kitten syndrome?

Studies show that at a minimum, one in every momma cat's litter is prone to having fading kitten syndrome. It is said that 15-27 % of kittens could not even make it to nine weeks old. This statistics is based on studies that looked into a healthy cat family living in the most favorable conditions. What more does it mean if the kitten has been abandoned?

Fading kitten syndrome is an accumulation of various conditions which causes complications that a kitten develops as it matures. These make the kitten sickly and weak. Some would even die without any warning. It was termed as fading kitten syndrome perhaps because of the very nature of the syndrome, you can really never tell.

What causes fading cat syndrome?

They lack the necessary nutrients to sustain them 

This is a usual scenario for cats that were abandoned and orphaned. They are unable to receive the proper nutrients they should be getting from their mother cats. This is also the very reason why abandoned kittens almost always have a slim chance of survival.

Hemolytic anemia could be the culprit 

It occurs when a kitten has a different blood type than that of its mother. As the kitten will try to nurse its mother for nutrients, there is a possibility that in the process, it can ingest antibodies that will attack its immune system.

Infections and vulnerability to bacteria and viruses 

As kittens who are yet to develop their organs and fortify their immune systems, they are highly vulnerable to external elements which cause them to get sick easily. Bacteria and virus present in their surroundings can easily get past a kitten’s body defense mechanism, especially if the kitten is weak.

Trauma and hypothermia 

There could be unexpected incidents wherein a kitten may have fallen from a great height and it caused the kitten to have trauma in its head or any body part. Kittens could also die from extremely chilly environments, especially without the presence of a mother cat.

How to deal with fading cat syndrome

  • Observe the kittens closely for signs and symptoms’.
  • Intervene if needed. For instances where the kittens could not nurse properly or if it is the mom that is having a hard time nursing its kittens.
  • Ensure a more safe and secure environment. Make sure that they are in a nice, dry, warm place.
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness. Replace their beddings every now and then, and make sure that they are free from their own excretions.
  • Learn how to aid a cat in putting up weight. There are a lot of cat food out there that can help gain weight
  • Give them proper nutrition – both the kitten and the mother cat.

We also recommend you read our friends article on Hyperthyroidism in Cats, it is a good read for adult cats.

Round Up 

We all wish to see kittens grow up to be adorable and loving adult cats. Now that we know more about the fading kitten syndrome, let us be more vigilant especially during a cat’s kittenhood.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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