We are in the midst of weaning our kitten, Little Bit. She has been resistant, often still wanting the bottle and refusing to eat the various foods we have tried: second-step weaning mixture, like a gruel; kitten food; moist kibble; baby food. We have been at our wits' end, trying to make sure she gets enough nourishment.
Yesterday I had her at work with me, and was trying to feed her. She hadn't eaten much at all so far that day. I was using the baby bottle to pour the gruel into a small dish. She had previously gnawed through the tip, so it was open at the top. She was acting frantic for food, but wouldn't lap out of the bowl. She was grabbing for the bottle. I finally decided to see if I could use the bottle to let her chug some liquid down, even though the nipple wasn't all there. But - in the middle of that, she took a big bite, and ripped off most of the rest of the nipple and swallowed it.
We called our vet, and he was worried that it might cause problems, blockage in the intestines. He recommended trying to get her to vomit. She only weighs 1 lb. 7 oz. I didn't feel confident doing it on my own. Our regular vet is in Santa Rosa, but I was in Calistoga, so I brought her to the vet there. We induced vomiting, but no nipple piece came up. The vet then gave her some mineral oil, hoping that at least it could help her pass the piece from the other end.
But she was miserable. By that night, it was clear that it was not just trauma from the day's event. Something was wrong. We ended up making an emergency trip to PetCare in Santa Rosa. She had aspirated either vomit or mineral oil, and was struggling to breathe, in danger of developing pnemonia. We were told that the diagnosis was "guarded" - less than fair. We left her in their care, driving home in tears.
This kitten, who we have bottle-fed and nurtured for the past five weeks, has become like a baby for us. We are both feeling devastated. My feelings are compounded by guilt: I shouldn't have let her use the bottle. I should have brought her to the vet more quickly. I should have brought her to our regular vet. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I called just a few moments ago, and the doctor said she is doing slightly better, breathing without quite as much effort. I am just praying she is strong enough to make it through.