Ron Hines, DVM PhD
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“Zoos tell us as much about humans as they do about animals” Richard Mabey
About Big Cats
For many years, I treated wild exotic cats in zoos and private collections in Texas. Later, I cared for large circus cats in Sarasota, Florida. This is some of the information I learned over that time. For it, I am indebted to the Rosaire Family, Show Folks Inc. of Sarasota and to the kind members of the Feline Conservation Federation of America.
Hand-raising big exotic cats is somewhat like baking a cake – there is no one right way to do it but there are some obvious
things you want to avoid. What is important is that you are happy with the final results.
Why Would Anyone Want To Hand-raise Big Exotic Cats?
It’s not unusual for exotic wild cats, living in captive situations, to need help raising one or more of their offspring. In captivity, the clues, rhythms and experiences that govern their natural wild behaviors are missing or poorly developed. This often includes the rearing of their young. If all cubs are of equal size and development and one has died or is in serious trouble, I usually suggest all the babies be pulled and hand-raised then and there.
First Time Mothers
Exotic cats giving birth for the first time often have poorer maternal instincts and less success then they do in subsequent litters. If one or more infants are subnormal in temperature or have died, you may be able to save the rest through hand rearing.
People occasionally find these wild infant felines after a parent was killed, injured or when their parental bond was broken – usually through some interaction with humans. These foundlings can be successfully raised. They are rarely suitable for re-introduction into the wild, but they make good educational ambassadors and zoo display cats.
Display and Performance Cats
Many animal professionals raise these magnificent creatures for show or display. They usually find that these big cats lead less stressful lives and are more excepting of human companionship when they are nurtured by humans from birth or shortly there after.
Exceptionally Large Litters
Occasional mothers will give birth to more kittens than they can successfully raise. Those that are slightly smaller will quickly fall behind in growth and rarely survive. For all to survive, some will need to be bottle-fed.
When a male species of cat is bred to a female of a different smaller species, the kittens may be born after a shorter pregnancy than would have occurred in the larger species. These kittens are sometimes slightly less developed than they would normally be and may require bottle-feeding to survive.
Exotic wild felines are commonly raised and sold as pets in the United States. My observation has been that, with the exception of servals and other smaller cats, it is a really unwise idea to keep big exotic cats as domestic pets. Most people greatly underestimate the commitment required to keep these animals, their space requirements, the time their care involves and the cost of keeping them. When you cut corners on any of those things, or when you think you can make them into anything but the wild animals God intended them to be, things will end sadly. But my clients still insist on having them, my job is to keep them healthy and hand raising them is the norm. It does establish a bond and trust that is next to impossible to establish later in the cat’s life. But anyone who tells you you can ever fully trust a large cat has a leak in their attic.
Are There Drawbacks of Bottle-Feeding ?
Bottle-fed big cats are going to turn out quite differently from those raised by their mothers. Depending on your future plans for the cat, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. Other than that, hand-raising infant big cats is a big commitment in time and energy that requires homework and preparation if you are going to succeed.
Once a facility decides to bottle feed its offspring, it may be forced to do so in subsequent generations since human-raised large cats may become poor mothers themselves.
In zoos, bottle-feeding is a time-consuming process that ties up staff time, space and resources. When more than one individual is assigned the chore, slight changes in care technique often causes digestive disturbances in the young animals. Besides, large cats that are raised by their own parents grow up better adjusted to group living.
First Things To Do When Hand-Raising – Initial Physical Exam
you remove cubs from their mother, the first thing to do is to
closely examine them. Each cub needs a notebook, a name or a number.
Snip of a small tuft of hair or mark their tails or claws with
a dab of nail polish to tell them apart.
First check its mouth and nose to be sure it can breath freely. If any of its amniotic sac remains on its face, remove that material completely.
If you are concerned about anything you observe, consult a seasoned professional who has raised many exotic cats. Your local animal hospital is not a good place to seek advice in raising these animals, neither are your local game wardens or SPCA. (Professional, in this case, means experienced, wise and practical, not degreed, titled and academic.)
If the cub(s) are cold or wet, dry them completely with a face towel and warm them immediately. I use a hair dryer on low setting. But be sure you keep the dryer a far distance from the animal’s body, away from its face and do not over heat it. Warm it to your body temperature. You will know it is sufficiently warm when its footpads are the same temperature as the rest of its body and its mouth and tongue are a rosy pink in color. Then wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and place it next to the cub. Individual cubs are more susceptible to chilling than a group of snuggling ones.
What Formula Should I Feed?
You can be successfully raising infant large exotic cats on accepted traditional formulas you make from individual supermarket ingredients, from commercially available infant pet formulas and from combinations of the two. When you feed any one of these three options, how you feed is just as important as which one you feed.
Some people still believe that to be successful with a particular species of big or exotic cat, they must feed a milk formula that is identical to the composition of that cat’s milk as they see it recorded in the literature. The largest producer of animal milk replacements, PetAg, has encourages that way of thinking. However, the data that these people use to make their recommendations is pretty much worthless.
Here is why these minor differences in constituents do not matter: ................
First, the composition of every species of exotic cat changes a lot during the time it is nursing its cubs. Depending on when the sample was taken, the content of fats, protein and calcium varies enormously. It also varies depending on what the mother cat has been eating, the number of kittens it was nursing and even the nipple (ref) that was sampled. It is somewhat like you averaging your weather forecast during a year and saying that that is what the weather will be like tomorrow. It is OK for making broad general decisions as to what ought to be in an exotic cat milk replacement, but not what the individual levels should be. Much of the published species milk analysis data is just plain silly as another article points out (ref).
It is relatively easy to cross-breed (hybridize) wild exotic cats. Common sense tells you that for this to happen these cats must be very much alike in their metabolic and nutrient needs at a cellular level. Where the cubs differ is in their starting weight, and how long growth occurs.
After their initial flow of thick, rich colostrum, big cats produce a more dilute milk during their first week of lactation that gradually increases in its protein, fat and calcium content. Calcium content tends to increase slowly, increasing up to 200% in late lactation. Lactose (milk sugar) remains rather constant throughout lactation. By comparison, the cow’s milk you buy is much more constant with a lower amount of protein, less fat and a higher amount of lactose sugar.
put together some recorded milk sample constituents for exotic
cats and comparative species. They are valuable in getting a feel
for the general level of nutrients in exotic cat milk –
nothing more. No one has ever determined that
one species of exotic cat requires a special nutrient or nutrient
level that another species of exotic cat doesn’t. And there
is no reason to think that any of them would.
Off-The-Shelf Milk Replacers
No product for sale in the US is scientifically designed for exotic cats. All were originally designed to feed the kittens and puppies of domestic cats or dog whose nutritional needs we know much more about. Wild exotic felines produce milk that is richer in fat and protein content than that of house cats and domestic dogs and most produce a milk that is lower in carbohydrate (primarily lactose). Domestic cats have adapted to absorbing this sugar by producing a considerable amount of lactase enzyme in their intestines. This capability is not as well developed in wild exotic cats. That is why they are prone to develop bloating, diarrhea and other digestive problems if they consume products formulated for domestic cats or formulas high in cows milk. If you look at the table, you will see that goat's milk is not that different from cow's milk. Cow's milk is also much lower in calcium than feline milk when the babies need it most.
The most commonly used commercial milk formulas to bottle-feed exotic cats in the US are those produced by PetAg. Many use their KMR or Esbilac formulas because they are readily available and opinions are pretty much evenly split as to which works best in exotic cats. When one prefers one over the other, it is usually because they think they see less diarrhea and bloat with one or the other product. Some straddle the fence by use a mixture of the two. Everyone has occasional problems with both. When problems occur, it appears to be due to the fat portion of the formulas.
Because results have been mixed when either KMR or Esbilac is used in wildlife, PetAg also sells a line of Milk Matrix products that are milk-fat free the way all their products once were manufactured. The fat and oil portion of Milk Matrix formulas is all from vegetable sources. Of this line, their Milk Matrix 33/40, 42/25 and 42/50 are suggested. The first number in the names of these products represents their percentage of protein and the second the percentage of fat. I have not noticed that any one of these three Milk Matrix formulas gives consistently better results than another. Individual exotic cat professionals each have their favorite and which one you will personally find best is not predictable. That is probably because it is not so much, which one you feed, as how you feed it that makes most of the difference. Differences between product batches and limited product shelf life probably account for the rest of the differences you will see.
Most people purchase these formulas in dry powdered form. The process by which PetAg and the other Borden clone company, Fox Valley, include a fat or oil in a dry powder formula is a difficult one. Think about it. Have you ever considered turning a stick of butter into a powder? These products are, by their nature, very unstable with a short shelf life. They also vary from batch to batch because bulk dairy ingredients they purchase to make them are not a uniform product. During storage, milk-based formulas often become rancid and irritating as they form unhealthy peroxides and aldehydes (malondialdehyde, hexanal, alkenals) and loose vitamin E, other anti-oxidants and essential omega fatty acids.
It is not just the quality and freshness of the fats in dry formulas that is important. It is very important that the size of the fat droplets in the formulas you prepare be such that the cubs can easily absorb them. If the powdered formula you purchase is old or if that particular batch was not up to quality, or if the liquid you prepare was not blended sufficiently or was blended too vigorously, the fat can form lumps that are too large for infant exotic cats to absorb. When this occurs, the cubs can die from intestinal blockages. the milk fat ingredients (creams) they use to produce feeding formula seem more prone to this problem than their vegetable fats ingredients. Be sure there are no lumps, clumps or graininess in the formulas you prepare and that the powder itself shows no sign of off-odor or rancidity. I have tried various ways of keeping these powders fresh but haven’t been happy with any. The stuff just seems to have a mind of its own.
To be used successfully, all dry formulas needs to be well blended with pre-warmed water. The fat portion of KMR and Esbilac were reformulated some years ago to include milk fat. Changes were also made in the way the products were manufactured. So old formulas and advice you read about are no longer valid. Unfortunately, a lot of product information that might be helpful are company trade secrets. Each time a change occurs, it has lead to major confusion when their products are used to raise wildlife. The older formulas of KMR and Esbilac are still available from PetAg as Milk Matrix 42/25 and 33/40 respectively.
PetAg says that their Milk Matrix line has only vegetable fats, so the clumping of milk fat should not be a problem when you use them. However, PetAg put out an advisory a while ago that electric blenders, when used to vigorously, might cause the fat portion of their products to clump and congeal. They suggest the formulas only be mixed in blenders with intermittent pulse bursts. The characteristics of the fats in these commercial formulas are as important as their source. When fat or oil globules are the wrong size, they can lead to constipation and death in big cat cubs due to intestinal blockages. Cow-source butterfat in these formulas caused this problem at a number of large zoos and wildlife centers. This butter fat clumping problem does not seem to occur when you make your own formula using heavy cream.
You also have the option of purchasing similar products from Fox Valley or Wombaroo Food Products but, as far as I know, they all face the same production challenges.
Colostrum and Serum Antibodies
Cubs and kittens haven’t had time to develop their own immunity against infections. They rely on immunity (antibodies) passed down from their mothers. Some of these antibodies pass into the cubs while they are still in the womb. The amount of immunity passed to the cubs before birth depends on the health and nutritional status of the mother as well as her vaccination status. But many antibodies are passed along to the cubs in the first milk or colostrum that the mothers produce for a day or two after giving birth. The amount of antibody that can pass through the cub’s intestine in this way begins to decline shortly after birth. After a day or two has passed, the antibodies in milk can no longer be absorbed by the cubs. But the antibody that they did absorb persists in their blood and protects them for many weeks.
Cubs that do not receive colostrum are more prone to bacterial infections (septicemias), pneumonia, intestinal infections, diarrhea and umbilical infections. It is not until they are about 8 weeks old that feline cubs produce enough antibodies of their own to protect themselves.
That is why, whenever possible, exotic cats should nurse their own mothers for their first 48 hours. When that can't happen, you still have some options:
First Feedings / Electrolytes
Cubs do best when their first few feedings are warmed electrolyte solutions such as half-strength pedialyte, ringer’s solution or 5% dextrose (glucose). There are a couple of reasons for this:
Once you and your cub are confident in the feeding process, gradually add the milk formula to the electrolytes. Increase the amount of milk mixed with the electrolyte by about 50% a day (not the total volume) until it is wholly formula. If diarrhea occurs, temporarily dilute the formula with more electrolytes.
Preparing The Cub’s Formula
begin with a diluted formula until the cub adjusts to it. Too
rich a formula, given too soon can cause something called osmotic
diarrhea in which
You can prepare enough for a full day. Keep the day's stock supply on the top shelf in your fridge, heating only what you are about to use. Reheating destroys nutrients and changes the consistency of the fat portion. Give the formula time for the air bubbles and foam to leave the bottles.
If you are working with the 42/25, 33/40, powdered KMR or Esbilac, begin by mixing one part powder with four parts pre-warmed electrolyte. Over the next three or four days, decrease the amount of water you add to a one-part powder, two-parts water mixture.
Be careful when you use a microwave to heat formula. It is safer to heat a bowl of water and place the filled nursing bottles in that than to directly nuke a bottle of formula. Shake a few drops onto your wrist to be sure it is not too hot - about 100F is just right.
How Often Should I Feed The Cub(s)?
Feeding every three hours, dawn to dusk, is sufficient for most infant exotic cats. If the kittens were born weak or are not vigorous nursers, you can feed them every two hours for their first few days. It is always safer to feed weak cubs smaller amounts at more frequent intervals than risk the chance they will aspirate larger amounts given less frequently.
By the time the cubs are two weeks old, they should do fine when fed every four hours and every 5 hours by the time they have reached 5 weeks of age. Feed the weanlings their formula 2-3 times a day.
How Much Formula Should I Feed ?
A very general rule of thumb is that cubs drink 10–20 % of their body weight each day. That is, a 300-gram cub would drink 30-60 ml per day. However, a cub of that size should not get more than 15-20ml in a single feeding. Stay near the lower end of the range for the youngest cubs. The risks of overfeeding are greater than the risks of moderately underfeeding. Stop when they aren’t greedy for the formula and don’t re-feed them before their stomachs have time to empty. Never feed them till they are drum-tight or bloated – just until they are comfortably full and relaxed. If they haven't taken the amount you think they should but their stomachs appear full, stop.
Over-eating, particularly in tiger and lion cubs, causes a lot of intestinal problems and bloat. If the cubs stay restless and hungry between feeding or their growth rate drops off, try increasing the strength of their formula. If it occurs when they are breaking teeth, add some strained baby meats.
Put more milk in the bottle than they will consume so they don’t suck air and don’t rush them. The little ones in particular need rest breaks during their feedings.
In exotic cats, the number of cubs in a litter is not a good predictor of the birth weight of individual cubs and both males and female cubs are born at about the same weight (ref). The San Diego Zoo published some expected daily weight gains for a number of exotic cats of sizes as large as snow leopards. They range from 11 to 35 grams per day over their first 3 weeks (ref).
It can take up to two days for cubs to begin gaining weight. So it is sufficient if they don't loose weight on their first or second day. From then on, their weight gain should be a rapid slope upward. Only the smaller exotic cats, such as margays, grow at the slow rate of domestic house cats (ref).
Can I Make My Own Formula From Scratch?
“I’ve heard of formulas that need two chemists and a witch doctor to make.“ Kevin Chambers.
There is no limit to the number of homemade formulas that are being used to successfully hand-raise exotic cats. Considering all the sorts of things go into these formulas, it is remarkable how well most of them perform.
Zoo nutritionists tell us that fresh cow’s milk is not a suitable ingredient in infant exotic cat formulas. They prefer you use a dried skim milk powder or evaporated milk as your base and avoid adding sugar ingredients (ref). However, that hasn’t kept people from developing their own successful fresh cow’s milk and goat milk formulas. The many ingredients added to these formulas evidently protect the cubs from the effects of the high lactose level and scarce nutrients in cow’s and goat milk. Both cow and goat milk are nutrient poor - the volumes of un supplemented milk that cubs would need to drink to meet their nutritional needs are just too large. Here are a few formulas that I know that have been used by zoos and breeders over the years:
Adding Other Things
It is a good idea to add some multivitamins to formulas for exotic cats – particularly if you are making these formulas from scratch or if there is any doubt in your mind as to the freshness and stability of the commercial product you are feeding. I prefer to use a liquid human pediatric vitamin. They are sold under many names, both proprietary and generic. The best known brand is Poly-Vi-Sol Vitamin Drops. They all should contain Vitamins A, C, D, E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, Vitamin B12 and iron.
Depending on the brand you purchase, a standard daily human infant dose is one half or one ml. Scale this dose down to the size of the cub you are feeding and add it to the mixed formula - boiling vitamins destroys them. Others have used pet vitamin products such as Pet-Tabs just as successfully. Just like the powdered formula, it is important the vitamin product is fresh and has been properly stored. Large discount human pharmacies have fresh product because they turn their stock over rapidly. Most feed stores and veterinary hospitals don’t. Never over-do it with vitamins; too much vitamin A & D are just as dangerous as too little.
Calcium is very stable. All commercial infant pet formulas contain sufficient calcium. Calcium supplementation becomes important when you are mixing your own formulas from scratch and they do not contain enough dairy ingredients or other calcium sources. The skim portion of dry or liquid milk as well as yogurt and buttermilk are rich in calcium. But the cream and cottage cheese portions are much lower in calcium. Products based on meat are also low in calcium unless calcium has been added to them. Cereals are also low in calcium if they have not been calcium-fortified and a diet too low in vitamin D-3 does not allow enough of the calcium that is present to be absorbed.
Because these exotic cats are growing fast, their calcium needs are high. If enough calcium is not available to them, these cats will develop rickets. By the time you see their curved bowlegs and painful gait, the problem cannot be fully corrected. This occurs most commonly when their primary diet ingredient is red meat or poultry meat.
You can avoid this problem in growing exotic cats by adding a calcium supplement. Calcium carbonate antacid tablets and powdered skim milk are readily available sources of calcium you can add. In liquid formulas, Neo Cal-Glucon works well (Calciquid,calcium glubionate)(about 100mg/100grams body weight/day).
All cats are especially sensitive to a lack of taurine in their diets. Taurine is very important for their eye, heart and brain development. They also have poor hair growth when it is lacking in their diet. Dairy proteins, meat and egg white are all rich in taurine and both KMR and Esbilac are fortified with it. But some exotic cat breeders add extra taurine to their baby formulas anyway. Should you wish to add some, it is sold as a tablet or powder for use in pets and as a human supplement by stores like GNC. If you add it, 1000 mg per pound of dry food ingredients is sufficient.
The primary sign of not enough iron in large exotic cats is anemia. Anemic big cats have pale gums, low energy level poor weight gain and sometimes an increased respiration rate. The younger the cat, the more likely it is that these signs will be severe. Iron anemia can be a problem in mother-raised big cats too when they are kept on cement rather than natural earth enclosures that provide natural iron sources or when they carry high hookworm or flea loads (galvanized cages are another cause of anemia). Hookworms steal iron, and big cats that carry intestinal hookworms almost always pass them on to their offspring in their first milk. It is not just a captivity issue - over 90% of the wild bobcats here in Texas have hookworms as well. The Poly-Vi-Sol vitamins I mentioned earlier are fortified with iron. If their anemia is severe (Hct/PCV under 30%) they need injectable iron dextran (iron dextran injections are very painful and inflammatory). If parasites are the underlying problem, they need to be treated.
Some exotic cat breeders and zoos swear by the addition of lactaid-like enzyme tablets to their infant cat diets. This product is an enzyme that helps the animals digest milk sugar (lactose). Domestic cat kittens produce some of their own lactase. But between 4 and 7 weeks, the amount they produce drops significantly.
Exotic cats are probably similar.
Since cow and goat milk are high in lactose sugar, pre-treating milk with lactase can be quite helpful in preventing the bloat, intestinal upsets and diarrhea that sometime accompany diets based on cow and goat milk.
You can purchase lactase in liquid form. When you use it in your homemade formulas, fifteen drops (3750 units) removes nearly all the lactose from a quart (946ml) of milk when it is stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Some exotic cat breeders crush a Lactaid Ultra tablet (9000 units) in 8 ounces of their milk formula. That is a whopping amount of lactase but it causes no harm.
When kittens and cubs nurse their mothers, they are naturally
seeded with bacteria and yeast that aid in digestion and seem
to promote good general heath.
You can supply some of these organisms when yogurt is an ingredient in your formulas. You can supply a wider variety of organisms if you include a probiotic paste in your feeding plan similar to Bene-Bac . I prefer using human probiotics because of the same quality control issues that surround formula powders.
Pure cow’s milk cream in homemade infant diets does not
cause the digestive problems that the mechanically dried cream
powders contained in commercial pet milk replacements do. Use
the product called pure heavy cream or whipping cream that has
no added sugar. It should be added to any formula that only relies
on the natural cream content of cow’s or goat’s milk
because infant exotic cats require much more than those products
naturally contain. When you supplement your formulas with cream,
increase the cream level slowly. Older cubs can handle more of
it than younger ones. Cream is an excellent source of energy for
growing exotic cats. But it does not supply the proteins these
animals need for muscle growth. That will have to come from ingredients
like cooked egg white, meats and the casein protein the cow or
goat milk non-fat portion.
How Much Water Should I Add To The Dry Formula Powders ?
Over the first day or two, gradually change from a pure electrolyte formula to a formula composed of three parts electrolyte/water and one part powdered formula. Over the next few days, increase the concentration to two parts water/electrolytes mixed with one part powdered formula.
At What Age Should I Pull The Cubs?
When you intend to hand raise exotic cats, 14 days is a good time to take on the responsibility. Those first two weeks are the most critical and most mother cats do a better job than you will.
There are exceptions, some cats consistently loose their litters for one reason or another and those cubs need to be removed at birth. Its tough to make those decisions because you can never be certain. If the cubs are not in immediate danger of dying, allow them at least 48 hours to nurse on their mothers so that they will receive her colostrum, or split up the liter so at least some of the offspring will survive.
If this is a pet, commercial exotic wild cat breeders often encourage purchasers to take their cubs too young. Avoid the urge to do that. It is less work for the breeder, but it can be more heartaches for you. Cats pulled at 2 weeks develop just as mellow and docile as those removed earlier. What the cubs first see is important (imprinting). An ideal time to take over parenting responsibility is as their eyes are just opening but before they have the ability to focus. As long as they still purr when you stroke them, you should be OK.
If you have the mother, remember that removing her cubs or loosing her litter will usually causes her to come back into heat. You are putting a lot of unnecessary stress on her health and subsequent liters if you allow her to become pregnant again so soon.
Once the cub(s) is in your care, integrate it completely into your life. The more time you spend with it, the more you stroke and cuddle it and the more you talk to it, the better. You can’t have it both ways – big cats, bottle-fed in zoo nurseries with multiple caregivers, minimal contact and indifferent staff often turn out to be unhappy creatures. They grow up to not be happy in groups of their own kind, and distrustful of humans as well.
Your cubs will not thrive when sanitation levels are low. This goes for the conditions that mother cats reside in as well as the nursery where cubs are raised - unhealthy mothers have unhealthy offspring.
What Are Some Common Health Problems This Cub Might
Exotic cats are born with limited body reserves and stamina. When they go down hill - they do so fast. So when you see even the smallest hint of a problem you need to nip it in the bud.
Very few veterinarians work with exotic cats and fewer still understand the husbandry errors that underlie most infant exotic cat health problems. So your best sources of information are experienced breeders. Take time to locate and introduce yourself to these people before you need their advice. Visit their compounds and learn as much as you can. Join groups like the Feline Conservation Organization.
The most serious problem that can occurs for an inexperienced
caregivers (or a distracted or rushed experienced caregivers)
is allowing the milk formula to enter the cub’s lungs rather
than its stomach - the formula “goes down the wrong way”.
The younger a cub is, the more likely this problem is to occur. That is why inexperienced caregivers are much safer if they take over the chore when cubs are already 4-6 weeks old. Let an experienced person get you started right.
Here are some other tips to help you prevent this problem:
Once a cub has aspirated, there is very little a veterinarian like me can do to improve its chances of surviving. - it all depends on how much milk entered the lungs. If the cub is a cliff-hanger, a high-oxygen, high humidity environment like a preemie incubator (Air-Shield) and antibiotics may tip the balance in favor of its survival.
Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia are labored breathing, irregular breathing, gasping, pale or bluish gums. Later, tremors and listlessness and death.
Diarrhea And What To Do When It Occurs
Diarrhea is a common and serious problem in bottle fed animals
of all kinds. Exotic cats are no exception. Many things can cause
it. But in my experience, feeding techniques and feeding schedules
are a more common cause than minor mistakes in dietary ingredients.
When diarrhea occurs, cubs can become dehydrated rapidly.
The first thing to do when diarrhea occurs is to supply more fluid
and less solids in the cub’s formula and to supply them
more frequently but in small amounts that don’t stress their
digestive system. Electrolytes (pedialyte, ringers solution, etc.)
are the best way to supply these fluids. If the cub becomes weak
or severely dehydrated, it is best that the missing fluid be supplied
by subcutaneous injection of electrolyte solutions intended for
that use. This usually corrects the problem in 24-36 hours. When
the stool has returned to its normal toothpaste consistency, gradually
return the concentration of the formula to full strength.
Treating the formula with lactase (Lactaid) before feeding it
and adding probiotic bacteria or yogurt seem to lessen diarrhea
problems in infant exotic cats.