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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20238
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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A feral cat just had a litter. this is likely her 6th or 7th

Customer Question

a feral cat just had a litter. this is likely her 6th or 7th and she is about 7 years old. she had the litter two days ago and she is not returning to the kittens (she had them out in the wooded area near our home) which is not like her at all. she was always a doting mother with her other kittens. she looks weak; her abdomen is still swollen and her teats are red and swollen. is it possible she has not delivered all her kittens? she is eating and drinking but does not look good; her breathing is a bit labored.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

I have to say that I am quite worried about this lass.

If she has always been a good mother but avoiding her kittens, then we'd be worried that she is withdrawing from them as not to risk them suffering with what is making her unwell. Now swollen mammary glands are not a surprise as she should have milk for her kittens, but if the are red we'd be concerned about a mastitis infection. This can make the glands too sore for her to nurse the kittens and infection can make the milk undrinkable for them. That said, the abdominal distension worries me more. It is possible there is a retained stillborn or placental in her uterus causing systemic troubles. We could also have a metritis from infection getting into the uterus or there are other opportunistic diseases (ie FIP, bacterial peritonitis, etc)that could fit with what we are seeing. And as most of these concerns are infections, they can spread into the bloodstream to make them feel even more unwell and even cause fatalities.

In this case, if she is abandoning them, you may need to collect them and start hand feeding. If they are quite young then they will be impressionable and you may be able to domesticate them with a view to adopting them out once they are weaned. Otherwise, if she is weak, then we'd really want to try to catch her. If she is eating, you can put her food in a humane trap (most cat charities or vets can loan you one) so that you can get her to your vet. That way you can determine which issue is present and potentially help her. Or if, goodness forbid she has FIP or is too poorly to recover, then at least you can keep her from suffering as she is at the moment.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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