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Skinny Mama

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My friend is currently fostering a mother cat and her four kittens for the local Humane Society (she does this quite frequently because the kittens she fosters always end up so well-socialized). The mother cat is obviously still a kitten herself, and we think her previous owners just surrendered her to the Humane Society when she got pregnant. What I don't understand is how they could let her get so terribly thin!

The kittens are on the small side (they were estimated at being about 5 days younger than they actually are: their eyes are now open, for the most part, but that's a new development) but are otherwise thriving. The mother, on the other hand, is tiny. Aside from the fact that she is still a kitten and is therefore quite small, she's far, far too skinny: you can see her hipbones jutting against her skin, and you can count all her ribs. Everything she eats is going towards feeding her kittens. Because of this she's eating kitten food, but is there anything else we can give her or do to help her bulk up a bit? I know once the kittens are weaned she'll get bigger, but that's quite a while from now and in the meantime, she's just tragic-looking.

My friend does have access to the Humane Society's resources, but I thought I'd check on here to see if any of our resident experts have any advice. This poor cat just breaks my heart to look at her!
post #2 of 7
You can give her kitten milk - I used to give my foster moms a whole big bowl of kitten milk every day, in addition to all the kitten food they would eat. Also cat vitamins are good. I got mine from the vet. There are also appetite enhancers for cats if she is just not eating enough.
post #3 of 7
Feeding her a good, high-quality kitten food in both canned and dry formulas and allowing her to have as much as she wants will be helpful. You can dress the canned food up with a jar of chicken or turkey meat baby food poured over the top. You can also give her some high calcium treats of yogurt and goat's milk (I do NOT like KMR as it seems to cause digestive upsets in many cats and kittens). You can also give her some Nutrical, a very high calorie nutritional supplement, to get some additional calories in her. Best of luck with this little girl, it sounds like life hasn't been too kind to her up til now.
post #4 of 7
It sounds like she needs to be dewormed for roundworms AND tapeworms, and have something like advantage applied for fleas to help prevent reinfection with tapeworm. Even if she has been deowrmed recently, and even if her stool sample is negative, it doesn't mean she doesn't have worms. It really sounds like that is what's going on to me. She needs to be dewormed and then done again within 7-10 days to get any new ones that hatch and start the cycle all over again.
I would get her to the vet, and then of course make sure she has a high quality kitten food and water available at all times. I would also be giving her a high quality canned food a couple of times a day to fatten her up. Adding kmr is a great idea too.
Good luck!
post #5 of 7
How many kittens is she nursing? Maybe you can help by supplimenting the kittens with extra KMR milk.

I know some of my nursing rexes were really skinny when nursing. They were fine - just producing a lot of milk and eating like crazy. As long as she has free access to food - maybe put canned and dry out, she should be fine even tho her looks are "pitiful".

What do the kits look like? Are they content and fat or are they crying a lot for more food?
post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by gayef
(I do NOT like KMR as it seems to cause digestive upsets in many cats and kittens).
I don't like KMR either and agree about the digestive upsets.

I swear by Fox Valley milk. You have to order it over the Internet, but I don't think I have had a single digestive upset since I started using it.

Fox Valley Nutrition
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! I'll pass on this information to my friend, and we'll see about fattening up this poor mama cat!

I believe she's been tested and de-wormed (I'm pretty sure that's standard procedure at the shelter here -- I know my rescue cats were -- unless it's not considered safe for the kittens?), but I know she's not on any flea meds; she doesn't have fleas, thank goodness, nor do the kittens. They're being fostered in what is already a multi-cat household, although the mother and kittens are of course being kept separate for now. My friend's own three cats are used to random strays being fostered out by the Humane Society, but the fosters haven't been there long enough for introductions (plus, they're so little and we don't know how the mama cat will react to having strange cats around her babies).

The kittens (there are four of them) seem small to me, but I'm no expert. The Humane Society figured them for about 5 days old, but they've opened their eyes so they're obviously older than that. Otherwise they're very active and healthy, and they're much more plump than their mother (it's pretty obvious where all her nutrients are going!). Mother and kittens all receive frequent vet checks and have clean bills of health. To be honest, I may be overreacting about the mother's size; it's just that I look at her, I see how frightfully skinny she is, and I want to smack her previous owners silly for letting her come to this.
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