When An Itty-Bitty Kitty Is An Underdog: How To Care For A Runt That's Been Kicked Out Of The Litter


Runts can be straggly, sickly, and small, but to many humans, they've just as much right to survive as their healthy siblings. If you've happened upon a runt that requires rescuing, your chivalry is admirable; however, you should proceed with guided caution.

Why The Mamma Cat Leaves The Runt Out

There are many reasons a mother cat may abandon an offspring, and she may know something that isn't immediately obvious to a human bystander:

  • The kitten has an infection from a virus or bacteria.
  • The little one's immune system is compromised in some way.
  • A physical defect is present.
  • The baby isn't nursing with the same ferocity as the siblings.
  • The kitten in question is taking milk from those with a much higher likelihood of survival.

The mother herself may not be capable of nurturing the entire litter, meaning what appears to be a runt could simply be a baby that simply isn't the quickest or fiercest when it comes to nursing.

Precautions For You, Your Family, And Other Pets You May Have

While you're undergoing the heroic effort of saving an animal, you might also be putting others at risk. Be aware that without any attention from a veterinarian, your new house guest could be carrying something transmissible to humans and/or other pets. If you've been following COVID-19 restrictions, you're already well-versed in some of the practices you now need to employ, including:

  • Using gloves and a mask when working with the little one
  • Keeping the animal completely separate from other pets
  • Cordoning off an area for care, making it sterile, and not mixing items (towels, boxes, etc.) with your household until they're sanitized
  • Trying not to let yourself or members of your family get too attached to the patient, just yet 

It's a good idea to limit visitors, despite how irresistible the little wonder is to behold. The area should be quiet and calm for the patient while easy to control and monitor for you.

Taking Care Of The Runt

Depending on the specifics of the situation you've taken on, care may be very intense. Newborn felines require feeding at regular intervals dependent on their age. You may also need to clean the animal as well as help its body stay warm and stimulated. Your basic duties will include: 

  • Feeding the tiny treasure formula from a syringe
  • Gently rubbing the belly to prompt urination (like the mother would do)
  • Making warmth and cleanliness a priority
  • Talking to and cuddling the baby very gently, but lovingly, so it feels safe

This can be a laborious job for one person; thus, if you have helping hands in your household, join with one or two others in your crusade. Make certain your assistants are mature enough and understand all the responsibilities involved.

Why It's Important To Involve A Veterinarian

Although you could save a runt all on your own, there are many advantages to seeking the assistance of a professional, among them:

  • Obtaining specific feeding instructions
  • Knowing what information you should record, including creating an input/output chart and weighing the animal often
  • Getting a thorough examination for the kitten, including the ensuing recommendations, like possible antibiotics and other treatments
  • Ridding the runt of common kitty ailments, from worms and fleas to other parasitic threats

You'll also get a good idea about what may be involved moving forward, such as continued medical care and costs along with the projected rate of growth and, if applicable, recovery.

The Outlook For Your Underdog Kitten

Unless the mini-meower has a very unfortunate diagnosis, the chances for a long and happy life may be very good. Runts often beat the odds stacked against them, especially with great care-givers helping them along. 

An itty-bitty kitty should, in many cases, be given a fair shot at survival, even if the mother had other ideas. Just be sure you're well prepared for the battle at hand and have a vet to help you out. For more information about pet care when you're caring for a runt, talk to a veterinarian in your area.


18 November 2020

Understanding and Helping Pets

When it comes time to help your animals, there are a lot of different things you can do to improve their quality of life. Walks, nutritious food, and excellent veterinary care are all great ways that you can help to improve your animal's day and their life in general. On this blog, check out great tips that will help your animals to live their best life, so that they are well-suited to be happy for the long haul. Read on this website to learn how to help your animal to live their happiest, most fulfilling lives, and how veterinary care can help tremendously.