The runt of the litter is the smallest kitten among brothers and sisters, distinguished by a low weight.
In some cases, the runt of the litter could also develop certain deformities. Its littermates are stronger than the runt and get more food and warmth from their mother.
Seeing this weak small kitten just makes you want to hug it and take good care of it. Except for the different looks, the runt of the litter is also special in some other things.
According to some opinions, the runt is often the smartest kitten in the litter. Since the runt can even face mother rejection, they need to do harder than others, which often leads to them being more affectionate and attached to humans.
This little kitten is something truly special, but there are both pros and cons of taking care of it.
Let’s find out more about the runt of the litter pros and cons issue.
Runt Of The Litter Pros And Cons Overview
Runt Of The Litter Pros
Every cat deserves adequate care and attention. A runt kitten even more, since it often faces a mother’s rejection and not getting the same amount of care as its other littermates.
Although it’s born like a least fortunate one, there are certain advantages of owning a runt of the litter kitten.
Let’s look at the three main ones that may help you get rid of doubts when thinking of adopting a runt kitten.
1. Small Size
You could observe this one as a disadvantage at first glance, however, the small size can be something that will attract many people to a certain kitten.
Most people have a soft spot for small babies, puppies, and kittens. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see an exceptionally small kitten I simply melt!
The runt is the smallest and also the cutest among its littermates. Having a smaller kitten has advantages related to your household, too. Larger cats require more space and are usually more demanding regarding activities.
A cat tree designed for a large cat could occupy half of your living room, while a runt would be content with something much smaller.
I’ve encountered many people exclusively looking for smaller cats to share their homes with. Therefore, a runt may be just the size of a cat that will fit you the best.
Just look at this video of the absolutely adorable runt kitten.
@persiansparadise The runt of the litter is often a baby that is weaker/smaller than the rest. I didn’t realize how bad it could be until this specific litter. She would not move, or be cleaned, and was left alone. She went to a wonderful home now and became one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever met. The transformation definitely shocked us #breeder #tips #kitten #cat #ontario #petsoftiktok #transformation #runt #baby #share ♬ Somewhere Only We Know – Gustixa
2. Giving Protection And Care To A Helpless Kitten
Having a cat isn’t just about sharing fun moments with it or showing your friends how adorable your furry ball is.
It’s also a serious commitment which, if everything goes alright, may last up to 12 years or even more.
Offering a home to any cat is wonderful and generous. Moreover, giving protection and care to a runt kitten will bring you an exceptional feeling.
It’s true that a runt will likely need more assistance and care than an average kitten. However, it will all be worth it once you see your little kitten progressing nicely and becoming a stronger cat.
There’s something truly amazing about helping and providing securement, especially to animals who were born in non-ideal conditions.
3. Affectionate Personality
A cat’s personality depends a lot on factors like its breed and socialization level.
However, many people believe that runts are more inclined to display affection and love towards their human companions.
This may have a lot to do with the beginning of their lives. They experienced neglect from their mother and lacked someone to feed them and keep them warm and safe from danger.
Once they find a person who provides them with all of this, a runt is likely to become eternally loyal to it.
Therefore, there’s a high chance that a runt kitten will show you that you’re its human often and generously!
Also, it’s highly possible that a runt kitten will become very talkative and follow its owners around. This is all a potential consequence of being neglected early in their life.
Runt Of The Litter Cons
Taking care of a runt kitten is rewarding and amazing, but, this definitely isn’t for everyone.
There are some significant cons when it comes to adopting a smaller and vulnerable kitten. Let’s look at three of them, too.
A runt kitten is significantly weaker than an average kitten.
Since it is born much smaller than others, it will have a harder time getting to their mother and food. It will also be difficult for it to move properly.
Once a mother spots the weakest of its offspring, it is likely to reject it to have time and space to take care of others.
The survival rate of a newborn kitten is significantly lower without a mother, therefore, a runt kitten needs humans to supersede all the care it lacks.
This can be too much for some people, especially those who don’t have experience with taking care of a young kitten.
Since it’s so weak, a runt kitten will need constant care and supervision even for a couple of weeks, until it becomes less dependent on humans.
2. A Higher Risk Of Early Death
A runt kitten often isn’t able to suck or even get to its mother. Also, it may not be capable of moving, which brings a higher risk of early death.
PetCosset explains that the general rule is that if a runt makes it to six weeks, it’s likely going to survive.
However, this means that this small kitten should be taken care of as soon as possible, even in the second or third week of its life.
3. Health Problems
Unfortunately, runt kittens are typically prone to certain health problems.
First of all, since they have trouble nursing they face a high risk of not thriving. This is likely to result in a weakened immune system, as well as in stunted growth.
Some runt kittens could also deal with congenital abnormalities like limb deformities and heart defects.
A weakened immune system can lead to conditions such as respiratory infection and hypoglycemia, which means that a kitten’s sugar level is too low.
Furthermore, a runt’s underdeveloped digestive system can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and constipation. Also, the smallest kitten in the litter is more vulnerable to parasitic infections.
All these potential problems could result in frequent veterinary visits and a life-long support for a runt kitten.
How To Take Care Of A Runt Kitten?
I believe you understand now that a runt kitten needs adequate care, which is usually more work than with a typical kitten. But, what does this include exactly?
Quality nutrition is the most essential thing with a runt kitten. You need to be sure the kitten is gaining weight, meaning that you’ll need to weigh it regularly. Also, you need to bottle-feed it often.
Koret Shelter Medicine Program suggests the following feeding instructions:
• A kitten should have six to eight feedings a day in the first week
• A runt should eat four to six times a day in their second week. If it isn’t gaining weight, it should have an additional feeding
• Kittens old two to three weeks should have four to five bottle feeding a day
• The period of three to four weeks of age requires bottle feeding three to four times a day
• When old between four to five weeks, a runt should have bottle feeding twice a day while it’s also learning to eat solid foods
• A six to seven weeks old runt kitten should have three meals a day, either canned or dry food
Together with nutrition, it’s also crucial to keep the runt kitten warm, since it isn’t able to regulate its body temperature. Also, you should observe whether its urination and bowel movements are regular.
As the runt kitten grows stronger, pay attention to its socialization needs, ensuring it feels your care and affection.
Finally, it’s essential to watch for any signs of distress or illness in your runt kitten. As soon as you notice any symptoms, you should reach out to a veterinarian.
Do the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to the runt of the litter kitten?
Well, this will ultimately depend on you, your experience, and your readiness to take care of a vulnerable kitten.
It’s wonderful and generous to offer a safe haven to a neglected cat. The runt is also small and adorable and very likely to steal your heart! Moreover, these kittens tend to have the most affectionate personality.
However, it’s necessary to be realistic and acknowledge that a runt kitten is also weak, prone to health problems, and has a higher risk of dying young.
In my opinion, a runt kitten can grow up to be just as amazing a cat and pet as any other. However, this doesn’t come without sacrifice, a lot of work, monitoring, and dedication.
Now, what’s your opinion on this? Would you consider adopting a runt kitten? Hoping to read your answers!