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Newborn Kittens - Mother is not able to feed them....

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Our cat just had kittens on the night of the 5th.

4 were born, but one did not make it right off the bat (momma cat was on the move trying to find a place to have them and I guess one came early - she must not have tended to it....anyway...not the point)....

Unfortunately today, barely two days later, it took the passing of another kitten for me to realize that I *think* the mother is not able to nurse them. I grew up most of my life with cats and kittens, so I'm pretty familiar with their actions and how things should and should not go. I've never had a cat that could not care for them.

The mother IS good and always stays with them, etc, but I'm not sure what the deal is, but as I studied very closely, the kitten are trying to nurse, but the mother doesn't have much of a nipple for them to grab onto - and I cannot hear them drinking or even sucking really. With the passing of the kitten earlier today I realized I better run down to Petco and grab some milk and a bottle, as the remaining 2 seemed to be getting weaker and more quiet.

Luckily I was able to feed them (which was tough as they weren't too happy about it), and they seem to be stronger (meowing more and moving around a bit more). I waited about 1.5 hrs and fed them some more.

Other than what the instructions say on the can of KMR, I really have no idea what I should or should not do to help them survive.

I'd just like to hear some advice or tips maybe not listed on the can's instructions, if you have any.
post #2 of 13
Welcome to TCS...given that mom isn't feeding these kittens, I would treat them as if they are orphaned. There is a really good site that you can go to:

http://www.kitten-rescue.com

Good information based on the age of the kittens as well as instructions on feeding etc.

Just a side note...not sure where your mom cat is...but given her issue with feeding her kittens, I would make sure she is kept indoors only so she doesn't become pregnant again and take her into the vet as soon as her milk dries up.

Katie
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Great - thank you for the information. Growing up, I've probably witnessed dozens of litters of kittens, but NEVER once have I ever experienced a mother cat that physically could not nurse her kittens. This really threw me off.

The mother is still here and with them every second, but like I said I don't think she is neither producing milk, or something else is physically wrong as the kittens do not seem able to nurse.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat109
Great - thank you for the information. Growing up, I've probably witnessed dozens of litters of kittens, but NEVER once have I ever experienced a mother cat that physically could not nurse her kittens. This really threw me off.

The mother is still here and with them every second, but like I said I don't think she is neither producing milk, or something else is physically wrong as the kittens do not seem able to nurse.
It's good she is with them...but as long as they are unable to nurse from her....it is a good idea to keep at least 2 doors between her and the outside until she is fixed.

Katie
post #5 of 13
Feed the kitten on the tummy not on the back like a baby...
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
I thought she could only get pregnant again when "in heat" ??

Another thing to add to this confusing deal: I believe she only carried the kittens for 9 weeks, accordingly to our rough calculations. Isn't their term supposed to be 12 weeks? So would this possible 3 week prematurity have something to do with all this?

Physically the kittens look of normal size though, so I'm not sure this is correct.
post #7 of 13
9-10 weeks is normal.. Cats can get pregnant when a male touches them.. Induced ovulator Dont have to be in heat..
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok yet another question:

After doing some reading, and from the above post, I see kittens should be fed on their tummy with their head propped up slightly. Once the kitten feels the nipple of the bottle he/she *should* latch right on and start drinking the KMR.

My kittens do not do this - I put the bottle on their mouths and they don't react in much of any way. What I was doing was getting the rim of their mouths slightly wet with the milk, basically force feeding them (not in a cruel way of course).

But I really thought they would latch right on and start drinking. The bottle is right from a pet store, with the nipple small enough for them to bite, but to no avail.

So just keep the same method I'm practicing? Or is there a specific bottle out there that I need to get right away?
post #9 of 13
Few things:
1. they could be a bit too weak to nurse or confused, you can use an eye dropper or syringe to feed them if they won't suck
2. The first nipple I got my lil' guy didn't do so hot with- it wasn't very long and was somehwat wide- it was advertised a kitten nipple- came with the KMR. I tried him on a longer thinner nipple and noticed an IMMEDIATE improvement in his nursing.
3. I also had to put some in his mouth and squeeze the bottle to make sure enough was flowing for him to keep at it- is the hole in the nipple big enough for them to have sucess without working too hard?

Best of luck, you are doing a good thing.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
First off I greatly appreciate the quick answers.

The bottle kit I bought has a bunch of different nipples - the first one I tried wasn't very long....maybe a bit too wide, but seemed like it would work. Nope.

So I tried a longer, more narrow one, and with this one I had to not just cut and "x" in the tip, but chop the end off to open it up. It does not pour out at all, I still have to squeeze the bottle, but they should be able to suck from it, but are not.

I will just keep doing what I'm doing. They DID improve almost immediately at the first feeding. I can't believe they made it this far if they have indeed not been able to nurse from the mother.

Can't say the mother isn't trying though - she is with them right now laying down to nurse them - but the nurser isn't nursing - it looks as though her nipples don't have anything protruding for them to grab onto.
post #11 of 13
I would call a vet or take her in to see a vet she could have an infection in her mammary glands that is keeping her from producing milk.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ah, ok - thank you.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat109
I thought she could only get pregnant again when "in heat" ??

Another thing to add to this confusing deal: I believe she only carried the kittens for 9 weeks, accordingly to our rough calculations. Isn't their term supposed to be 12 weeks? So would this possible 3 week prematurity have something to do with all this?

Physically the kittens look of normal size though, so I'm not sure this is correct.
You know...I also thought cats could only get pregnant while in heat..but I have learned a LOT from this site and one thing I learned is that cats don't need to be in heat to get pregnant again. Thus, I always recommend at least 2 doors between mom and the outdoors....at least until she is spayed.

Katie
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