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Breeding and Showing Cats/newborn kitten not eating


Marcia, My Persian cat had a litter of 5 kittens yesterday.  3 out of the 5 were- breech. They were hanging there for at least 5 min. When they came out they were non responsive.  We gave CPR and suctioned them and heated them in a heating pad also taking a cotton ball to rid them of meconium. 2 made it one did not. My question is I have not seen either of them nurse.  They cuddle up with momma. And when she got up they pile on top of each other to keep warm.  Should i worry i haven't seen them nurse? I have not watched them 24-7 its possible they are feeding when I'm not looking. Are there signs of a dying kitten?  And when should I intervene?  Thanks,Karen

Dear Karen

Congratulations on your kittens.  About 50% of kittens are born breech but most of them are very alive.  You did well by the sound of it to get 2 of them going.  

As you say, you are not able to watch them round the clock so yes it is possible that they are feeding.  Hungry kittens often make a lot noise.  Also if there was something wrong with them, Mum tends to not look after them and they get pushed away from the others so if they are all cuddling together that is a good sign.  However the best way to monitor kittens is to weigh them on digital scales twice a day and then take an average of 24 hours.  Most kittens again roughly between 5-10 grams per day.  If you feel the kittens are not yet latching on then can you try a hand feed with formula milk.  If they are hungry they will suck away and it may then give them the energy to root around with the other kittens to find Mum's teats.  Do their tummies look at the same as the other kittens that you know are feeding, nicely rounded.

Unfortunately I can't say that there are any clear signs to a kitten dying other than checking weight gains and noticing if they are being pushed out.  You might want to keep an eye on them in case they are having breathing problems which could mean they have some fluid in their lungs.  As for when is the best time intervene, if you are at all concerned, which I assume you are as you have written, then now is as good a time as any.  The first thing I would do is see if they want a hand feed.  I will never forget my most successful breeding queen when she was born, she fell behind the others as she seemed to be falling asleep when feeding, after a few hand feeds, she then had the strength to hold her own with her siblings and went from strength to strength.

Good luck.


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Marcia Owen


I can give answers on cat breeding and showing having 'served' over 30 years in this particular field. I head up a Yahoo Group and also a cat club (NBA Cat Club) devoted to educating novices in the correct way to breed, and also show with both GCCF and TICA on a regular basis, and am well versed with the show world, having been involved in the management of the major GCCF Supreme Show in the UK for over 25 years. Genetics however is not my strong point.


30 years of continuous cat breeding and showing with two major organisations.

GCCF (UK) TICA Various UK cat clubs

Our Cats, Cat World, Club magazines

Normal middle school education, and college. Best education credentials I have are raw experience of 30 years

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