normal weight for 10 week-old kitten?
February 9, 2010 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Is my kitten underweight? Sick? Just small?

We adopted a pair of kittens at 8 weeks, now 10 weeks old, two boys, littermates. One was always bigger than the other, and I'm not 100% sure it's just because one was the runt. Is he just scrawny, or sick?

They have had the first round of shots and are not due for round two yet. They have had a Strongid-t wormer. Both are active and seem happy. Small one is leggy and 1.6 kilos and big one is a stout 1.8 kilos. Both seem to have fairly normal drinking, eating and pooping habits, although the small one has occasional loose stool, nothing persistent. Both are gaining weight at about the same pace. Does the little guy need to go back to the vet for further examination to rule out any parasites not covered in the basic vaccination routine? If he continues to gain weight, is he fine?
(obligatory kitten photos)
posted by slow graffiti to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
I don't know what a "normal" weight for kittens is at that age, but I have often found that kittens look and feel scrawny all the time, regardless of how healthy they are. If the vet thought they looked okay, I wouldn't worry about it. Can't tell a whole lot from the photos, but from what I see they look completely normal (and extra-adorable).
posted by a.steele at 4:05 PM on February 9, 2010

First of all: awwwwwww. They're cuties!

I had a very similar issue with a kitten I adopted about six months ago. A friend of mine adopted another from the same litter. They were roughly the same size at six weeks, but despite feeding them identically, her kitten grew (and continues to grow) much, much faster than mine. I was a little paranoid about it, even after she was looked over by the vet and given the all-clear. It wasn't until she hit the four/five month mark or so that she started looking and feeling like a normal cat. She's had her second round of shots and despite being about a third smaller than her brother, I'm told she's doing fine. There's a lot of variation in cat sizes, even among cats from the same litter. Of course it's best to take your vet's advice, but it sounds like your kitten is just on the small size, not unhealthy.
posted by kella at 4:11 PM on February 9, 2010

How is his activity level? If he's active and acting like a typical crazy kitten, I wouldn't worry about it. Cats from the same litter can vary in size. If he seems lethargic, then I would think something was wrong.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:18 PM on February 9, 2010

I have two cats from the same litter; they started out roughly the same size, but one quickly became about 1.5 times the size of the other. Now that they're adults, it's still true.

Remember that kittens from the same litter can have different fathers.
posted by bookdragoness at 4:20 PM on February 9, 2010

both look just fine - no secondary eyelid action, no discharge, no belly dents, clean noses - everything a kitten should be.

one small thing that you could do is give a round of Bene-Bac. whatever might be causing the loose stool, it's a sure bet that upping the helpful flora in their guts will make for an even better kittenhood. sometimes just the act of weaning, re-homing, or other starting-point stressors can unsettle their wee intestinal tracts.
posted by batmonkey at 4:41 PM on February 9, 2010

agh! the link didn't go! Bene-Bac
posted by batmonkey at 4:42 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had kittens that were different sized from the same litter, also short haired and long haired from the same litter. We have a big grey and white female cat that was bigger and more aggressive than her siblings. We thought she was male as a small kitten and my son named her Attila. Once we found out he was a she, she became Tilla. She is still the biggest cat, much bigger than her two sisters my brother has and the one sister we have here. I think your little kitty will be fine.

Hexatron's Wife
posted by hexatron at 4:57 PM on February 9, 2010

I fostered a litter where one kitten was easily half the size of the others. And she wasn't even the runt (the runt passed away, unfortunately, and was even smaller...). But now she's within half a pound of both her sister and her mom. (I've had the kittens since they were born, the the mom about a week before that.) I don't think the smaller kitten caught up until she was at least 5-6 months old, and they're a year now.

As long as she's active, eating and looks healthy I wouldn't worry in the slightest. Kittens are just like kids -- they come in all different sizes, and grow at their own pace.
posted by cgg at 4:59 PM on February 9, 2010

My boy was a bit more than half the size of his biggest brother at eight weeks old, now he's a solid healthy adult male cat, weighing 4.7 kg at 16 months old (although I kind of wonder how big his brother got!). Your guys are gaining weight at the same rate, that's the an important clue that you're all doing fine - not growing is a problem, being different sizes, eh not so much. You could certainly bring it up at your next vet visit, which should be reasonably soon anyway as far as I recall (those shots come fairly frequently), and you should keep up with the worming schedule and on top of any fleas if relevant. But assuming nothing else changes in the meantime I don't see why you should be worrying.

The little guy may eventually catch up or may always be little, or you may end up like I did with a previous kitten and find out he's small because, ahem, he's a she.
posted by shelleycat at 5:30 PM on February 9, 2010

What bookdragoness said, they potentially have different fathers and were probably conceived at slightly different times. Either way, born early or just from a smaller line, if he's running around he'll be fine. Just make sure the big one doesn't push him around too much. (Fwiw, our little skinny kitten never really did catch up, and they're five!, but that's more because the big one has become boundlessly fat despite all efforts.)
posted by anaelith at 6:14 PM on February 9, 2010

Our boy Spike was left to die with his biological brother at the tender age of 2 weeks (it's ok! it's ok! they're both fine and fat and semi-internet-famous now!), and they both had some funk as kittens -- Milkshake's was worse, actually -- but they caught up to each other and are now chunky little lovemonkeys. As long as he's active and eating, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
posted by at 7:27 PM on February 9, 2010

We've got a pair of sibling kittens, and one of them was thinner and somewhat scrawnier-looking for the longest time--not unhealthy scrawny, but definitely so in comparison to "big" sis. The smaller one was also the shyer of the two.

And so it stayed for the first 3 years of their life, until about 6 months ago when we added a food bowl in a room that is human-occupied for 6-8 hours a day most days. Turns out smaller cat was nervous about eating in a room alone--now that she has "company" while she eats, she's been eating a lot more. Guess which cat is starting to develop a "hangy-downy" part now?

Not saying that that's the case with your cats, but it is an interesting story about how what is essentially a personality difference had an impact on their size/weight.
posted by drlith at 8:31 PM on February 9, 2010

If the small one is acting healthy and passes all the vet's tests, chances are she's fine. Especially if they are gaining weight at more or less the same pace. We had a litter of cats when I was younger (the runt just passed away at the ripe old age of 22), and they were all mostly different. One was the typical fat cat, the other two were more or less all muscle (like miniature lions), and the runt was made of styrofoam. Seriously. The thing never weighed more than 5 pounds, and was pretty much normal sized. And outlived them all.
posted by gjc at 5:16 AM on February 10, 2010

Both kitties are quite a bit bigger now and nearly the same weights. Vet said their were both completely healthy and normal at their last visit.
posted by slow graffiti at 1:39 PM on March 12, 2010

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