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Mother in labor, refuses to care for kittens!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello! I'm Breella. I've midwifed a few litters in my short time, and have had many more recently since joining a local rescue/foster group.

I currently have a mom who was taken in off the street. She has already pushed out two beautiful kittens. However when I discovered her under my bed it was the cry of the kitten that alerted me, not her. I discovered her laying on the cold cement floor under my bed, I had lay a sheet under there the night before figuring it was going to be her spot but she pushed it up.

Well I found the kitten laying on the cold cement, still soaking wet placenta still attached. I have had to cut placentas for moms who have had trouble labors before but this was the first kitten-- and it isn't getting any better. I preceded to remove the kitten when the mother saw the placenta, and finally started to eat it. I was hoping that would be the end of the trouble there but after eating the placenta she did not move to clean the kitten, she turned and started pushing out a second. I did not know how long the wet cold kitten was there so I removed it to begin drying and warming.

As we speak kitten one and two are upstairs, my mother in law is trying to pair them with some of the other lactating moms we have.

My question is this... what would cause such a loving mom to turn her back on not one, but two kittens? I have never had a mother cat who had such apparent disdain about her own kittens. Should I plan on needing to pair up the others with other mothers?
post #2 of 21
Is it her first litter? Two of my ferals had the first (and only) litter last year, one girl took to it just fine. The other had no idea what to do and ended up leaving her only living kitten with the other mother.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
We have no idea. She was trapped down in the less savory part of town. My guess is she was abandoned because she wasn't a typical feral. Day one out of the cage she laid flat on her back and let me rub her somach so I'm pretty sure that she was abandoned.

She's a pretty large cat, I'm betting on at least 5 kittens. My mother in law just came down, one of our other foster mommies has decided to let them suckle on her which is amazing. kitten number three just came out.
post #4 of 21
You are one of many people I admire for working with rescues and especially with the pregnant and nursing moms who are there. Way to go!

The kittens need their mom's colustrum, which comes in first before milk so hopefully when she's done birthing she'll relax a bit and let her babies nurse. Sometimes, new moms haven't got a clue what to do and need to be shown and they need our patience to help them. If nothing else, KMR will help the kittens along, bottle feeding them every 2 hours.

I hope she comes around after the birth is over Good vibes being sent!
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
her nipples are hard, and when I rub and pinch them nothing comes out. I hate to say it but its as if she doesn't even know they are there. I have to move them infront of her face and show her the placenta to get her to eat it. She has done nothing motherly save eat the placenta. she won't even lick them! Correction, she's licking kitten number four, but not as well as I'd like. the other mothers we have are freaking out at the sound of crying kitten like this.

She also growls at them. It sucks. I've never had a mother yet who hated her own kittens so much, and even more sucky because she is a kind and affectionate cat to me and the rest of the family.
post #6 of 21
She doesn't hate them. It's probably her first litter and she's scared. I wish I knew more to help you but I don't.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Kitten number four is trying hard to get milk but doesn't seem to be having any success. I keep rubbing Ms. Kitty's tummy to try and help stimulate milk production but so far no luck that I can see.

The other foster mom has cleaned up kittens 1-3 and is happily letting them suckle. I hope that Ms. Kitty gets with the game here soon.
post #8 of 21
Do you have any KMR on hand just in case you might need it?
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Not on hand, I have plenty of lactating moms though (four others actually). Our foster "Speciality" if you will is preg moms and raising kittens (and by specialty, I just mean that we LOVE watching kittens grow up, and helping them find forever homes). I do have a farm supply store up the block just incase which I know carried KMR.

Kitten four has found a nipple it really likes and has latched on but I am unsure if it is actually getting any milk, as I said, the nipples appear hard, dry and have flaky skin on them. The rubbing has not produced any milk so far. She's pushing out another one. Hopefully she'll take the placenta on her own this time.
post #10 of 21
Keep us updated!
post #11 of 21
She might have mastitis if there breasts are full but nothing is coming. Keep an eye out for signs of infection. Other than that I dont know what to suggest, was she still in active labour when you were expecting her to clean the kittens? A few of the sites I looked at when researching ready for our litter said that if the kittens came very soon after each other she might not do anything with them. Two of ours I had to put infront of De but she cleaned them straight away after. I also thought she was growling at first but it's more high pitched than her growl and she's doing it all the time (the kittens are 15 days old now).
post #12 of 21
To be honest, I'd just leave her be and let her instincts just kick in. I had a young feral mother give birth yesterday, and she had the last kitten some time before 1pm (which is when I checked them and discovered the kittens).

The first time she seemed to go to them (we had a webcam set up) was about 9pm. Since then she has barely left them, and she's doing it all perfectly fine.

I think sometimes we need to just leave them be, and allow them to do what comes naturally. Too much interference is not necessarily a bad thing.

Oh and when I discovered the kittens, they were laying on their own on the soaked newspaper. I just changed the towels, took the kittens out, put them on a cat bed which I covered with a pillowcase, and put them back in. The mother cat didn't seem to care at all.

I think she was just exhausted - I wonder if they know they have a long road ahead, so just need to take time for themselves and rest before they get to work.

If you have a crate, put her and the kittens in there, and leave them be for the day - just check in occasionally to make sure she has food.
post #13 of 21
If she was still actively laboring she might not have had the energy to take care of the first babies. I would put all of her babies back in with her and watch to see how they do. Put some padding inside a pillowcase and put it in a crate or box. Move the kittens there first, then put the mother in with them. Don't put them with another mother until you're absolutely sure she won't let them nurse or she starts to actually hurt them.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
We're watching contractions for kitten number six right now. All the kittens are back with mom now. Its so cold down in my room that I just couldn't take the chance of them being wet and cold for too long. She wouldn't even cuddle to them.

And six just came out. Who-hoo! Her nipples are gradually looking better, three are still very dry and flaky but I'll keep my eye on them. Five tiger/white and one black and white so far.

Thanks for the moral support guys, sometimes I get so paranoid. We have had some bad luck lately, a still born and a smushed within weeks of each other so I just get a little jumpy when things look bad.
post #15 of 21
Some cats are not cut out for motherhood - its not unsual for this to happen. I had two Cornish Rex (breeding). The mom was a great mother - did everything fine (but would not cut cords, I had to do that part for her). Her daughter was a lovely little calico. I had bred both within a week of each other in case the daughter had problems, I would have an experience mom who would take over nursing.

Well I'm glad I did - calico mom had the 2 kittens fine, cleaned them up and then promptly dumped them into the litter of mom's 4 kittens! She wanted no parts in nursing, etc.

Unfortunately there was something internally wrong with calico's kittens cause after 2 days of taking care of those kittens, the mom pushed them aside and moved them far away - they did not survive.
post #16 of 21
I'm glad they're back there. Just put them in a clean box as GoldenKitty suggested, and leave them be. I guess you have no heater or anything you can put there?

My kittens are in a cage with a flannel sheet and a blanket covering the cage to keep the warmth in - and just a corner exposed to let fresh air in.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
She killed one last night. I'm unsure why-- he looked perfectly healthy to me. Even had polydactyaly! He was also the only poly in the litter. Other than that she has eaten a lot, and her milk is free flowing save one nipple which still won't flow, but I figure maybe the kittens haven't stimulated it enough yet.
post #18 of 21
I would take them away from mom if she killed one, and try to bottle feed
I'm sorry for your loss...
for the rest of them
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
It has been my experience that when they squish kittens its either because of clumsiness or that 6th sense the mothers have about their babies. If it comes to it, like I said I have plenty of other lactating mothers so there is no need to bottle feed.
post #20 of 21
Do you know that she definitely killed it?

If so, and she hasn't harmed any others, I'd agree that he had other problems, and was using her natural instinct.
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yeah, you can't confuse the look of a smush kitten. I had another foster smush a kitten last week. (She's the one with the balding kitten in the litter for those who read that post I made, so I think they're all just sick)

The kitten Miss Kitty smushed had a distended stomach, so did the one Cinnamon smushed last week. I'm going to ask the rescue I work with if a necropsy would be in the budget since I have so many kittens at my house.
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