Weaning Kittens to Solid Food

Unfortunately, kittens tend to dehydrate rather quickly. Dehydration usually occurs when a kitten has a case of “the runs” (also known as diarrhea) or when they are not ingesting enough formula or mother’s milk. There are several ways to tell if your kitten is dehydrated.

  • Skin Elasticity – Gently pull the skin on the back of your kitten’s neck. If the skin snaps back into place quickly…this is a good sign (your little ball of fluff is most likely, not dehydrated). If the skin doesn’t snap back into place within two or three seconds your kitten is probably dehydrated and a trip to the vet is in order. The veterinarian will most likely treat your kitten’s dehydration by putting fluids under his or her skin (this is done by IV). Your kitten’s body will quickly absorb the fluids and he or she should be feeling better in no time.
  • Pee (Urine) – You can tell a lot by looking at your kitten’s urine (and poop too, but that’s another story for another day). If your kitten’s urine is light yellow, no worries, all is well. However, if the urine is red, very dark yellow, or brown, a trip to the vet is necessary because your kitten’s urine is too concentrated which means, you guessed it, he or she is most likely dehydrated.
  • Eyes and Mouth – A dehydrated kitten will have gums that are sticky and a very dry mouth. Their tongue will also be bright pink in color (more so than usual). Dehydrated kittens may also have a crusty, goopy substance in the corners of their eyes.

As previously mentioned, dehydration occurs in kittens when their “out-flow” is greater than their “in-take.” If you choose, you can begin to rehydrate your kitten at home by giving him three or four ccs of unflavored Pedialyte every hour. Or, if you prefer, one cc every fifteen minutes. If you are not comfortable treating your kitten’s condition at home (and most people aren’t) it would be wise to take your kitten to the vet as soon as possible so that he can be properly assessed and rehydrated.