Questions about Kittens Not Eating or Sleeping Too Much

Kitten Not Eating

by Bridget
(Redding, California)


I rescued two 8 week old kittens-both brothers. Apparently very healthy, playing, sleeping, using the kitty litter box. One is eating the dry kitten chow and drinking water. The other kitten is refusing to eat or drink. However, the one that is refusing to eat the dry cat food or drink the water, will drink milk. I'm not feeding the kitten that won't eat any milk right now to see if I can get it to eat the dry food but I am concerned as I don't want to starve it. I have tried to soften the dry cat food with water and force a little into its mouth so it can get used to the taste. Otherwise, the kitten appears very healthy. I'm thinking possibly my little kitten is just stubborn and not ready to wean. Any advice is welcome as I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing. Thank you!


You can't let a kitten go even 24 hours without eating, so whatever it takes ....milk, force-feeding with a syringe, trying various kinds of canned food. Whatever the reason, the kitten must eat and if it will not, should see a vet.

Good luck,

Thank you,

Dr. Neely


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Kitten Has Fever


I found a kitten, probably about 7 months old, in the backyard not too long ago, and I think he has a fever. All he does is sleep and he doesn't really move around much. A friend suggested that I give him baby aspirin 1mm/lb to lower the temperature, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea.

I want to bring him to the vet, but 1- it is Sunday and a lot of vets are not open, and 2-the cost of the emergency vet is so high and I don't think I will be able to afford it. What should I do?


DON'T GIVE ASPIRIN! IT WILL KILL HIM!!! DON'T GIVE TYLENOL OR ADVIL OR ANY OF THOSE MEDICATIONS! If he has a fever, he needs to see a vet. Also, you don't know if he indeed even has a fever. You said you "think".

Is he eating? If he is eating and just sleeping a lot, it can probably wait until the next day. However, if he is not eating and not moving around and his ears feel warm, he needs to go to the vet right away.

Kindest Regards,
Dr. Neely


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My kitten won't eat

by Tina
(Pawtucket, RI)

I just got an eight week old kitten. I brought her home and at first she wouldn't eat anything at all. On day 2 she ate a few pieces of kitten chow but nothing major. So I tried feeding her wet food and she wants nothing to do with it, But when ever we have any food that we are eating, even drinks, she goes crazy trying to get some! Can you help me figure out whats going on and what I can do to get her to eat?

Dear Tina,

An 8-week-old kitten could die or become very sick very quickly from not eating. I would recommend bringing your kitten to a veterinarian for an exam as soon as possible.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can try. Since she seems interested in people food, try giving her some people food mixed with a bit of cat food. Making sure she is eating something/ANYTHING right now is more of a priority than WHAT she is eating. She can be transitioned to straight cat food as time goes on.

Also, if you haven't already, you can try offering baby food (such as chicken) and try several different brands and flavors of canned cat food. Some cats prefer fish flavors, while others prefer poultry or beef, and consistency can vary significantly from brand to brand. Additionally, you could offer her Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR). This is available at most pet stores.

All of these suggestions, however, are really just ideas to help you get her eating something while waiting to see a veterinarian. Little kittens can get dehydrated very quickly, and she should receive immediate veterinary care to rule out underlying causes and stabilize her if need be.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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