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QUESTION: Hi there.  My young, recently rescued cat gave birth to kittens yesterday :)  4 in total.  The births went really well, text book stuff but now she seems anxious.  Every time anyone goes anywhere near where she's settled (in the bottom of my wardrobe) she jumps up and comes out leaving her kittens sprawling around looking for her - a couple of times she's even pulled them out with her as they were still attached to her nipples, but she has put them back in again. She purrs and rubs against you when she comes out but she does look a bit wide-eyed and anxious to me.  I have a small, quiet room prepared for her where I can put everything she needs (food, water and litter) but was going to leave it a few days or until she decided to move herself.

Also one kitten is clearly the runt and often seems to be left apart from the group when this happens and I'm worried about it.  Sometimes when feeding it cant seem to latch on and mum doesn't seem to realise or be able to do anything.  Should I intervene and how?

I should also add, it's not her first litter but as she was rescued from a place that wasn't taking care of her very well, I haven't been able to find out how many litters she's had or what happened to the kittens - it's possible they died by one means or another, as one of the children asked "when a cat has kittens are they supposed to die?" !

Anyway, I've never done this before so I'd really appreciate any advice you can give.  Thanks.

Ros

ANSWER: Ros,

As a precaution I would suggest packing mom and her newborns up and taking them to be assessed by your local veterinarian just to be certain that there's nothing physically wrong with mom... Sometimes mother cats can be anxious like this if they have a kitten who wasn't born naturally for some reason or if they're having issues with the levels of calcium and magnesium in their blood (which given the fact that mom came from a tough situation is a possibility if her nutritional needs weren't properly seen to prior to pregnancy). You may need to provide special care (bottle or syringe feeds of kitten milk replacer) for the runt as this baby is weaker than the rest however there is a possibility that the vet will be able to assess him/her for any obvious issues that would pose a threat to his/her life. Mom's anxiety about her babies may well be because she expects something untoward to happen to them, but I would suggest playing it safe and having her assessed just in case! Whenever you have a mom with unweaned kittens it is wise to bring her babies along on trips to the vet as it decreases the stress for mom and babies, and when the kittens are neonates as these ones are it ensures that they don't miss any critical feeds or their mom's warmth. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me again at any time - I'm more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Kind regards,

Ali

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Ali, thanks so much for the advice.

Her anxiety seems to have settled somewhat - I made sure everyone left her alone as much as poss and now she only seems to leave the kittens when they are sleeping and goes back regularly to feed and snuggle up with them.  

She has, however, vomited several times and has diorrhea (spelling?!) although she seems quite well in herself and still "asking" for her morning tuna treat, which I didn't give her today as she puked it all up yesterday and vomited a bit of bile this am.  I'm guessing you're going to say take her straight to the vet now!  but I just want to check that that's not a normal postnatal condition, as getting her and the kittens to the vet seems like such an upheaval and i don't want to unduly traumatise her.  

Thanks again
Ros

Answer
Ros,

This isn't normal post natal stuff... Maybe a veterinary house call service would be best in this case because of momma's traumatic history? Vomiting and diarrea can be a sign of a number of things and you don't want the babies to get sick if you can help it! If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me again at any time - I'm more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Kind regards,

Ali

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Ali

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I am the proud guardian of 5 mixed breed cats ranging from 12 weeks to 13 years old and one purebred ragdoll. I have 20+ years experience working with mixed breed cats from a variety of different situations. I have fostered cats/kittens with special needs/behavioral issues. I have rescued/rehabilitated/re-homed a variety of stray/abused cats. I can offer advice on managing feral cat colonies, rehabilitating strays and finding them forever homes. I can help you to determine whether a cat is stray or feral, there IS a significant difference. Improperly introducing a new cat/kitten can result in aggression between newly introduced cats because cats are territorial by nature and they don't like sudden changes in their environment. To learn more about a peaceful way to introduce a new cat into a home with other cats please check out my previous answers on this subject. Proper nutrition for cats can be confusing, I recommend checking out catinfo.org which was created by a veterinarian (Dr. Lisa Pierson) who takes a common sense approach to explaining feline nutrition. Cat behavior and instincts are different from those of humans, I can help you understand your cat's needs so that you can meet them adequately and have a balanced, psychologically and physically sound kitty. Cats vary in personality, energy level and intelligence, different approaches may be required to achieve results in terms of training and interaction with your feline companion. An intelligent, high energy cat must be kept busy or they will make their own fun. I am NOT a licensed veterinarian and I can't offer medical advice. If your cat is ill/injured my advice is always the same: get prompt medical treatment provided by a veterinarian. If finances are an issue I will try to find resources in your area that can help with medical costs or make other choices to ensure the welfare of your cat.

Experience

I have fostered feral and stray cats, rehabilitated and homed cats that many people recommended euthanasia for. I am willing to make an effort to do the research and ask questions because I care enough to find solutions to behavioral problems rather than giving up. I have an interest in the use of alternative therapies to help provide the best possible care for all cats and I can say in all honesty that I've seen some incredible things happen for some incredible cats and their human caregivers when the right alternative therapeutic modality is used by a qualified veterinarian with expertise and experience in the field.

Education/Credentials
I've earned my diploma as a veterinary assistant with honors.

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