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Help! Nursing cat is weak, shaky, has sore nipples!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone!

I desperately need your help! Our cat mom's nipples are red (they all look like a hickey), she moves slow and a bit weird, seems really weak and her legs shake... :(
I'm not sure what's useful info so I'll write about her in general... She had her very first litter about 3-4 weeks ago (I'm sorry but I can't be sure, but I think it's 3 weeks), 3 kittens were born (labor was long but all went ok). 
The mom is really protective of the kittens, she lets us pet her and them, but we have an other litter of bigger kitties in the garden and other two grown up cats, so I guess she's anxious because even though we don't let any cat in the bathroom where her litter is, the place is basically overcrowded...
She didn't really leave her kittens in the past few days, so I guess she might have been overnursing them, but I'm very concerned because she had diarrhea (we found that on the bathwroom floor), otherwise I don't know if she used the litter since then. She won't eat. I got her to drink lactose-free milk, added a bit milk powder for kittens in it and she drank quite a lot. Now she's resting, it didn't seem to be a good idea letting her back to the kittens...
Help!! What do I do? I'm so concerned :( Thanks in advance! Ella
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

We took her to the vet (it was really lucky since he wasn't in today but we called him and he let us take her anyway), turns out she has fever, and possibly mastitis, also she has diarhea. recieved antibiotics and now we're waiting...


Also, the vet said that nursing can help her mastitis, like with humans...


Do you have any tips to get her nursing the kittens? Thank you!



post #3 of 16
Glad you were able to get her to the vet's. She's probably really stressed by a) having babies and b) all the activity. Even tho they don't have access to her, she's aware of them and it is most likely making her nervous. Feed her wet kitten food (she needs the extra nutrients). Watch the babies closely (you can weigh each if them every day to make sure they are gaining weight). If they aren't, you may need to supplement feed them. Kitten milk is available at Walmart or Petsmart.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your help! The doc said she shouldn't eat meat because maybe there's a bacterial reason to her indigestion. He told us to give her lactose-free milk and add kitten milk powder, so that's lucky because that's exactly what I did.

Definitely will watch the kittens. I'm concerned that they might be cold, but they are lying on each other, warming each other so as long as things don't stabilize I think we won't bug them. If the mom won't nurse them we'll start feeding them kitten milk, but I hope we won't have to... We had a litter before (you can see we have kittens quite often... :) ) that was abandoned and it was so terrible...

Anyway thank you for your comment and I'll update when hopefully things are going better.

post #5 of 16

I'm going to ask that this thread be moved over to the Pregnant Cats and Kitten Care forum, as I think if you need any further assistance with either the Mom OR the kittens, they can provide more expert advise

post #6 of 16

I'm not sure that feeding the mother cat with just milk and kitten milk will be adequate nutrition for a post-partum nursing mom cat.


Simple food for a cat with upset stomach / diarrhea is chicken breast simmered in plain water. Let it cool in the water, cut the meat into small pieces and offer it together with the broth. Also, cook plain white rice in water, and add a spoonful of the rice to the minced chicken and broth.


The chicken is easy to digest, the broth is extra fluids, and the plain cooked rice will help with the diarrhea.


So good and kind of you to be helping this little cat family.

post #7 of 16
She needs good solid food, not just milk, or she won't have the strength to recover. If you're worried about bacteria in raw meat, you can cook it for her, or feed her tinned cat food.

It would be kindest to have her spayed (de-sexed or whatever it's called where you live) so she doesn't have to go through this again.
post #8 of 16

You had got some tips. If you want to give milk, do you have access to goat milk? You live in Hungary, I hope it is quite easier than in Sweden where I live.  Goat milk is better then lactosefree milk.

Goat milk is good for cats. Many rescuers use it. Raw or bottled.  You can increase the fat content by melting in some butter.  Or Plain youghurt, with butter in...

If salomonella in eggs is not a problem at your place, so raw egg yolk (egg yellow) is very good.  Blend it with this goat milk...    But if you must boil the eggs, boiled egg yolk is surely also OK.


Good luck!

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone!


You must be right, milk is not enough, she looks terrible. I don't know what to do, I fed her grits cooked with milk and camomile tea, added kitten milk powder too for a bit of nutrition... she won't eat on her own and keeps breastfeeding the kittens, who are _constantly_ hungry and won't stop eating and meowing. I tried removing them from the litter (I know it's risky but it simply couldn't go on like that) and the mom could rest a bit, but they were so loud that after a while she started looking for them. She's obviously in pain when nursing but won't stop...


I'll try the chicken and rice, but I'm sceptical, she won't even drink enough water, I doubt that she would eat anything solid. Also thank you for the goatmilk tip, that is a good idea, I think I can buy some.


I can't personally take her to the vet right now, because it's far and my mom has the car and she's working, and I'm so panicked, I don't know what to do... I'm petting her and I'm with her but I feel so useless...

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

I found some kind of 'power milk' in the house, it's called Isosource, here's a link to the nutritional values. It's a cowmilkprotein based drink with very high nutritional value, vitamins and minderals. Do you think it's suitable for cats? I know my brother has to drink this for his health problems, I didn't dare giving it to Hedwig, but I can try, theoretically it shouldn't have any non-cat ingrdedients..

post #11 of 16
DO NOT feed her the power milk!!! It is cow-based and most cats are lactose intolerant. It is also formulated for humans, so there are mostly likely be things in there not good for cats, like you thought.

Buy some kitten formula or goat's milk. Like Willowy said, soft kitten wet foot is great. You can add the goat's milk or formula to it to soften it some more. Thank you for helping her.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
yeah, that's what I thought too...

I gave her a bit of turkey cooked in water and she ate it with appetite! I have a bit of remorse because the vet said no meat, but what you guys said made sence and she was so weak... Now she looks a tiny bit better. fingers crossed, and thank you for the help, everyone!
post #13 of 16

Next question, if she is so weak and undernourished, I suppose the kittens dont get enough, however heroic mom she is.

Are you giving some extra to the kittens?  I suspect strongly you should.

The easiest way to know if they get enough is to weigh them every day.  If they get 10+ grammes a day, it is OK.


Goat milk is good for kittens too.  And possibly also for your bro. Quite a few humans who dont manage common cow milk, does manage nicely goat milk.   :)    Goat milk has also excellent nourishment values.

Ask your doc of course before you experiment with your bro.


About this power milk. It may perhaps be useful if enough desperate, I dont know, but why experiment if you can get hold on goat milk.


Add raw egg yolk in, if you dont have problems with salomonella in eggs in your country.

But dont raw egg white, there is some enzyme which is not good for cats.  Boiled egg white is ok, but not raw.




Good luck!

post #14 of 16
Good about the turkey. If there is a bacterial problem with her eating meat, she may need some pro-biotics to get her system balanced. Meat is a cat's natural food, so I am puzzled by that. If the meat itself was contaminated, then canned food should be OK. Ask the vet specifically, though. He has some info that we apparently don't. smile.gif
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm weighing the kits as you suggested, they keep growing, at least for now that's a good sign.
my brother has a bit more difficult problems, but yeah, he's lactose intollerant and goatmilk works for him smile.gif we have goat milk quite often so I could give Hedwig some, too. I'm trying to be optimistic, she's eating tiny doses but finally she's eating.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Sorry for not updating, it was a long run, but Hedwig and the kittens are fine!

After a few days it finally became obvious that she had mastitis with a side of bacterial diarrhea. She was given more steroids and antibiotics, and, what probably did the most for her, an appetite-enhancing gel (this sounds weird in English, I'm sorry, I have no idea how it should be translated :). Also we had to put ointment on her scar, but finally I can honestly say that she is in a great fit, eating, getting enough rest and being her cute happy self :)


Thank you so much for your quick help and responses, I think the goatmilk really made a difference before we even knew what to do really. Thank you again, you're a wonderful community <3


Best wishes,


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