My cat has had kittens….we’re both nervous!

Bee&Nala

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Hi everyone,
New here, looking for some help along the way.
I wish I’d found this forum sooner.

My young cat regret-ably came to be pregnant. She had her kittens a couple days ago. We are both a bag of nerves. She had me sit with her the whole way through labour and birth.
I weighed them all at the end of the day they were born, and I weighed them again the 2nd day, they had lost some weight all of them. I weighed them again the third day and the weight had risen a little again, but not a lot. The third day, risen a little again, with one boy gaining quite a bit in particular. I have not yet weighed them today but will soon.
im just wondering, is that normal? Should I be worried if the weight gain is small? And is there anything I can do extra to help mum sustain nursing the babies? A couple of her nipples are looking a little red tipped as though they may have been bleeding? Can I do anything to help that? Is there a safe option I can use to ease that for her? Sometimes when feeling her stomach I have noticed her having what feels like ridges in line with her nipples, it does go away after nursing. Is that just her milk full and emptying when the kittens nurse?
And can she be spayed while nursing? When is the best time to spay her? Obviously I understand the best time has actually passed, and I am in complete agreement with the ethos of this forum, there is little joy about the new arrivals. But all the same here I am now, and I want to do the best I can to help her through it and make sure these babies are thriving.
I have some kitten formula and those nipple syringes on hand should I need them. And I’ve been giving mum extra chicken and cat milk in the hope it will help keep her strength up. But I notice she seems quite stressed and tired and when feeding I’ve observed there’s fighting over particular nipples. One little guy guy seems to surf along back on forth noisily struggling to get in and find a nipple and being knocked off by the others a bit.
There are 6 kittens in total (I think they are all boys).
Sorry this is so long. I look forward to any help and advice.
Thanks in advance!
 

tiggerwillow

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I don't know much about nursing mums, but I do believe they can be spayed almost as soon as they have had the kittens, as they can, if I remember right from when I volunteered in cat rescue years ago, fall pregnant again even while the first litter is being weaned :catrub:
 

StefanZ

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Re spaying. Theorethically they can be spayed quite soon. Usually they continue to have milk, and usually, they can continue to nurse latest the next day.
But normally we recommoned spaying at 8 weeks, ie when they are more or less done with nursing...
So, unless you have some especial reason to hurry up the spaying - for example she manages to go out and perhaps become preg a new - please try and wait.

What you write sounds fairly normal. They often lose some the first day; but typically, we notice it as just a small rise.
They they should begin to add properly latest on day 3. Absolute minimum is 6g a day but we wish it to be 10+ grammes a day... Some individuals may add 20+ grammes a day...

If there is much fighting for nipples, you may consider to let them nurse in 2 different groups; one on, one off - and switch after a while...

Goats milk is always a good supplement, cats manage it fine, much better than cow milk. And its cheaper than kmr... And much cheaper and better from the treat milk usually called for cat milk. If she likes youghurt its fine too...
Kitten - type nourishing food, as much she wishes.
Bee&Nala Bee&Nala
 

fionasmom

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This is a very helpful site which you might find useful.

I agree that since this little family is living safely with you that I would wait to spay her. We have spayed feral mom very soon after births, but that was usually out of necessity of trapping and preventing another litter as best we could.
 

Sarthur2

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I would not spay until 8 weeks when kittens are weaning. That is the usual recommendation. Mom should perk up soon as she adjusts to nursing and being a mom. It’s all very hard work. Just do not let her outside or around intact males until after she is spayed.

Kittens should show daily gains. If they do not, begin supplementing. You can, as StefanZ StefanZ said, put 3 on and 3 off 2-3 times a day, or put a struggling kitten to a nipple while the others sleep.

For red, raw, or chapped nipples, it is best to apply bag balm or olive oil on a regular basis. This will ease discomfort. Coconut oil is also good and any of these are non-toxic to the kittens.

It’s only been 2 days, but 6 kittens is a big litter so you are bound to have a runt or two. Those are the ones who may need supplementing. Here is a helpful video:

Syringe Feeding — Kitten Lady

Keep us posted and let us know what further help you may need. Try to relax a bit — mom cats usually do most of the work the first 3 weeks unless you must supplement.
 

Jj1008

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You have formula, start supplement feeding asap, the new born kittens should gain weights everyday between 6-13g, any loss is dangerous.

I had the same thing - I felt ridges on her belly and freaked out, thought it’s a dead kitten or tumor, brought her to see our vet who said she’s normal, it’s her breast tissues as she’s lactating. Nipple redness is normal. I’d bring her in for a physical check up just in case.

Gender - difficult to tell at the moment, wait till 4-6 weeks you’d have a better idea.

Spaying - wait for weaning (ideally after 12 weeks), she may come back to heat again between 6-8 weeks.

I went through the same, one of the kitten had funnel chest and I cared for them throughout Christmas, was stressful experience but thankfully all of the kittens are now healthy and thriving, ready to go to new homes. Good luck with yours!
 
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Bee&Nala

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Thank you all so much for your helpful advice and resources. It’s been greatly received. I wanted to wait a bit before replying so as I would have a decent idea of what was improving.

I’ve been supplementing the 2 smallest as their weight gains have been the smallest too, and alternating 3 on and 3 off in between times. Great improvement and mama seems much more at ease with it too. They’re growing beautifully and I’m happy to say all gaining between 9-14g a day, I have one gaining more towards 15-20g a day though! Biggest of the litter. Is that ok?

my predicament is such that I actually have papa cat living here with us too he is also our pet cat. He’s booked to be neutered next week however I’ve been told he could still impregnate mum for a time after his op? We’re keeping them separate at the minute but it’s how we got here in the first place, I didn’t know my girl would go into heat while it was winter and I thought I could wait till after the holidays (as my 3 kids birthdays all fall in winter too) to deal with neuter and spay, rookie error. So when she did go into heat we kept them seperated but once was all it took, my youngest daughter woke before me one morning and let him loose in the house and he got to Nala and here we are. I’m very nervous the same could happen again though I’ve done my best to stress the importance that it doesn’t to the children.

All in all mama and babies are doing really well and she really seems to be finding her paws as a great mum I’m very proud of her. The majority of my concerns are very much alleviated! Thank you all again for your help, I really feel stepping in to help the smallest 2 was needed and I doubt I’d have been brave enough to interfere without your advice! So Thank you again!
Oh one more thing, when would I stop supplementing? How will I know when it’s time to stop? Or should I continue to supplement until weaning?
 

StefanZ

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Adding sounds good, even if 9grammes a day is a shade too little. Lets presume it will be better with time. 15-20 gr is OK! :)

How long supplementing... If they are all steadily adding, everything stabilized and momma OK, you CAN try and let them just nurse... But watch as a hawk on the weight, weighting even every 12 hours. This will be with the 2 weakest whom you supplement, no?

Momma is always nicest, so if momma has milk and they are strong enough to suckle, they will always get at least some from momma, even if you are supplementing 100%.
So, the transition to just nursing shouldnt be dramatic... :) They will just do it. :)

What is with weak kittens; sometimes they arent strong enough to suckle properly, although they seem to nurse. You notice it by they arent adding! As you did noticed. :) In such cases its a good help to handfeed them several days, till they are visibly raising and getting healthy and stronger....


Re the tom. Yeah, its as you write. He can impregnate at least 2 weeks after his neutering. Theoretically even 6 weeks after, but in practice count with 2 weeks.
Some do warn about tom and kittens. In reality the real danger is toms coming in, whom dont know the momma, but wish to get a new revire.
A tom whom is a good friend with momma is very seldom any danger, and will often co-parent, or at least, be an uncle person.
He doesnt even need to be the biological father, its enough he is a good friend with momma....

But as you say, there IS some risk he may impregnate her anew... So, the safest is to keep them separated.
 
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Bee&Nala

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I fear I may have spoke too soon, after what seemed to be improvement, one of the little guys has stopped eating from the syringe altogether, he initially suckled at it, but now even when I pop a little drop into his mouth he will not swallow it. He’s very slow moving and lethargic. Making strange kind of squeaks sometimes while breathing and this evening I have noticed his tail was wet, so I took a look at him and he is leaking from his bottom a kind of clearish mucousy substance? He looks a little swollen there too. I have sat with him wrapped in a warm towel with a warm hot water bottle underneath and tried feeding him the perfect temperature of formula several times to no avail. I have used clean warm water and a cotton pad to clean his bottom and the mucous appeared again a short while later. I’m really worried for him. I weighed him and his weight was the same as the previous days weight, I weighed him 5 hours later and his weight has dropped a little. What can I do?
 

Sarthur2

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It sounds like he has aspirated formula into his lungs and is developing pneumonia. This is what causes the squeaks when breathing. He needs emergency care immediately if he is to survive. Pneumonia can kill tiny kittens! He will need antibiotics asap and possibly a tiny bit of prednisone. Can you get to an emergency vet right away? If not, he will likely die a painful death and in which case, humane euthanasia will spare him this.

Bee&Nala Bee&Nala
 
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Bee&Nala

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I made sure to have him in the correct posture as though he were feeding from mum and the syringe is such that I don’t have to push it, he would suckle the formula out by himself with a little faux nipple on the end of it. I didn’t see any signs of coughing, sneezing or anything like that while feeding. Would this still be the likely case even so?

I can hopefully get him to emergency vet but I’m relying on being able to wake a friend or family to come and be at home with my children while I go.
 

Sarthur2

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Yes, the difficulty breathing indicates a severe, life-threatening issue. He sounds very sick and may not make it with or without medical help. I’d get him seen asap. It doesn’t sound good and it sounds like he is suffering. Please get help.
Bee&Nala Bee&Nala
 
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Bee&Nala

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I called the out of hours vet who were happy for me to bring him in immediately, my mother in law was still awake and was on her way over here so I could take him, but he didn’t even make it until she arrived. I’m absolutely heartbroken. He passed around 3 hours ago now and I can’t even bring myself to lay him down.
He was doing so well and then today just a massive backward step. This is terrifying. Absolutely devastated.
 

tiggerwillow

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I called the out of hours vet who were happy for me to bring him in immediately, my mother in law was still awake and was on her way over here so I could take him, but he didn’t even make it until she arrived. I’m absolutely heartbroken. He passed around 3 hours ago now and I can’t even bring myself to lay him down.
He was doing so well and then today just a massive backward step. This is terrifying. Absolutely devastated.
I'm so sorry to hear he didn't make it :alright:
 
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Bee&Nala

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That was a really tough day. Thankyou guys.

My confidence to safely feed the other little guy has been shot but I think we have a problem.

Mama has been a little different since he passed away. She knows he passed. Her nest is in the corner of my bedroom in a box I prepared for her. It’s suitably warm and has blankets and I pop a hot water bottle in while she’s absent from the nest (which wasn’t often until now). Since he passed she hasn’t been in there as much. She’s been going in and feeding them, falling asleep for a short time sometimes while doing so. But she gets up and leaves afterwards every time. I’ve found she’s slept at my feet in my bed instead of with the babies which she wasn’t doing before.
Also, their daily weight gain is nowhere near what it was.
On Monday (7days old) their weights were: 160g, 170g, 176g, 185g and 197g. On Tuesday : 182g, 188g, 198g, 200g and 208g. And today I weighed twice as I’m a little concerned so at around 4pm the weights were 194g, 195g, 205g, 205g and 213g.
And at 10:30pm 192g, 198g, 203g, 204g and 211g.
What is going on? What’s the next step? This doesn’t seem to be going in a great direction and I can’t bear to see a repeat of our little man again. The kittens all seem well, eyes are opening, they can really get themselves about climbing over each other and mama, they sleep all cuddled up together, nobody left out.
Mama is eating plenty whenever she likes as much as she likes, she’s drinking water, offered her some of the formula I have for the kittens but she isn’t too interested in that. I don’t understand what’s happening.
 

Sarthur2

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You’ve nothing to worry about at the moment. They are 7 days old and ALL weigh at least 6+ ounces if not more. They only need to weigh 4 ounces at one week, so all sound very healthy. Some fluctuation up and down a couple of grams when they are exceeding expectations already is normal.

Here are the goals, and only weigh once a day at the same time each day unless there is a problem:

Goals are 8 ounces (226 grams) at 2 weeks; 12 ounces (340 grams) at 3 weeks; and one pound (453grams) at 4 weeks — then about a pound a month thereafter until grown.

It sounds like mom is doing a fine job and enjoying her breaks — including sleeping with you. As long as she continues nursing regularly and goes to the kittens if they cry, all should be well.

I hope this reassures you! Bee&Nala Bee&Nala
 
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Bee&Nala

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Ah Thankyou so much for that! Very reassuring. I’m relieved!
She does immediately return to them if they cry too so that’s great! I suppose then she is settling into the swing of it and as you say just enjoying her breaks. Ah what a star! :) very proud of her!! Thankyou again!
 

StefanZ

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Re the passed one... Im very sorry. But its such as happens although you are very careful... That is why life is so precious... It doesnt take much and its over, esp with kittens and babies...

Your vet is unusual as he was willing to try to treat the kitten. Many vets just shrugs it offs and say there is nothing to do with such a youngs... So even if they may perhaps be saved by massive dose of antibiotica, some vets do nothing...
 
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Bee&Nala

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Oh wow! I didn’t know that! The vet we use now is new to us. We do really like the practice and they all seem to love cats. He came by recommendation from our neighbours who have kept cats their whole lives. Previously we had a dog and tried several vets throughout his life, none of which we were particularly fond of or who seemed all that interested in the animals so much as the money! Which to an extent I understand it is a business but you hope that it is driven by genuine love and care for animals and that doesn’t often seem to be the case in my experience.
 
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