Every time I hear a story about the runt of the cat litter, it makes my heart go all squishy! A little fluff born too soon, showing the world how she can defy all odds? It’s the greatest story you can hear, and I get excited every time I hear these kitties get a happy ending. It’s incredible just how strong our four-legged friends can be.
Just imagine a litter full of adorable fluffs, each of them cute as a button! You look at them, all soft and innocent, so tiny they could fit into the palm of your hand. And, that’s when you notice a little rebel among them, smaller than the rest, fighting for her place next to her purring mamma.
Just like that, you make a decision. “I want to give this ball of fluff the world.” This tiny troublemaker won your heart over from the moment you laid your eyes on her, with her tiny paws that were fighting hard to catch up with her bigger siblings.
While they grew stronger, she had some trouble keeping up, but one thing’s for sure, she was the feistiest of them all. While they were napping and cuddling their mamma, she had other plans, like exploring every corner of your room.
Yes, she may have looked weaker and smaller than the rest, but she had the spirit of a lion. And, she inspired you to be just the same. So, you decided to keep her and give her a life filled with love, because that’s exactly what she deserves.
Here’s everything you should know about your runt of the cat litter!
What is the runt of the cat litter?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “runt of the litter” many times, but what does it really mean? Well, let’s paint the picture, shall we?
We have a litter full of adorable, fluffy kittens. Obviously, they were all born together, but there’s one fluff that’s the tiniest of them all. Well, that’s your runt! She may be the smallest, but that doesn’t mean she’s any less lovable than the rest of her siblings. In fact, she’s the main character in their story!
Remember Charlotte’s Web? Wilbur was the runt of the litter. He was the weakest piglet, but with the help of the people who decided to bottle-feed him, he grew big and strong. That’s exactly how you can help your little fluff, too!
She may have to work a bit harder to keep up with her siblings, but it’s far from impossible. There’s a strong chance she’ll always be the center of attention, with her playfulness and determined little character.
How to tell if your kitten is the runt of the litter
Almost every litter has a runt. It’s completely normal, and these kittens are just as lovable as their bigger siblings. As newborns, they’re fragile and weak, but with a bit of extra love and attention, they can grow to be strong kitties just like any other.
So, if you suspect you may have a runt of the cat litter, don’t worry. She’ll be just fine, and you can give her the life every purrer deserves – one filled with love, cuddles, and their favorite treats. If you’d like to know if your fluff is the runt of her litter, here are some signs to look out for.
1. She’s smaller
The most obvious thing that will let you know that you have a runt on your hands is the fact that she’s much smaller than the rest of the kittens. Although she’ll grow stronger over time, she’ll probably always stay a bit smaller than the rest of the kitties her age. And that’s completely okay!
That doesn’t mean she’s unhealthy. It’s simply due to the fact she had poorer nourishment during and after pregnancy. The best way to find out if you have the runt of the litter is by comparing her to her siblings.
2. She has a physical deformity
Unfortunately, the smallest and weakest cats of the litter sometimes end up with some kind of physical deformity. These are often reflected in uneven paws, crooked legs, eye issues, or even underdeveloped organs. But, don’t worry, with good care, these kitties can live a long and healthy life.
A lot of runts have difficulty with walking or moving in general. This is often caused by the kitten’s failure to receive proper nutrition from her mother. If you decide to bottle-feed the kitten yourself, make sure you talk to the vet first, as they’ll tell you the best method and milk to use.
3. She’s weak
All kittens are weak during their first days on this earth. As the days go by, however, they may become more lively. In no time, you’ll have a small army of fluffs running around your home, climbing up your furniture, and wrestling with each other any chance they get. But, one may not be like the rest.
The smallest kitten will try to keep up with her stronger siblings, but she won’t have the strength to do so. She’s simply too weak to wrestle or claw up your leg. She may explore your room, but she won’t do things that require more of her strength.
If there’s a kitten that doesn’t play with the other fluffs from the litter because she’s too small, slow, or weak, that’s the runt. But, don’t worry. She’ll make up for it one day, and you’ll sit and wonder what in the world happened to the small and shy kitty she once was.
She may seem weak now, but she has the strength of a lion inside of her. Your small fluff is pushing through her weakness like a champ, and that requires great determination and bravery.
4. Fading Kitten Syndrome
When a mother is undernourished, her kittens can suffer from Fading Kitten Syndrome (FKS). Although this is common among runts of the litter, there are cases where the entire litter has FKS. However, because runts are a lot weaker than the rest of the kittens, they’re more likely to deal with this condition.
FKS can cause weakness, loss of appetite, malnourishment, and even isolation from the litter. In order to save kittens who are suffering from this condition, you need to give them quite a bit of extra care and attention.
If you suspect your cat may be dealing with this issue, it’s best to consult the vet and see what your next step should be. Although it’s sad to see your fluff like this, with some extra love, she’ll be running around your home in no time.
Should I avoid adopting a runt of the litter?
A cat that is the runt of the litter is deserving of love just like any other fluff. Even though they’re smaller and weaker, this doesn’t mean runts won’t be wonderful pets that will bring plenty of love and joy into your life.
However, if you decide to adopt a runt kitty, make sure you’re ready to give her proper care and plenty of attention. Before you bring her home, make sure to check how she interacts with her mamma. If she’s still nursing, it’s a good sign that your tiny fluff can survive and live like any other kitten.
Some runts are rejected by their mothers, which is why they’re fed by the breeder. If this is the case, make sure you talk to the vet before deciding on the best method to feed your kitten. To avoid adopting kittens with certain health issues, make sure you’re always dealing with licensed and responsible breeders.
If you’re adopting from the shelter, you’ll be doing a good deed by choosing the runt. The weakest kittens often don’t end up being adopted, and shelters have no other choice but to euthanize them. By opting for a runt of the cat litter, you’re probably saving a life.
How do you take care of a runt?
You’ve decided to save the smallest kitten in the litter, and I couldn’t be more proud of you! Now, you have to learn how to take care of her. First of all, make sure you always keep the vet involved. Having a runt is like having a sickly kid – a doctor should always be one call away.
Make sure your kitten has regular check-ups. If there are any underlying medical conditions, your vet will be the first to know. That way, you’ll begin the treatment as soon as possible, which could potentially save your fluff’s life!
If there’s no cat mamma around, you should consult the vet about the best kitten formula, and start feeding your furbaby multiple times a day. Make sure it’s always in small servings.
And, of course, always keep a close eye on your little runt. Keep her warm, and never leave her alone at home. Until she’s strong enough to move and eat on her own, she’ll need your help every step of the way. You’re her new mamma!