Kittens are, without a doubt, the most endearing and engaging of the baby animals to watch. But if you have a kitten who's gassy due to tummy troubles, you may find your kitten is not acting as a kitten should. Foul-smelling gas is not only unpleasant, but painful for kitty.
Eight Weeks Old
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If you attempt to feed a kitten solid food, your kitten will suffer from foul-smelling gas as his intestinal tract attempts to deal with food it is not yet ready to deal with. Kittens should never be separated from their mothers before the age of 8 weeks. This is because a newborn kitten needs the full course of immunization and the high-calorie nutrition afforded by the mother's milk that helps the kitten to grow. If you have a neonatal kitten (before the age of 8 weeks) who has been orphaned and you are trying to raise him, you should be using a kitten milk replacement formula and possibly a drop of yogurt or Pedialyte but nothing more during this critical stage while his digestive tract is still maturing.
Foul-Smelling Gas and Spray
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You may notice that a kitten does not only pass gas, but also sprays fecal material and/or blood issuing from his rectum. If this is the case with your kitten, you must stop all food and bring her to the vet right away for a work up. Your kitten may have food allergies or a disease that causes malabsorption. These conditions are easily treatable by offering a different protein source or smaller, more frequent meals. Some preparations that treat gas in humans can also be used in cats, so ask your vet for the name and dosage of an over-the-counter medication.
Changes in Food Choices
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One thing you can do to stop the gas right away is to cut back on the food you are giving your kitten. Give small amounts several times a day instead of full meals once or twice a day. Change the diet to a low-fiber food because it is more digestible. Do not offer "people food." When you do change your kitten's food, do so gradually so as not to upset his tummy further. Mix in the old food with the new at a 25 percent to 75 percent ratio, gradually adding more of the new food and less of the old food over a period of a week to ten days. If a commercially prepared low-fiber food is not helping, ask your vet for a prescription diet recommendation.
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Competition among house cats can cause your kitten to have gas because she is gulping her food too fast. The excess air she is taking in while eating is going to her tummy and has to come out somehow. If your kitten is being fed alongside other cats or kittens, try feeding her alone so she does not feel that need to scarf down her food to be sure she gets her fair share.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.