fostering pregnant cat

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imogen

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Here is what I have learned: when the littermates isolate a kitten, it's not a good sign. It our case, Mama has continued to be attentive, but the sibs have made it clear when a kitten is not long for this world. But, I guess I've also learned that there is not much I can do. I've done everything I possibly could. But, it feels like there must have been more; something I missed. And, when sources disagree, WOW does the guilt pile in.

Our tiny one was doing well. He was feisty, "walking", eating easily with his new formula, getting attention from Mom...but the littermates started shunning. Which, of course, made him cooler (despite fleeces and a heating pad). But, still...he seemed to be doing well. He wasn't cool to the touch. I was so glad he was eating more easily and thought we'd be able to re-integrate him to the litter. It had only been part of today that they were keeping away. His little belly was round. He was warm and happy. I went to take a nap before the next food-offering (every 60-90 minutes) and woke up to find he had died. I sobbed.

I understand that this is "normal" for large litters. But, it's still hard for me. It's hard for me pour into these little ones and still have them die without ever opening their eyes. It's just hard. Those two sweet babies are buried side by side in the garden under the milkweed plants, with butterflies dancing around them. It helps a little. But, I'm just SAD. I don't even want to go and see the other kittens. I did it dispassionately and will keep going in. And I know it will get better. But...I don't know if I'm cut out for fostering pregnant cats and newborn kittens.

Our last "tiny" is doing well. He's up to 150 g (from 80 g) in five days. So, hopefully we're done losing kittens.
 

heatherwillard0614

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I am so sorry you lost one of the tinies it is so hard. But just know you are doing everything you can for them and the lot of them seem to be doing well though.
And I wonder why they got sick off the goat milk... I fed kittens and puppies goat milk because me being raised on a farm and having goats we had it and our vet recommended it.. I'm so sorry it made them sick.. but at least it was caught early and they are all off of it now and can continue growing and getting healthy from mommas milk.
Try to rest when you can as well I know you have been doing a ton for the momma and her kittens but you need to remember don't forget about you. Make sure you are eating and staying hydrated. Also get rest when you can.
Keep up the great work you are doing with them.
 
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imogen

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I am so sorry you lost one of the tinies it is so hard. But just know you are doing everything you can for them and the lot of them seem to be doing well though.
And I wonder why they got sick off the goat milk... I fed kittens and puppies goat milk because me being raised on a farm and having goats we had it and our vet recommended it.. I'm so sorry it made them sick.. but at least it was caught early and they are all off of it now and can continue growing and getting healthy from mommas milk.
Try to rest when you can as well I know you have been doing a ton for the momma and her kittens but you need to remember don't forget about you. Make sure you are eating and staying hydrated. Also get rest when you can.
Keep up the great work you are doing with them.
I’m not convinced it was the goat milk either, since neither Mama nor the tiny kitten I gave it to showed any signs of an infection. But, I stopped…and my teenager is happily finishing the milk. She says it’s fine.
Thanks for your encouragement. You’re right, I was tired. And that makes it all worse.
 

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The bottom one is the spittingimage of one of my old barn cats budweiser (bud). He had a funny gait because some monster threw him off their truck. Why anybody would actuly throw a kitten off a moving vehical is beyond me. But he lived a good 19 years as a mouser he loved hanging out with the chickens. You ever seen a hen sleeping on a cat's back? Pretty funny sight.
 
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imogen

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Good news-seven kittens are a week old! All have at least doubled their birth weight.

Bad news--six kittens are snuggled together, ousting one.

I am doing my best to get that one some regular alone time with Mama. I don't trust my bottle feeding after having the last two died. And, this one WILL nurse, given the chance. The other two wouldn't. So, I'm catching Mama, giving her treats and pets, and letting him nurse alone.

Mama doesn't spend her time with the kittens when she's not feeding, so it's just a matter of extracting him from the pile without waking the others. Last time, it was, sadly, easy. :( Hoping and praying!
 

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You will probably still have to suplement with the bottle or chances are you will loose her if the others are pushing her off the breast. Make sure to keep her warm too even if you have to use your own body heat. That's what we did with bud, he lived but lost a front leg being thrown from the truck.
 
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imogen

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You will probably still have to suplement with the bottle or chances are you will loose her if the others are pushing her off the breast. Make sure to keep her warm too even if you have to use your own body heat. That's what we did with bud, he lived but lost a front leg being thrown from the truck.
I've been trying...but not successfully. I'm going to keep trying, and it's probably me full time now, but I hate that for him.
 

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Ideally, this little guy will get strong enough to eventually fight for a nipple, but in the meantime, he needs supplementing along with time alone with mom.

Here’s where rotating comes in handy by splitting the kittens into two groups and rotating 4 on and 3 off every couple of hours so everyone gets time at the milk bar. You can put them all together overnight, but you’ll still need to get up once or twice a night to see that he gets fed for the next couple of weeks.
 
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imogen

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Ideally, this little guy will get strong enough to eventually fight for a nipple, but in the meantime, he needs supplementing along with time alone with mom.

Here’s where rotating comes in handy by splitting the kittens into two groups and rotating 4 on and 3 off every couple of hours so everyone gets time at the milk bar. You can put them all together overnight, but you’ll still need to get up once or twice a night to see that he gets fed for the next couple of weeks.
I understand that you recommend splitting the litter. Truly, I do. And I suspect that has worked well for you in the past. But, it is not an option for me, for several reasons. I cannot get ONE kitten fed in two hours. I have only once had a kitten take in close to the amount it ought to be getting. Feeding four kittens in two hours, for me, would be impossible. They don't latch. They fight the "miracle nipple". They hate it. The most success we had was with a syringe alone (no nipple) and goat milk. I have watched videos, read articles and had a consultation at the shelter. No one could say why it wasn't working. It just doesn't work for us. And, this is not an area where I can afford to keep practicing. Additionally, splitting the litter actually decreases Mama's milk supply. She would only produce enough milk to feed four kittens. This is one of the reasons the vet does not recommend it.

I will keep doing the best I can.
 

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I understand that you are not comfortable with rotating, and will not do it; but I do want to clarify for others reading this and who may wish to try it that mom will be feeding all 7 of her kittens if the litter is split for feedings. One set nurses; then the other set nurses mom every 1-2 hours. You do not feed the kittens who are not in the nest with mom — they rest.

I’m sorry you are struggling with supplementing the runt. I truly hope things get easier for you soon.
 
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Everyone is happy, healthy and growing! Little personalities are emerging. They're starting to walk...and one likes to jump, lol! (Another keeps trying to bat at the ceiling fan. Another spends all his time tummy-up. Another...)

Mama is on antibiotics and has had a round of deworming (another coming on Tuesday) when pumpkin and probiotics failed to help her diarrhea.

In this quick video post-nursing, my tiniest is at the beginning, playing with a sibling. :hearthrob: Two are stripping the last drops of milk that may be left. And, the other three crashed. (Nothing is sweeter than a sleeping baby.)

eta: Boo! I uploaded it to Flickr, as that's one of the approved sites, but it won't upload here "The specified URL cannot be embedded as media.". Not much time to figure things out, but will try again later.
 
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imogen

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I understand that you are not comfortable with rotating, and will not do it; but I do want to clarify for others reading this and who may wish to try it that mom will be feeding all 7 of her kittens if the litter is split for feedings. One set nurses; then the other set nurses mom every 1-2 hours. You do not feed the kittens who are not in the nest with mom — they rest.

I’m sorry you are struggling with supplementing the runt. I truly hope things get easier for you soon.
(my italics) I'm glad you explained that. I did NOT understand that is what you were suggesting from your earlier posts. Thank you.

Fortunately, what I did worked. I went in and fed Mama and fussed over her. Then, I made sure the littlest (and often added another little or one of mama's favorites...she definitely has them! I found that she is more likely to nurse multiple kittens than just one.) was able to latch first. After he'd gotten started, I added in the other kittens, paying attention to size and who nursed longest last time. I did this every two hours. Then, two-and-a-half hours. And, now we're at three hours. I have even skipped a feeding each day (or night!) and all is well. I will be very glad when they can eat!

Mama cat is open for snacks if it's one of her favs. But often, she waits until I come in. All the babies know when I come in that it's time to eat! They come flocking to me as fast as their little wobbly legs can carry them.
 
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4 1/2 weeks and all are doing well! They had to go in for their first series of shots (I **would not** have taken them so early, but the shelter has a different schedule. It was a reminder that they aren't mine. :frown:) Monday and were all pronounced healthy and thriving! It looks like we have six boys and a girl. But, even the experts weren't sure yet. Here are six of the seven today. Seven was sleeping when the camera was out! (He is a fluffy all-gray with a white-tipped tail.) I know the last photo isn't great. Baby Luna was only still today when she was balancing on my foot, lol.

This is Dash. He is our most athletic kitten and can CLIMB like nobody's business. He is starting to eat and is a sweet snugglebug.
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This is Scootaloo. He jumped before he could walk. He, like Dash, is very athletic and is starting to eat. But, also like Dash, quick to snuggle. These two have been quick to run to me in the last couple of days--to climb up and fall asleep.
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This is Pepperdance--usually just Pepper. Before we settled on mlp names we called him Turtle, because he spent the first few weeks belly up. He is getting more adventuresome, but loves to sleep on you. He is not yet eating. (The kitten not pictured looks a lot like him, but is a little fluffier and has a white tip on his tail. That one was the first one to notice his reflection in the hardwood floor, the first to play with toys...and is often sleeping. I love his personality. We think his name is Ember. Ember is also not yet eating.)
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We cannot believe this dainty little one is a boy. It's just...not possible! Before we knew we were calling him Princess. He is spunky and snuggly. He is best friends with the baby. They are always snuggling or playing or exploring together. We're calling him Maxie. We think is he gorgeous--exactly what you'd draw if someone said to draw a kitten. He is not eating yet.
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This is our biggest kitten and mama's favorite. He has always been the gentlest and most cautious of the litter. He is a lovebug who loves to snuggle. But, he's playing and wrestling...and getting stranded up the cat tree, too. He is one of the eaters. :)
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Little Baby Luna is the only girl. She was one of the three tinies and survived! She comes running when I ask, "Where's my baby?" if I can only count six kittens. She is eating!!! She actually is even eating some dry kibble meant for Mama. I am just so proud of her. She is playful and sweet and snuggly. She and Maxie are BFF's. I wish we could keep them both! (eta: Okay...I really wish we could keep them ALL. I have seven favorite kittens. But, in the meantime, I'm having the girls talk up the kittens at school so we can at least keep tabs on them.)
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imogen

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Here's a better picture of Luna:
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The previously unpictured Ember:
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and Mama (I've put up a lost cat post on our local fb group because it is clear she is someone's cat--and was loved. I can't wrap my head around someone just dumping her. If she is claimed, we'll keep two kittens. If she isn't...probably just Mama.)
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heatherwillard0614

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Here's a better picture of Luna:
View attachment 458541


The previously unpictured Ember:
View attachment 458542

and Mama (I've put up a lost cat post on our local fb group because it is clear she is someone's cat--and was loved. I can't wrap my head around someone just dumping her. If she is claimed, we'll keep two kittens. If she isn't...probably just Mama.)
View attachment 458543
Awww look at her and her little babies.
Omgoodness her eyes are gorgeous!!! They are all so cute! Thank you for all you have done for this little momma and her babies. She is so lucky to have met you.

Thank you for the update and the beautiful pictures. 😍 😺 ❤
 
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imogen

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Five and half weeks old! While I can't imagine having ten cats...it's equally hard to imagine these sweethearts anyplace else. It will be a tough day when they leave. I'm hoping the shelter will let us continue to foster until they find homes...so they don't ever have to be in the shelter at all.
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imogen

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How much wet food does everyone feed kittens? For how long?

Our adult cats (aside from Mama) only eat dry food. Kittens and Mama were getting wet food offered 4x/day. (Only Mama ate it that often. Kittens are much less interested.) Now, as of today,we’re down to twice/day. Some kittens prefer the dry food that is always out. (Royal Canin baby food has something enticing and addictive in it. Once they’re all eating well it’s back to Purina Pro Plan.)

They are nursing occasionally. The two biggest kittens are the ones who prefer to nurse.

One thing I found that might be helpful to others is that it was easiest to get them to try any food, wet or dry, by licking it off my fingers/eating out of my hand. Dabs on their mouths didn’t entice them to try more. But all of them will eat from my hand and hen be gently led to the dinner plate.

A dinner plate with dabs all around the edges for the kittens works best for us-better than the lowest dish. I give Mama her food in a dish and let her clean up any food the kittens leave. (I have an eating pic on my computer. I’ll add it when everyone’s finished eating tonight. )
 
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