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My ragdoll kitten is now 5 months old and it has developed a somewhat stout body. The healthy cat body figures I've found are showing an adult cat. By these figures my kitten is overweight, but as it is still a kitten I've not paid much attention - until recently.

This ragdoll kitten is one of six. In my mind I see him fighting for food when he was still living with his littermates. We received him at the age of 13 weeks. Now, I'm comparing this ragdoll to our two years old Maine coon, whom we received when she was 15 weeks old. The Maine coon was, and still is, quite a lean bodied kitten/cat. As far as I know she is one of three littermates and therefore would not have needed to fight for food.

Is it possible that the number of littermates has an effect on the kitten's appetite later in life? We have dry food on constant offer for our cats, and we serve wet food without a firm schedule two or three times a day. The "largelitter" ragdoll attacks wet food like he was starving to death, while the "small-litter" Maine coon stays away and goes to eat only after all our other cats have left the vicinity of food plate(s).

So, is this just coincidental to these kitten and cat that we have, or is it generally true? Additionally, should I pay attention to this when shaping our feeding policy and habits?

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I do not know that the number of littermates is as important as the amount of mother's milk available to them as kittens. If the kittens did not have to fight to get an ample amount, then they are less likely to display this behavior as mature cats. However, a large litter is much more likely to suffer from the inability of the mother to produce as much milk. It also happens with smaller litters.

There are replacement milk products available that can be used to supply the kittens with enough food should the mother not produce an adequate amount. These products are available at farm supply stores in the US as well as though veterinary offices and pet supply stores. My experience is that the kittens respond well to this feeding and as long as it is detected early do not usually develop this behavior.

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  • One of my cats had four kittens. I can only imagine the rush and stumbling if there was six kittens, as four was plenty already. – Esa Paulasto Dec 23 '13 at 0:08

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