Advice for a large litter - 9 kittens!

laceyloowho

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Hello everyone, glad I found this forum because I am a first time grandma to 9, 5 day old kittens. I feel like things are going well but I am so nervous and could use some reassuring. Our cat Rain is an inside cat but she escaped for 24 hours in late May and a few weeks later, we noticed her getting round and knew there would be babies. I take responsibility for the accident and she is 100% getting spayed at 8 weeks postpartum. This was a first for me so I did lots of research and had her nests all set up, got supplies together and waited for the birth. I went out of town for a night and when I got home she was in heavy labor and gave birth to back to back babies 20 mins later (pretty sure she was waiting for me). She chose the floor next to my husbands chair to give birth (not one of her many boxes) but once the first 2 were born, I moved them to a basket and over the next 3 hours she had 7 more in the basket! The birth went well. She cleaned them up and has been an exemplary mama. They are now in a warm bathroom with the basket, litter, food etc. She nurses all the time and I have been weighing them daily and they are all gaining anywhere from 7-12 grams a day. I have 3 that are very small which definitely makes me worry some but they all seem very content and happy with round bellies and clear urine. I have supplemented a couple of the small ones if it looks like they are behind for the day but they do not love it and since they are all gaining, I have mostly been leaving it to mom. I started feeding mom kitten chow weeks ago when I knew she was preggo. She still gets that plus wet food 3-4 times a day. I mix some kitten formula into it once or twice a day as well. She free feeds and is making lots of milk. I know this is a lot for her so I am trying to focus on giving her everything I can so that she can keep being such a good mom. She is a small, lean cat normally and she really looks sunken now but she was really huge at the end.
Is there anything else I can be doing for her? Can I use Bag Balm on her nipples? She nurses a lot and I want her to be as comfortable as possible.Thanks for listening!
 

rmwife

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First of all congratulations 9 kittens wow!!! I'm absolutley no expert but hopefully one will be along soon and i think it would really help them if you could post the weights of the kittens, that way they will have something to work off if deciding who if any you may need to supplement and how much and how often. What a busy Mummy she is going to be!!
 

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laceyloowho laceyloowho

Wow - 9 kittens! That will keep mom nursing almost non-stop, so the Bag Balm is excellent to use and non-toxic to the kittens. Use it frequently.

What I normally recommend is separating the kittens into 2 sets: the 4 smallest and 5 biggest, and rotating them every 2 hours so they do not have to fight over nipples. While one set nurses, the others are nearby in a comfy, warm box.

Daily weighing is essential. The kittens should double their birth weights by the end of the first week, and weigh 8 ounces at 2 weeks old.

6 grams per day is the minimum weight gain; 10 or more is best. You may want to supplement the lowest gainers every single day, several times a day, for awhile.

I would like to see weights if you can post them.

As for mom, this is a huge job for her and very draining. You can help her out also by wiping down the kittens 2-3 times a day with a warm, damp wash cloth. Mom cats stimulate and clean their kittens, but 9 is a lot to keep clean every day.

Mom can be supplemented herself with plain, boiled chicken, scrambled or boiled eggs, plain yogurt, and cheese. You can also buy Nutrical paste and give her some each day. It's a high calorie supplement.

Give her as much wet food as she wants - at least 6 times a day in addition to dry kitten chow and water. The daily KMR is excellent for calcium as well.

It sounds like mom is doing an excellent job so far, and that you are providing a wonderful environment.

Welcome to TCS! [emoji]128522[/emoji]
 
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laceyloowho

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Ok great... I will start applying bag balm several times a day. Thanks for the feeding advice, she loves cheese so I will try to get her to eat some. I do leave wet food and dry food out for her all the time and just let her eat as much as she wants.She also still gets her kitty crack (temptations treats) everyday as well.:) She has been eating and drinking a lot so that seems to be going well. I do help her stimulate the kittens to potty but she does keep them spotlessly clean.
I also want to mention that I raised a newborn baby squirrel a few years ago so I understand the feeding, aspiration, potty stimulation issues as they are very similar.
These babies are small so I am not sure they are gonna reach double weight.
Here are the kitten birth weights. I have not weighed them yet today, I try to do it around the same time each day:
#1 - Birth 76.9 grams - Yesterday (day 5) 120 grams
#2 - Birth 67.5 grams -Yesterday 110 grams
#3 - Birth 58.6 grams -Yesterday 90 grams
#4 - Birth 93.6 grams - Yesterday 130 grams
#5 - Birth 77.7 grams - Yesterday 116 grams
#6 - Birth 111.7 grams -Yesterday 150 grams
#7 - Birth 85.6 grams - Yesterday 120 grams
#8 - Birth 82.5 grams - Yesterday 119 grams
#9 - Birth 94 grams - Yesterday 125 grams
 

Sarthur2

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I'm impressed that they have all done so well, having been born so small (below 90 grams is considered premature birth weight). They've all gained a good 30 grams or more apiece in the 5 days since they were born.

You and mama kitty are doing a great job!

They are still very small though. They now weigh what most healthy newborns weigh at birth, so any and all supplementing will give them each a needed boost.
 
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laceyloowho

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Ok... I will start supplementing them all today. I will also start rotating them. I do notice the bigger kittens eat first and push the little ones out sometimes. Is it ok to move the non-nursing group to another room? She hets anxious if they are seperated in the same room. I have a heated box to pu t the off group in while the others nurse.
 
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laceyloowho

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Oh and I assume I feed the non-nursing group during the away times?
 

Sarthur2

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laceyloowho laceyloowho

Yes, move them to another room, and supplement them while they are away.

Put 2, 3, 5, and 8 together in the small group, the others in the large group. The group composition may change, depending on weights and who gains the least.

They can all stay with mom at night while you sleep, unless you want to do this extra hours at night too.

Based on a 16-hour day (you sleep 8 hours), they get rotated 8 times (every 2 hours). Feed each kitten between 3 and 5mLs each, more if they want it. If one doesn't want any, try that one again during the second hour.

In this way, they get more quality time with mom, and each kitten gets supplemented several times a day. It should be easier on mama kitty, but harder on you, yet better for the babies.

As they grow, the plan can be adjusted. Let me know how this is working.
 
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catwoman707

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You've been given excellent advice!

Wow, 9 is like 2 litters for one mom, so of course she needs plenty of support.

My suggestion is to feed mom royal canin babycat, the one titled mother and baby, rather than kitten chow.

Talk about loaded with all the right stuff for her, as well as nourishing her milk for the kids, and guaranteed she will LOVE it. It's pricey, but SO worth the results.

Then of course plenty of fresh water, a dish of KMR a day, and an occasional treat of any other liquids or canned.

Cats do look really bad, sunken in and worn down after giving birth, but having 9, well that much worse I'm sure, but they bounce back fine.

That is, as long as she doesn't get preggo again and is spayed.

Yes, it's best to have the separated kids in another room. Hearing them squeak is very stressful for her.

They WILL fight being supplemented, but too bad, they don't know that it's needed so it's fine.

As @sarthur2  mentions, the groups may change so keeping track of all gains and groups is needed, some of it depends on their personality, whether or not they are feisty or passive and won't put up a fight to nurse.

The bigger ones almost always get the prime 4 lower nipples.

By now they will each have their favorites and will nurse mostly from those only.

SO glad you are familiar with the how-to's already or we would have our hands full here too! (people tend to panic and also don't realize how critical slow su[pplementing is, etc)

Great job!
 
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laceyloowho

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Ok heres an update... we started separating them and feeding them. I picked up a new scale because my old one was acting wierd and I want to make sure it is accurate. Here are some updated, day 6, weights for the first group:
#2 - birth (67.5 g) today (117 g)
#3 - birth (58.6 g) today (102 g)
#5 - birth (77.7 g) today (132 g)
#8 - birth (82.5 g) today (141 g)
 

Sarthur2

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I don't know how "off" your old scale may have been, but the weight gains are good.

How much are they taking? Are they drinking willingly?
 
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laceyloowho

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I was able to get about 1.5 ml in each of group a. I wouldnt really say they were willing. They struggled but I am sure this will get easier as they become more used to it and hopefully they will take more.
As for the scale... I know it was right when they were born and for the first few days. 2 days ago it started acting funny so I at least know that much and it should be totally consistent now. I am getting ready to switch groups so I will update once I get them weighed :)
 
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laceyloowho

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Ok... weights for my b group
#1 - birth (76.9 g) today (138 g)
#4 - birth (93.6 g) today (152 g)
#6 - birth (111.7 g) today (172 g)
#7 - birth (85.6 g) today (135 g)
#9 - birth (94 g) today (151 g)
 
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laceyloowho

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I also have a question about #9. He is the only kitten whose umbilucal cord has not fallen off. It does not look infected. Should I just watch it and see if it falls off soon? Here is a pic of his belly.
 

Sarthur2

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Since it does not appear infected, it should fall off soon.

You'll also begin to see some of their eyes opening soon! [emoji]128522[/emoji]
 
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laceyloowho

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Yes, our big boy Zeus (#6) is starting to open his eyes just today. I have a feeling he will be first at a lot of things! He was even born first :)

 
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