How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Runt? Here Are 4 Ways To Find

Do you want to know How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Runt?

In this article, I will explain some ways to find if any of your recent born kittens are weak and runt.

Let’s get started:

Usually, most of the animals give birth to multiple offspring at a time or lay several eggs. Cats give birth to 5-7 cats at one time.

The main problem that arises with multiple children is not all of them can survive. Mostly, the last born kitten is the weakest in the lot. She lacks nutrients and may not be able to grow at the same speed as other kittens.

The last born kitten is usually weak and is sometimes unable to develop even after she grows up fully. In worst cases, such kittens do not even survive for long.

They have weak and fragile bones with underdeveloped organs that help them survive only for a few months.

Who are runt cats?

Runt cats are those kittens that are conceived at a later stage and are the last born. They are the weakest kitten of the litter and are usually born with less fur and underdeveloped organs.

Runt cats are usually small in size, underweight, need proper care, nourishment, and pampering either from the mother cat or the pet owner.

Even when runt cats grow up, they are physically not as strong as other cats and suffer from a disability or deformity.

However, this does not make them any less than the other cats. They are friendly, lovable, and can lead an everyday cat life with extra care and caution.  

How to tell if your cat is a runt?

Most of the time, you will not be able to identify a runt cat if she has been separated from her litter. When you see all the kittens together, you will easily locate a runt cat due to her small size, weakness, and less physical activity.

Sometimes, runt cats are unable to suck milk and have to be fed through a bottle and may even suffer from a disability or deformity.(1)

1) Small size


The easiest way to identify a runt cat is due to her small size. Since runt cats are the last born of the litter, they do not receive most nutrients required to grow appropriately.

Out of all the kittens, the runt cat is usually the smallest one and can be easily identified. Runt cats are generally malnourished and may have difficulty in opening their eyes.

2) Weakness-

Another way through which you can identify a runt cat is to spot the weakest kitten out of the litter. Runt cats show visible signs of weakness and are sometimes unable to move during the initial days.

While the other kittens must be freely moving around, runt cats may sit quietly in one corner or have difficulty moving.

3) Disability or deformity-

Some of the runt cats may also suffer from disability or deformity. For example, crooked legs, fewer paws, deformity in the eyes, or any other underdeveloped organ.

They might not be able to run or walk properly and might limp if they do not receive proper care and nutrition.

4) Inability to have food or suck milk-

Another way through which you can identify whether your cat is a runt or not is to observe if she is facing difficulty while having food or sucking milk.

If the kitten is facing difficulties, she might be a runt cat. Sucking milk from the mother cat’s nipple requires physical activity.

While most kittens can suck milk with ease, runt cats may not be able to do it naturally and will need extra help.

The mother cat usually helps the runt cat in sucking milk, but in most cases, mother cats abandon the runt if they realize that there is a low chance of survival.

Pet owners who rescue or adopt runt cats will have to feed them artificially through a milk bottle or a spoon.


A runt cat is the smallest and the weakest cat in the litter and may suffer from malnourishment or specific disabilities.

They are usually small and weak and can be easily recognized. However, they aren’t any less than the other cats.

Runt cats who face difficulties during their initial months may even grow up to be completely fit and nourished if provided proper care and most pet parents are unable to distinguish whether their pet was a runt or not.


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