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Too many kittens! Long, sorry...

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
A pregnant stray arrived on our doorstep a few weeks ago. She's a cat the neighbors left when they moved, so everyone's been feeding her. I didn't realize at the time that she was pregnant, but it quickly became obvious. She began to have the kittens in a recycling bin on my porch this morning. My husband is in the hospital and I was home just for a few minutes to check in, so the timing was pretty bad.

They came really quickly. Three were out before she could even cut the cord on the first one. The second one came out of the sac on its way out, but I had to get number three out and get him breathing. It took far too long, though it was probably less than five minutes. I got the cords cut on Two, Three and Four while she was still working on One. Finally, after about fifteen minutes, I took One away and cut it myself. I'm not sure what the problem was, but she just couldn't do it. About fifteen minutes after Four, Five came. She handled Five by herself. I waited about half an hour and things seemed okay. Three, the one I had to revive, is so tiny, but alive. I moved her and the kittens into a bedroom in the house and she settled right in. I went back to the hospital.

I came home a few hours later and peeked in to find her sprawled on the bed, exhausted, and a pile of kittens in the box that looked suspiciously larger than the one I left. I picked one up, only to find it attached to several others. After untangling the ones that would come loose, I was left with three that were tangled, still attached to their placentas. She must have had three more after I left. So she has a total of EIGHT kittens. *sigh*

I wasn't overly concerned about five, but eight? There is a considerable size difference between the largest and smallest, and she is a small cat. I don't know how she'll feed eight. If I supplement from the start, will that reduce the chances of her ever having enough milk for them? Should I just let nature take its course and possibly reduce to the number she can successfully feed? I don't want to lose kittens, but I also don't want to end up with eight kittens to bottle feed. I'm encouraging her to lay down and feed them, but she just wants to clean them over and over. I know she's raised kittens successfully before because the neighbor who left her had a free kittens sign up last year.
post #2 of 28
I would just make sure that all the kittens are doing well, and keep the mama cat fed, watered and warm. If you have one of those food scales, weigh the kittens, and take note of how much each one of them weighs. I would weigh them everyday, and if one isn't gaining as much weight as the other keeps a close eyeone it. And if it still isn't gaining enough weight, then i would supplement with formula. If you dont' have one of those scales, they sell them at wal-mart for pretty cheap.
post #3 of 28
Give the mom some very good quality kitten food. She'll need the extra calories taking care of all of those babies.

Nice work helping out on the delivery!!! I hope things can remain calm for you with everything going on in your life right now.
post #4 of 28
Any get her spayed ASASP. Its evil that the neighbor didnt do it .
post #5 of 28
wow, 8 is a lot of babies, but the momma will probably be ok if you feed her real good food and make sure she's got lots of water at all times. and whatever you do, don't let her outside, she can get pregnant again real quick.

and if it's too much for you, with your husband being in the hospital and all, don't feel bad about letting a rescue find her a foster home.

You've done a really good thing, got pics of the mom and babies?
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Oh, the spay is already planned. I manage an animal shelter, though we don't do small animals for the most part. I've only had to do kittens a couple of times, and never had to help this much. She's making me really nervous because she has yet to let them all nurse for more than a minute or so. They're hungry. I should have been prepared for this, but I really didn't expect her to pick my porch to drop them on. I have a rabbit-size cage I'm going to confine her to with them so she at least has to keep them warm. If she can't do this, maybe I can find a couple of wet nurses somewhere. 'Tis the season.

I have a scale, and I'll weigh them tomorrow. Right now, I don't want to bother her again because she's finally laying with them. How long can they go without nursing? If she doesn't feed them tonite...? I'm really worried about Three. So tiny...

I don't have pictures yet, but I can describe them.

One- White with a grey tabby face and tail, and one grey dot on the ear.
Two, Three and Four- Dark grey tabby w/ varying amounts of white around the neck and chest.
Five- Dark grey/black marbled
Six, Seven and Eight- Two striped tabbies and one faint marble/white. I'm not sure who's who since I didn't see their emergence.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, everyone will get Mexican names. I just hope we get that far. The idiot neighbor also left two males. One was hit by a car, and the other lives in my garage. I can't bring him in because we have four cats of our own, but he is neutered.I assumed she was as well.
post #7 of 28
If mumcat is laying with them, they are most likely nursing. Did you untangle the ones that were tangled? 8 is a large litter but she should be OK, especially if you supplement feed the kittens. What I mean by this is that still leave them for mumcat to raise, but use a syringe or kitten feeding bottle to give the kittens some KMR or a home-made kitten formula (http://www.kitten-rescue.com/what_to_feed.html [I don't like to use quite that much mayonnaise, I use 1 tablespoon]) 3-4 times a day. They will most likely not like it all that much the first few times you try, but they should get the hang of it.

Keep a close eye on the Three and make sure she gets some kitten formula as many as 6 times a day if you can do that. The nipples on the kitten nursing bottles don't come pierced, so you will need to do that. This link explains how: http://www.kitten-rescue.com/feeding_techniques.html .
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you. She's not showing much interest in mothering, unfortunately. I locked her in the cage with them, and this morning when I woke up, she was letting them nurse, but poor Three is cold and dirty. For some reason, she's not taking care of him. I put an small heater in the room, and I guess I'll have to start taking care of him until she decides to. I saw her clean him a few times, so maybe she's not rejecting him so much as he's just too small to compete with the rest and got pushed aside. I guess I'll go get some kitten formula and start feeding.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Okay, well, she's feeding seven of them. Little number Three just keeps getting pushed aside, so I started feeding him. I have the whole crew on a heating pad now just in case more of them get pushed away. I have her confined with them in a cage that's big enough for her and the litter pan, food and water, plus just enough room for her to lay down and stretch. That way, she has no choice but to let them feed. It seems to be working. Once there's a bit more of a bond, I'll let her out. She just doesn't seem to think these little parasites are her responsibility. She's mothering them as little as she can get by with.

The good news is that Three ate and pooped for me. I'm keeping him with her in hopes that once he's stronger, she'll take over. The rest all look heathy and clean. I still can't believe she had eight. I'd probably want to run away, too.
post #10 of 28
Oh thank goodness she chose your porch to have the babies on, otherwise who knows what would have happened! Your neighbor does sound like an idiot and a jerk.
Thank you for taking care of her and her family. Maybe she's just exhausted from having so many and her instincts will kick in soon. What a bad time for you though with your husband in the hospital. I hope you have a good support system because you need to take care of yourself too!!

Best of luck!

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
I came home from the hospital and found Mama feeding all of them...except Three who was completely by himself, off the heating pad and cold. I really want to believe she's not doing this on purpose. I tried to feed him, but he barely sucks. I fed another to compare, and the other suckles fine. This little guy is just not strong enough or isn't getting it. I just don't know. I hope I got enough in him. I really don't think he's going to make it. I know it's not unusual to lose one or more in a large litter, but I wish I could do more for him.
post #12 of 28
Katie, it's OK. Mumcat is pushing him aside because she senses something is wrong with him. If he continues to go downhill, you can let nature take it's course or you can have him euthanised at a vet if he is starving or constantly becoming hypothermic.

If you're willing, you can try to completely hand-raise him. He will need to be in a box on his own with something to keep him warm like a hot water bottle or even a soda bottle filled with hot water and wrapped in a thin towel. You can also take a long sock, fill it with uncooked white rice, tie a knot in the top or stitch it closed. Place the sock in the microwave and heat for 1-2 minutes. Place the sock next to Three so he can snuggle up and get warm.

Also visit www.kitten-rescue.com to find out all about hand-raising a kitten.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Three died last night. My son brought me a kitten he found on his bed, and at first I thought it was Three, so I kept him warm until morning...but by first light, it wasn't Three. I found Three dead in the kitten pile. I guess maybe she was right that there was something wrong with him. He finally fed well (by bottle) last night before bed, and I really thought he might have a chance.

I put the other kitten back. I think she was trying to move them and just didn't finish. She's not happy that I've been locking her in, and she tried to move them once yesterday. Since I know she's been nursing them, I'm going to shut her in the room with them today, but let her come and go from the cage. Maybe she'll stop trying to move them. There's no other safe place in the house since we have others cats and dogs.

Rest in peace, Little Three.
post #14 of 28
Thank you for doing all you could for Three.

Shutting mumcat in one room with the kittens is a really good idea. She can stretch her legs a bit but still has a connection to and is within earshot of the kittens. Make sure the window in that room is secure and if you are leaving the window open for fresh air, make sure the fly screen is very secure. Cats have been known to bust through them.
post #15 of 28
i understand what you are going thru, same thing happened to me,
mine had 7 kits, and 2 died.
She is going to want to move them a lot, but please keep her in a room, Allie found somewhere to put hers, and to get to it, she had to jump up and drop them in, and luckily i heard her, because she had drop 2 of them down and couldnt get them.. mothers are hard to figure out sometimes.
post #16 of 28
RIP little one. You did everything you could and you gave him love that he wouldn't have had other wise.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
We lost another one. I'm really surprised because it was the first born largest kitten that appeared fine this morning. It was also, IMO, one of the prettiest, the white one with the grey mask. I don't know if Mama pushed her away or if she crawled away, but I found her under a towel on the far side on the box from the heat. The first one is the one she had such a hard time with, trying to bite the cord for so long that the next three were ignored. I wonder if the problem is that the litter is so large and the kittens so small, or if something else is wrong.

I guess the good news is that I feel more confident that she can raise six than eight, and she seems to want to care for them now. There's one more I'm concerned about, the one she left on my son's bed last night. I still don't know if that was purposeful or just an incomplete move.
post #18 of 28
I would suggest you start weighing the kittens everyday if you aren't already. You might also want to supplement feed anyways just in case mom isn't producing enough milk for everyone. I've heard that not all their teats will have milk.
Sometimes these things just happen though. The first couple of weeks I had Smeagol, I expected to wake up and find him passed away.
I hope the rest continue to do well and mom finds herself less overwhelmed.

Take care!

post #19 of 28
oh poor momma cat. She sounds very confused by the whole thing.

Im sorry you have had to loose those 2 kittens.

I hope she settles soon and the remaining kittens all stay healthy.

Emma x x
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
This morning, she'd moved three onto the bed and was feeding them, and three were still in the box, but everyone is warm and apparently healthy. One and Three were the ones I'd worried about since the first day, so I shouldn't be surprised that we lost them, I guess. I am weighing them, but my scale has a margin of error of a few grams. That is pretty significant when you're talking about 80-90 grams total. Everyone appears to be gaining a few grams a day, though.

While not a potential Mother of the Year nominee, she is taking care of them voluntarily now.
post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 
We still have six! I'm finally relaxing enough to get a good look at them (other than weights and health), and geez, they are cute! All little tabbies, two marbeled, and right now, they are really high contrast, black blacks and white whites. I'll get some pictures tonite.

Now I just have to start conning my friends and aquaintances into taking them.
post #22 of 28
Thanks for the updates.
post #23 of 28
Oh I'm so pleased momma has settled and the rest of the babies seem to be doing ok.

Good luck!!

Can't wait to see pics and hear futher updates.

Emma x x
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
She keeps scattering them randomly around the room. I'll hear one crying loudly and go in, and she's tucked one under the dresser, or on the bed, under the desk, and once, in a toy bus. It's starting to be amusing, but I have to check really often to make sure no one is forgotten. All the babes are gaining weight and have round little tummies.
post #25 of 28
Thats wonderful that everyone is doing okay right now! I am sorry for your loss of the two kittens, but maybe it was for the better. Especially since she new that they wern't strong enough to make it. I hope you continure to have good luck from now on!
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
So far, so good...

A couple are definitely pulling away from the others in weight gain, but everyone is doing well. Mama is comfortable around our older kitten and let him come in and see the babies. He's six months old and bigger than Mama. Anyway, he started helping her clean them and was a good babysitter for a couple of days. Today, I caught him trying to move one. I don't know where he was going or why, but he's been banned from the kitten room.
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
I've been busy, but I wanted to update...

Mama is successfully raising the remaining six kittens. One is smaller than the rest, but he's hanging in there. Every so often, I grab the three largest for some socializing while the three smallest nurse.

Their eyes started to open three-four days ago, but not without some trouble. (I swear, none of the litters I've helped with have had this many issues...I don't want to do this again...but I will, because I'm a sucker...) One opened both eyes for a day, then they sealed shut again. A day later, another did the same thing. I started medicating them, and the next day two more did the same thing in only one eye. After two days of meds and cleaning, all of them have stopped crusting shut and they're looking less inflamed. I'm medicating everyone, just to be safe.

I haven't formally sexed everyone yet, but just from a random sampling, I think I have an abundance of boys. Yay, boys. Cheaper to neuter.

Our own older kitten is still kitnapping them from time to time. Mama lets him as long as he doesn't leave the room. We only leave their room open when we're nearby, so Mama can have a break, so he's well supervised. He goes in, grabs a kitten, takes it a few feet from the box and lays down with it. He cleans its bottom, face, tummy...and then just lays with it. They, of course, look for a nipple. He was neutered today, and when he came home, the first thing he did was check on 'his' kittens. Sometimes, he'll just lay in the box with all of them. It'd be an adorable little family picture if he were older than six months. I've been calling Mama 'Mrs. Robinson.'
post #28 of 28
How wonderful that the little family is doing well!! It made me chuckle to hear you describe your little stay-at-home-surrogate-daddy. What a sweet story!
Any pictures?

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