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11 week kittens suddenly die...

post #1 of 5
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My mother and I have turned our garage into a stray shelter and have been taking care of strays and their kittens for years. Just this year our focus grew strictly on kittens, and we have been housing 3 different litters. One litter was just arrived, 6 kittens, all healthy, around 3 weeks. Another litter we have been taking care of for a week now, 2 kittens, 11 weeks old. The third litter we have had since birth, origionally 4 kittens, one of them had to be put to sleep earlier due to not being able to poop. It was a birth deformation and anal cavity was abnormally tiny. The other 3 kittens were just fine, pooping and eating normaly, until yesterday we found one dead. Just 5 hours earlier the kitten was fine, playing and purring normally, along with the other 2. The other kittens in that litter also seemed very sluggish, and one was spitting up. They are in a pen and dont have acess to anything that would harm them. We work together with another woman who was responsible for feeding them the morning before death and she had given all the kittens some wet food, which they ussually dont get. However only this one batch of kittens seem affected. Now another one has died this morning, and the last kitten appears to be on its way out also. I dont think the spit-up is really considered a symtom, and I dont see how the special soft food killed them in any way since all the other kittens are acting normal. There may have been a slight decrease in eating before their death, and the kitten seemed very weak, but this all happened in a matter of hours. These kittens just died out of nowhere, and now im worried it may be a disease that has possibly spread to all the other kittens kept in our shelter, maybe even to our indoor family cats. I'm just so shocked how these kittens started dying out of nowhere at 11 weeks!

I'm a crying mess thinking this will just continue to happen to the rest of our kittens and cats! We have been taking care of kittens and cats for years, and nothing like this has ever happened. What could it be?
post #2 of 5
When you take in strays you know NOTHING of the medical history of the mom/dad, so IMO the kittens are lucky to survive. There could be many reasons why they died - probably not the food, but something genetically wrong.

I would guess it could have been heart failure. I know kittens born with heart defects or cardiomyopathy can die at a young age. I'm sorry for your loss - hope the other kittens will be ok.
post #3 of 5
Could it maybe be panleukopenia? I don't know much about it, but I do know that it is a form of parvovirus, and parvo in puppies can kill them very very quickly (like overnight). They lose their appetite, have diarrhea and vomiting.
I don't know what the symptoms are for cats though.
post #4 of 5
My first thought was Feline Distemper or Panleukopenia. I suggest you take all of them to the vet, or at the very least, the littermate of the dead ones.
post #5 of 5
I am so sorry about your loss, what a horrible thing to go through. I have no clue as to why that happened (since I'm a brand new kittie owner) but if I were in your situation I would DEFINITELY take all of the cats to the vet. I'm sure that your vet would work out some type of deal so that you are not charged with an office visit for each animal.

Again, I am sorry for what you've been though & you are in my prayers.
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