Young Mama with 6 Kittens

MinkaTasha

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We picked up our pregnant foster on Thursday and 23 hours later she had 6 kittens. She is very young and this is likely her first litter—I had to cut the cords on #4 and #5 and she sat on the kittens too many times in the first few hours (she’s doing much better now). The runt only weighed 72 grams, had trouble latching, and seemed to be exiled at first, but I spent hours helping him through the night and he’s got it down now and is no longer sitting by himself. Twenty four hours after the completion of the birth, the runt has gained 9 grams (and he didn’t eat for the first 3 or 4 hours and fell off or was kicked off until this morning) and the other 5 gained 13 to 20 grams. There seem to be 5 of the 8 nipples that are working or are preferred—I can’t get anyone to latch onto the other three. And of course, Runt’s favorite nipple is also preferred by one of his bigger siblings.

I’ve seen several recommendations on other threads here that I should supplement with KMR sometimes when there are six or more kittens, paying particular attention to the runt. Is this true? And if so, do I only supplement when one individual doesn’t gain 10 grams or do I do it every day or every other day, rotating through the lineup, to help decrease the amount of milk mama needs to produce? She’s a small cat. I would guess 5 pounds pre-kittens.

Thanks in advance for your help. This site was so helpful with our first pregnant foster (who lost her babies in pregnancy).
 

Sarthur2

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Your best bet is to weigh all kittens every day and keep track. Especially watch the runt who may not gain as much as the others but should gain at least 6 grams a day. You can also put him on his preferred nipple when the others are sleeping, but you may want to supplement him anyway until he’s over 100 grams. You might want to offer him formula a couple times a day if he’s not gaining much, and if he’s not gaining at all you’ll want to feed him several times a day. You’ll need to take it day by day depending on how he’s doing. Sounds like he’s determined!

Give mom a dish a day of formula too. With six she needs the extra calcium.
 
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MinkaTasha

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Thanks! The shelter has me mixing KMR with her wet kitten food and she had only had two kittens when they closed yesterday. :)
 

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Great advice from Sarthur2 Sarthur2 ! If possible, use "mini Miracle Nipples" and if the runt won't latch well to the bottle, try feeding the larger ones and give the tiny some exclusive time on mama kitty. If you notice mama kitty getting a sore, red nipple, you can warm some coconut oil between your fingers and apply a thin coat on her nipple.
Please keep us updated !
 
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MinkaTasha

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Thanks. New situation. Last night when checking on the nest (27 hours after completion of birth), Mama was nursing two babies when she suddenly stood up, opened her mouth and made the panting/pain face and lifted her leg like she was trying to push, just like she did with all six deliveries. It lasted five seconds, and then she laid down and seemed to zone out out for 30 seconds before going back to normal. I checked her rear end because I worried another kitten was coming but it was just a dime-sized glob of thick, red blood. Ever since, she has left a few spots of blood on the floor/furniture where she sits and the glob coming from her vulva has never dried up. There is no blood in the nest, where she only lays on her side.

She had the first three kittens within an hour and I was not able to see their placentas because I missed the first and the second and third she had in a corner of the box and I couldn't see, even with a flash light, but she worked on each kitten for at least 15 minutes so I assumed part of that was eating the placentas. Then she took a 75 minute break before having the second three, also delivered within an hour (horn #2?), and I was able to see all three placentas there as she seemed more comfortable with my presence.

I know bleeding is normal and assume the weird panting/pain face was from uterine contractions helping her uterus shrink, but the bright red blood worries me. I would expect it to be brown. Is this normal? I have a photo if my description is not clear. She is eating, nursing, and acting normal other than the one minute episode last night. I plan to contact the shelter tomorrow when they open (there is no emergency procedure other than to take her to my own vet), but they were so blase with my first foster when she was losing her kittens, that I don't trust they will tell me to bring her in if I need to. Thanks.
 
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MinkaTasha

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Thank you for the coconut oil suggestion!
 

Sarthur2

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Please post the picture. Red blood drops or small clots or stringy pieces are normal for a few days after giving birth. Over the next 7-10 days the discharge should go from red to pinkish to brownish, until drying up completely. As you said, this is the uterus healing. New human moms go through the same process! What you want to watch for is a hemorrhage, which is heavy red blood that does not diminish. And yes, it sounds like she had an after-pain, which also helps the uterus to heal and can occur for 2-3 days post birthing.

It sounds like your foster is experiencing normal post-birth bleeding so far. If it does not diminish in the next few days or gets consistently heavier, then you should contact the shelter.
 

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That looks okay for the second day after birthing 6 kittens. You can clean her bottom with a warm damp cloth if she’ll let you. Has the discharge stayed about the same? If so, let’s give it another day or two and see if it begins to turn pinkish.
 
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MinkaTasha

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Yes, it has stayed exactly the same color and same amount. I tried wiping it but she wasn't okay with that. I'm guessing it may have been painful. We've only known each other 3 days--I am amazed at all she has let me do and I don't think she would have minded if it didn't hurt.
 
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MinkaTasha

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Tired of me yet? I just found two fleas on one baby. Our house is sprayed and our pets are fine (and they are kept away from our “bunker” room where we are fostering by two outdoor doors), so they must have come in on mom—she was given to the shelter on Wednesday and I got her on Thursday (and pulled many, many hitchhiker weeds off her).
What to do besides use a flea comb on mom and pick them off babies?
 

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You can put a tube of Advantage II on the back of mom’s neck. That’s it for now other than combing, as you mentioned, until the babies are older. Have you seen fleas on the babies? You’ll also want to wash and change the bedding regularly so any flea eggs do not hatch.
 
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MinkaTasha

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Yes, two fleas on one baby’s belly and another on a different baby’s leg. Three are black and I can’t tell with them— plus, when I was checking, mom came and grabbed the kitten from me. I am changing bedding every day so that’s good. Should I wait until tomorrow to put the Advantage on mom since the shelter might’ve treated her on Thursday?
 
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MinkaTasha

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I just combed mom and am only getting flea dirt from her. I bet they treated her 23 hours before she gave birth and the fleas jumped ship to the babies.
 
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MinkaTasha

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The flea comb has yet to catch one flea. The babies are just so small and the comb is so big! My fingers and eyes are old, so I’m struggling and may be at this all night. But 2 down. Many more to go...
 
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