Can a mother cat handle more than her own kittens?

DebRB

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As fosters we received a mother with five kittens about two days old. One passed away while four are thriving now at eight days old, their eyes are starting to open. We were brought four more newborn kittens today, vet said mother had no milk. (Which I never heard of before) We are trying to tide them over for now. I removed four original kittens and let the mother (who nursed them readily) the four new kittens. My main question is will she start producing more milk for the extra ones? I am planning on syringe/bottle feeding the older kittens to supplement them while the newbies are getting started. I have both in separate beds with heating pads beneath them. Now what?
 

Sarthur2

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She can nurse eight, but you must rotate them in the two separate groups every 2 hours around the clock for now, as you are doing.

You will need to weigh all babies every day, and the new ones perhaps every 12 hours for now, and keep track.

You will probably need to supplement some of them, depending on weight gains. They each need to gain at least 6-10 grams per day, if not more.

Mom will probably need extra food, and she will need a dish or two a day herself of the kitten formula for the extra calcium.

You are going to become very tired, but it’s all you can do for now because one group is bigger than the other and will push the little ones off the nipples.

How many of mom’s nipples are currently producing milk? How many actual days old are the newbies?

D DebRB
 
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DebRB

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I think at least seven produce but she did not like me feeling around much lol.She is on the furry side. Does anyone ever try shaving the tummy so the nipples are easier to get to? The new ones were born today. For now they have eaten and are sleeping. I will start weighing them now. Also making up some formula for mom.
 

Sarthur2

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Oh dear, how much do you know about the mom of the new babies? Can you offer to take her in for awhile?

The reason I ask is because some new moms do not get their milk until after the kittens are born. As they nurse, they first get colostrum, then full milk comes in behind it within a day or two, just like with new human moms. The colostrum is very rich and nutritious!

I am wondering if this cat’s owner as well as the vet are aware of this. Since these new babies were just born today, I wonder if this mom has been given a chance?

This distresses me, as the new mom may be feeling very frantic for her babies, though of course I do not know the entire story, so maybe there is more going on.

Would you mind calling the vet and inquiring a bit more? If it was just assumed she had no milk because her mammaries were not yet full, or the babies did not immediately latch, she should really be given a chance to nurse and care for her kittens.

You can trim the fur around the nipples if she will let you. Be careful though.

And I will stress again how important it is that the new babies nurse every 2 hours for now.

D DebRB
 
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DebRB

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I will try in the morning. The weird thing is she was supposed to be a catch and release neuter. They put her under when they realized she was very pregnant. Poor on their part yes! I agree it would be best for them. So they brought her out of anesthesia and she immediately gave birth. They have nursed on our mamma but she is getting agitated I can see now. I have given all the kittens supplemental KLM with a syringe to see how they would take it, that went good. I now have them in a larger crate in two separate beds that the mother can go back and forth to. I will do my best tonight to continue.

Thank you so much for your help!
 

Sarthur2

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I hope the other cat might still be available. I hope they have not yet released her. It’s cruel to separate her from her babies just because she’s a catch and release, and I have to wonder if they then immediately spayed her after she gave birth. That’s not wise either. Regardless, she should be kept for observation for a day or two. Please let me know if they still have her and will let you take her. She should still be able to nurse either way.

Your new setup sounds ideal. I hope it works for the mom. I think you’re in for a long night though. :vibes: Blessings to you, and hang in there tonight!

I’ll be anxious to hear your update tomorrow.

(KMR = Kitten Milk Replacer 😉)

D DebRB
 
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Thank you both so much. My husband is helping me thank goodness. We weighed everyone. new babies are all 3 ounces and older ones range from 7 to 9.8!
 

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Weights on babies are good. Newbies will hopefully begin to gain. They are on the small side at 85 grams each. :lovecat2:

And we’d love pictures when you get the chance!
 
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DebRB

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overnight was good! I trained hubby how to make up milk and feed so that is great. They are eating rather well I think, tummies are round and they all pee light yellow! We also fed our older ones this morning just in case. Momma is getting all extra milk after babies are finished plus three small kitten canned foods/day now. We let her walk around to stretch her legs to give her a break. Watching her, she rather hovers over babies to nurse, so small ones are not reaching her nipples. So we will keep feeding little guys the same. They actually started taking a little more of the KMR lol the last feedings.Whew!
 

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Glad it was a good night!

Have you weighed them yet today? If so, have they gained? Can you get mom to lie down to nurse the new babies?

What’s the story with the other mom?
 
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DebRB

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The story is, I called the girl who took her home to foster. She had a small kitten who was also trapped and tried to nurse on this mother. She did not get anything so gave up. We decided that it would do my kittens no good to put them together.
On another note, I am SO tired after getting up all last night. They are all eating well and were seen nursing on Mom when I took her own kittens away for a few hours. I also continue to give them syringe feedings as they are taking it well. Their weight dipped slightly beneath 3 ounces but now all but one have rebounded up to 3.25 and the fourth is back up to 3. Tonight we are taking turns!
Here they are in big kitten pile and the mother coming to me for affection. She is very friendly!
I cannot find my photos to put in here, sorry. Brain fog.
 

Sarthur2

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I’m sorry, but I’m having difficulty following the story about what happened to the real mom who “had no milk,” according to the vet, and what happened to her after she gave birth, and now how this has all evolved. It all sounds very sketchy to me and I have to wonder what is truly going on.

In the meantime, I hope that all 8 kittens will continue to thrive, despite your fatigue in caring for them.

Although I’m still wondering about the mom cat who birthed the new kittens, you and your husband seem to be on your game keeping them all going. Do keep us posted on their progress.
 
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DebRB

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I am worried about one who is doing the fish gape mouth and not moving too much. I removed the older kittens again and left bitty babiest with their foster mom. While I was feeding one she climbed up on the sink counter and took the one that was next to me. She put it back in the crate with the rest.

We have ordered a digital scale to get better weights. This postal scale shows 3.25 to 3.5.

I agree about the sketchy part with mom #2 but I'm doing the best I can. They anesthetized her without checking or noticing if she was pregnant. I would never go to that vet.
 

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You need to get the kitten who is struggling to the vet ASAP for antibiotics. It’s highly likely the kitten has aspirated milk into its lungs. Without meds, this causes pneumonia and a painful death.

D DebRB
 
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DebRB

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will do
 
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Two of the three remaining kitten are at 4 ounces (males) now (3 days old). One female is still at 3.2 ounces. She seems to eat well, eliminate and is very squirmy. Tummy is rounded. I remove the four older kittens every two hours so she can concentrate on new babies which she does. I can see they are getting milk from her as they won't eat as much from syringe anymore, I sure do not force it!
Should I feed her more often?
 
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