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Kittens Nursing at 10weeks?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello!

I have 4 kittens and a mom cat, and the kittens are eating wet and dry food normally, but tend to still suckle with the mom really late at night or early (5-6am) in the morning. I am not sure they are getting anything out of it, but the mom will call the babies to her and it seems more like a family or comfort thing. I have seen her kick them away or she will move away if they try to nurse when she isn't interested, and like I said they eat a lot of normal food so its not for food nourishment they are doing this.

They just got all their shots and a visit to the vet, and we were told to seperate the mom and the babies for a week or so night and day so her milk will dry up and for some socialization issues.

However, I just don't 100% agree exactly. We did seperate the mom and babies for 2 days and they ALL acted like they were being punished and when they were reunited, they started hiding under the couch and chair which they never did before..... It was actually an anti-human social experience for them, or so it seems to my paranoid heart that is sensitive to them :-)

I guess I was just curious to see what a larger group of folks like yourselves think about the mom doing more comfort nursing, and making the decision for herself when and how she will let the kittens come to her, and if human interferance is really necessary?

The kittens were a little anti-social at the vets office - but taking into consideration it was their first time out of the house and in a car and at a vets office and being handled by a lot of strangers....they weren't too bad (even fell asleep 1/2 into the visit). The vet nurse/tech said that it wasn't really normal for kittens to not want to be held or to be afraid like they were.......and I took that to heart without any other knowledge or experience in this kind of situation.

I guess I am weaving in another concern with this thread - about their socialization - but I am freaking out thinking I didn't do a good job raising them . I will figure out my next question in the meantime! :-) I have concerns about how to catch some socialization stuff into the next few weeks before they graduate into 3months old!
post #2 of 26
The tech was most likely wrong about that. From personal experience, most young kittens hate being held for long amounts of time. They'd much rather be running around and exploring, and most cats big or small, would be a bit wary of strangers and strange places at first.

I would take the vet's advice about letting her milk dry up, as you will most likely see her become agressive toward the kittens when she goes back into heat, and then you'll end up seperating them anyway (and playing the waiting game all over again if your vet doesn't spay cats who are in heat).
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
The mom cat has had her first post-pregnancy heat - she had it for about 8days and now its in the low end of the estrog? swing.

When she was in the heat, she would only let the kittens be around her for about 10mins max nursing and then she would get up and leave. She did sometimes kick them away but nothing really aggro - she is such an intelligent and sweet cat.

However, the minute the heat was over (or more tolerable) she was ALL over her kittens. She didn't want to be in a seperate room from them for very long and gave them a lot more attention then I had seen her in a long time.

Her belly is super wet when they nurse with her, because they are suckling and not chewing her nipples so there is a lot of saliva I think. Her nipple look super healthy and not super engorged at all at any point in the day - not even when we seperated them for any length of time....

????
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by happymoonbelly
Her belly is super wet when they nurse with her, because they are suckling and not chewing her nipples so there is a lot of saliva I think. Her nipple look super healthy and not super engorged at all at any point in the day - not even when we seperated them for any length of time....

????
Have her teats gone down in size?
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
They seem to have slowly gone down, but it looks like she has kittens....I am just so uncertain on what the right thing to do is.
post #6 of 26
Out of all my kittens(8 have had since birth, another 8 i gotwithin the first three months) only one liked to be held...now as adults all like being held except 4-one is very moody, one is to big to really be held comfortably and the other two just are more into the cat scene then being held. I haver noticed that kittens outside seem to more outgoing to new situations(I AM NOT saying its good place for them to be raised-just what I have seen) but my guys that I take in are here for life so I dont worry to much about if this one is outgoing or whatnot RJ
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Cool !! That is heartening news. One of the kittens really loves to be close to us, and if the timing is right and its not hyper time they like to be carried a little bit. They all love to be petted when they are sleeping or calming down and purr too. The mom cat is super mellow and I can hold her, but she isn't a lap kitty.

I definitly understand its a kitten thing to be a wiggly worm so I don't get worked up about it too much, but the vet nurse just made me feel like what I had been doing wasn't enough.....or that I should have more strangers over to visit with them.

It's good to hear other peoples experiences, it really helps me get a reality check!
post #8 of 26
The vet also may be recommending the seperation of the kittens from mom so that her milk dries up so she can be spayed. The longer she produces milk, the longer the time before she can be spayed. Just make sure that mom is kept indoors only and away from intact males until her spay date.

Katie
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Her appointment to be spayed is on June 30th, and she is an indoor only cat. She was a wild card when she was in heat a few weeks ago, but didn't get outside, we only have one door in and out of our place so we are SUPER careful about coming in and out of the house.

hmmm......I wonder if I need to just do the seperation thing before her spay appointment so she doesn't feel isolated prior to her surgery and then weird when she gets home recovering. It might be a nice prelude to the isolation time that she will have after she gets home.

I hadn't thought about that part, so its a very VERY good reminder :-) thanks!
post #10 of 26
I would say it never hurts to try to spend some extra time with the kittens. I foster, and have learned to handle the kittens briefly from day 1, if the Mom cat allows. I also sit on the floor in my kitty room at least twice a day, and generally the kittens crawl all over me to play. Maybe it is because they are kept in one room (secluded from my cats), so they get a little bored. My kids also play gently with the kittens, and handle them quite a bit. I get very good reports back from the other foster homes who get "my" kittens, about how loving they are.

But remember that at 10 weeks, it is almost like you have teenagers. Where they might have been more lovey when younger, now they are going to want to be out exploring. Try to engage them with toys. And stay and pet them when you feed them, so they associate you with the food.

Good for you getting an appt for Momma to be spayed! I would separate her from the kittens before the spay, and of course she will stay separate as she heals after the surgery. Be sure the kittens get spayed by about 4 months to prevent further litters, too!
post #11 of 26
I have a great book, A Kitten's Life, that says when mom is well fed and healthy, and when kittens are being taken care of well by both human and mother, that they will nurse up to 12 weeks of age. The book has kind of a mother-earth type slant to it, but it says it helps the kittens integrate into the adult cat world more naturally and that they are better psychologically adjusted when allowed to do so. I don't see any harm in it... it seems to be the "natural" way of things when cats aren't threatened by predators and such.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
this is all good advice!

We play with the cats for an hour in the morning before work, and pretty much at night for a good 2-3hrs. We pet them when they are playing too, so its an integrated approach.

They have a gazillion toys and 2 cat condos to climb and be a part of. One of them is right next to a window that opens so they get fresh air every single day (and night, as we crack open the window in the living room for them where they sleep too).

We get a new toy every two weeks so they aren't bored. Plus, they play with the mom cat too - she loves to play with them all. It's absolutely hilarious to see them chase her and her run after them.

They really are very sweet, and we definitly adore them so much that we want to be a part of their every day life. Since we are both in our early 30s with no children, there aren't very many distractions.

I just want to do the right thing and I worry a lot for their well being - almost in a parental way I guess :-)

Here are some pictures of them:

( In the beginning: )




Currently:





post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godiva
I have a great book, A Kitten's Life, that says when mom is well fed and healthy, and when kittens are being taken care of well by both human and mother, that they will nurse up to 12 weeks of age. The book has kind of a mother-earth type slant to it, but it says it helps the kittens integrate into the adult cat world more naturally and that they are better psychologically adjusted when allowed to do so. I don't see any harm in it... it seems to be the "natural" way of things when cats aren't threatened by predators and such.

The cat is scheduled to be spayed in two weeks. If the vet won't spay until she's dried up completely, it'd be best to let her dry up and get spayed instead of tempting fate by keeping her wet through constant stimulation (and thus delaying the surgery by whichever amount of weeks the kittens decide to stop at), in my opinion (especially when there is only one door between the mom and the outdoors.accidents happen.).

*Not meaning to sound rude.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommonOddity042
The cat is scheduled to be spayed in two weeks. If the vet won't spay until she's dried up completely, it'd be best to let her dry up and get spayed instead of tempting fate by keeping her wet through constant stimulation (and thus delaying the surgery by whichever amount of weeks the kittens decide to stop at), in my opinion.
Are cats like humans in that lactation acts as a hormonal birth control? I have heard that cats may become pregnant even while nursing, but I wonder if that is just a fluke and not the way it is "supposed" to be... also, it sounds like they are indoor only kitties.

If I am wrong, nevermind. But I think it's always best to let nature take it's course... but if the spay appointment can't be moved, then I guess they should try and wean them now. I don't see the big rush, however, and she may naturally dry up by June 30th anyway.
post #15 of 26
By the way, I love your kittens!!

Can I see more pics of Shadow and the silver white/blue tabby? They are both gorgeous!! I hope to get a blue tabby like that one in my upcoming litter...
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice - I definitly see the merits of both sides. I would like her to dry up before the surgery since its in her best interest to be taken care of. Perhaps I can find a middle of the road solution - keep her away from the kittens when we are sleeping and not at home, but with them when we are for the time being or something like that...

Here is an earlier picture of the kittens again, and I might have to post the others later, they are on a different computer :-)





post #17 of 26
Shadow is so cool-looking! How unusual, especially in a "random" breeding... at least from what I've seen, which isn't a whole lot.

I'm sure whatever you choose to do will work out fine. These aren't life and death issues you're dealing with, it's all a matter of preference.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godiva
Are cats like humans in that lactation acts as a hormonal birth control?
No. They can go into heat as early as a week after birth. This happens a lot.
post #19 of 26
They are so adorable
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godiva
also, it sounds like they are indoor only kitties.
yes, but a lot of posts here are about indoor-only cats who escaped in the throes of heat by darting out the front door. You can be very vigilant but still have this happen if you only have one door between your cat and the outdoors. Better safe than sorry.
post #21 of 26
mine were nursing till 10 weeks too but I just got mama spayed. the vet told me to keep them separated cause of that. i now have them with punkin and shes playing with them...they will be ok with her right? just hope she isnt too rough with them.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnTS71
mine were nursing till 10 weeks too but I just got mama spayed. the vet told me to keep them separated cause of that. i now have them with punkin and shes playing with them...they will be ok with her right? just hope she isnt too rough with them.

A small time apart from each other should not harm the kittens or the mother (As long as the kittens are old enough to be eating and using the litterbox on their own, and are not at an age where they definately need mom's milk to survive.) Ten weeks is a perfect time to spay the mom.
post #23 of 26
ok thanks. the mama cat kept us up last night meowing..her 2 kids were sleeping with her last night but for some reason she wouldnt stop till like 3am. right now her 2 kids are playing and the mama is in our bedroom. i just hope she doesnt tear up the carpet while im gone
post #24 of 26
I let my rex queens nurse as long as they wanted. Had kits nurse at 3 months - more of a comfort thing. As long as mom is in good shape and not to skinny/stressed out, I'd let them go.

Mom and kits were fine when they stopped.

I WANT that little silver male
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45
I let my rex queens nurse as long as they wanted. Had kits nurse at 3 months - more of a comfort thing. As long as mom is in good shape and not to skinny/stressed out, I'd let them go.

Mom and kits were fine when they stopped.

I WANT that little silver male
She was asking if seperating them so that the mom dries up for spaying (as her vet suggested was okay, not if she should let them nurse at all.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
This is great to hear, I am so glad I came to this forum!!

I decided on a compromise of sorts for the time being....Since her surgery is coming up, I want her to get used to periods of isolation that don't feel like a punishment so that when she needs her time alone to heal its not a bad feeling. I am taking off work for the day it happens, and then I am home that weekend and I am planning on chilling out in the bedroom with a bunch of DVDs and hanging out with her for the first few days.

I also want to make sure her nipples are getting smaller so that it won't be a problem with the surgery when it occurs. I hadn't thought of that, and also since she won't be using them after every again, well....

So, when we are not at home, she is in the bedroom with all her amenities, and then together with eveyrone when we are home....and then a little bit with us at night with the door closed when going to bed, and then with them in the morning too. It's a bit convuleted, and I am only going to do it until Friday - but I figure it will just be a small amount of this experience in a way that won't seem mean or damaging our relationship with her either.

The kittens all piled on and slept with her this morning for awhile without trying to suckle, so that was good. Truly, they dont' really want to nurse for food - they know they have the dry and wet food available and water too it's really just a loving thing I believe.

The silver and white kitten is Apollo and he is SUCH a sweetheart. He loves to be petted and likes cuddles. He is the only one that will come and sleep on us at times....he is really a love. My boyfriend picked him out of the litter as "his" from birth and they actually do have a special connection - its cool to watch.
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