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Does moving a newborn litter hurt them?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
This is unfortunately regarding the same litter mentioned in the cow's milk thread and sadly they are all gone now. My cousin is blaming her teenage daughter, because they were born in her closet and she insisted they be moved. She could not be convinced to let them stay, and so the mother my cousin took them out and tried to keep them in a box in her room but the mother cat wouldn't accept it. She kept trying desperately to get back in the girl's closet but she had locked her room door. The mother cat finally moved them underneath the stove but the incident I mentioned was the beginning of a terrible tragedy. One by one all the kittens began to cry and crawl away, no matter how many times they were put back they did it again, and weakened to where they could not suck. Two of the kittens passed away. She (cousin) She tried bottle feeding them formula and pedialyte and moved them to a dresser drawer using the same clothes the mother had birthed on in the closet, thinking it would help, but the other three died too. Now the mother cat still lies beside them and won't leave the bodies and nobody wants to take them away from her until she gives up. I just cried and cried hearing this story.

There's nothing anyone can do for the poor babies now but hope they're at the bridge, but all I'm asking now is, do you think this was caused by them being moved at only a day old and should the teen daughter be made to feel bad about it?
post #2 of 13
The daughter should not be made to feel bad or guilty about it - that's number one!

Was it the mother or the daughter that wanted the kittens out of the closet? I would have left them in the closet a little longer and then moved everyone out to a cage or another room and kept all the cats in there.

That's why I had all my litters in cages with mom being ok with things. Everyone was safe, the kittens contained and no problems.

I'm sorry all the babies are gone, but hopefully mom will be spayed and you won't have to worry about this situation again.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
It was the daughter, the mother was very much against it. She is still devastated, and the mother cat is still in denial. I doubt she's going to spay her now until she has a live litter because she's so sad. They live on a farm and planned to keep the litter as the mother cat was a descendant of a pet she'd had as a child. Believe me this is not the time to give the spay/neuter lecture so let's leave that out of it for now please.

Could fleas have been a factor? If they had stayed in the closet they never would have gotten the fleas, likely carried into the kitchen by the farm dog.
post #4 of 13
If none of the pets are being treated for fleas, there were probably fleas in the house anyway. Unless the kittens were loaded down with fleas that was not the problem.

Next time they should confine the mother cat 2 weeks before delivery in a safe place - large dog kennel or crate.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Do you think the moving caused the mother cat to get upset and that's what made them die?
post #6 of 13
Not really. There could have been something internally wrong with the kittens. If there was inbreeding involved (like brother/sister mating) - that was probably the cause. It could be a number of things. Just have them confine the cat the next time.
post #7 of 13
As much as I respect GoldenKitty45's knowledge about cats, I humbly disagree with her that moving the newborns could not have played a part in their demise.

Momma-kitties (accurately referred to as "queens") pick their nesting places carefully to ensure a warm, safe, comfortable site for their new families. While we try to steer them towards a more convenient place ~for us~, the fact is that if we force the issue, they can become highly stressed and the milk production may be compromised, they may reject the kittens totally or in severe cases, they may even kill their own kittens - as a sort of way of protecting them from whatever bad things they perceive may happen to them. In this case, I think the queen was stressed enough to reject her babies and that's why they died.

I know it sounds harsh, but personally, while I sincerely believe that daughter isn't ~directly~ responsible for the kittens dying, I do think she played a major role in it. Someone needs to explain to this young lady in terms that leave nothing up for misinterpretation that sometimes, you don't get your own way, no matter how tall you stand up for it. Parents have a right in their own homes to tell children that it doesn't matter what the kids WANT, it's what is for the best for the entire family that will be decided.

I am horribly sorry these kittens died. It sounds horrible but the truth is that it could have potentially been avoided if the daughter had been pursuaded to understand that the world doesn't always revolve around her and her selfish wants.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I hate to say it too but I don't think my cousin is being harsh on her daughter for nothing. Of course she feels guilty for going along with it and moving them, and it's tearing her up. There was a mostly white one in the litter that was the last to die, and it was the one that looked like the cat she had as a child she wanted the descendant of. She was the smallest, and fought the hardest and was the last to die. It's like she was saying, no, wait, I was supposed to be your kitty forever! It breaks my heart.

The daughter didn't want them in her closet because she was afraid the mother cat might come out and mess with her stuff. While my cousin is, like me, a devoted animal lover, her kids don't want them in their rooms and close their doors to keep them out. The mother cat accidently slipped in. The closet was dark quiet, and cool, unlike most of the rest of the house, and IMO they'd be alive today if they were left there.

She did lecture the girl, and said she cried for hours trying to convince her if she moved them, they'd die, but she refused to have them in her room. Now the girl denying their deaths are her fault, but I think they are, and she doesn't desserve to be spared being told so.

Even if the cat does have another litter someday, and even if one looks just like the ones lost, they will never be the same or replace the precious and unique lives wasted due to one girl's selfishness.
post #9 of 13
I'm going with gayef on this one. Stress on the mother can effect milk production in humans too.
post #10 of 13
Ok lets just agree that is probably was a combination of things that caused the death and not to be picking out just one or two. All of the above could have played a part.

Thing is that there should be several lessons learned from this tragedy and to correct them the next time.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
But the saddest thing is, it's too late for these kitties. The most frustrating thing is, my cousin didn't need to learn, she knew better, and the daughter went against that. Personally I would much rather think it was internal factors, fleas or even FKS. There were fleas, and I just found out the father was a half brother of the mama cat. I do not want to blame the girl, I'd rather think that wasn't it, but if it was, she needs to know it. If it was just an innocent tragedy, it would still be sad but not hurt so much.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by TabbyTail View Post
It was the daughter, the mother was very much against it. She is still devastated, and the mother cat is still in denial.
have your cousin check w/local shelters - they may have an orphaned litter needing a foster mother cat - that way, at least for now, the mother cat will be less depressed. Asmileforonlyyou did this for her cat when her kitten was stillborn, & it worked out extremely well!

insofar as the daughter goes - if she's old enough [i.e., teen, not small child] i'd definitely make her feel like her selfishness played a role - if only to drive home the importance of listening to her elders.

the reason i qualify this, based on age of child is this: younger children have a greater tendency to credit adults with being right simply due to the age difference. a small child can really be wracked w/guilt over something they did that supposedly caused grief or harm to another.

a friend of mine once got her little girl a kitten, which apparently died during the night. the little girl rolled over onto the kitten [most likely after it died] & was just heartbroken, thinking she'd been the cause. my friend asked me to speak w/her daughter, because her kids knew about my cats & my love for & knowledge of the species. i told the little girl the kitten was already dead before she rolled onto it.

now, i didn't know this for a fact... but even if i was incorrect, it would've served no purpose for the little girl to know otherwise. privately, i told her mom that if they replaced the kitten, it would be a good idea not to let it sleep w/the little girl until it was at least 4-5 months old & was very agile.
post #13 of 13
I am in the camp that says the daughter was partly responsible. Perhaps the kittens would have died. But you don't know that because of her selfishness. Teenagers tend to be egocentric and this is a good opportunity for her to learn that selfish actions have a consequence.
The kittens and the mother needed some time to recover from the birth and for her to be able to nurture them.
It is a very thing for your cousin. I have lost a cat that I loved and I know it hurts. For her doubly so because she has sentimental ties to the kittens and Mother.

One thing for the future and Golden Kitty is correct is to confine the mother before birth. Give her time a few weeks ahead of time to acclimate and then nest. Lucia her kittens live in my bathroom. I did not give her freedom to roam because my house is too big and I didn't want her giving birth in a place that was not going to work long term. It would be tragic your poor cousin to experience this again.
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