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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3924
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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I have a 3 year old female cat who has recently had a litter

Customer Question

I have a 3 year old female cat who has recently had a litter of 6 kittens. This is her 4th litter. She has been acting very different with this litter and I am worried about the kittens development.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

1) What are you seeing that is different with this litter?
2) How old are these kittens?
3) Are you seeing any symptoms in the kittens?
4) How is mom doing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

First I think they may have been born prematurely, not sure its so hard to tell. But 3 of the six are still much smaller than the others and they did this wierd panting thing like they were too hot and couldnt breath.

The past two times she had them in a box on the front porch.

But this time, every time we see the kittens, she moves the litter, first hiding them in the bushes, two different places, then into the shed in one dark corner, then the other. She moves them each time we find them. They are 4 weeks old and have never been able to roam outside or play. They all hiss at u if you pick them up and they cry constantly.

I did start feeding mama a richer diet as she was so thin I didn't think she was strong enough to feed all the babies. Since then the smaller kittens look a little healthier.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

1) Where were the kittens when doing the panting? What type of setup is available for them?

2) Do you have video of the kittens, even distantly?

3) Am I correct to assume that they have not had much human contact thus far?

4) What food is being fed to mom now?

5) Are the kittens being weaned at this time?

6) Has a consideration been made to spay the mother? At 3 years old, she's had a litter roughly every 7 months past the point of being fertile. That's rough on a female's body.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

1 - After she had the litter on the porch they were in a box open on one end - it got to 100 degrees and i was worried so i put them in an open wire dog kennel with a rug in the bottom. That way they had air flow all around. Still they panted but no noise. This was the 1st week.

2. I can get video for you tomorrow but I'll have to take them out of their space. She may move them again.

3. Very little human contact. I think we've held them a total of 3 times, like I said, every time we do she moves them.

4. Mom is eating Purina Kibbles and bits and I'm adding canned tuna or canned chicken to it.

5. We started putting kitten food in the space where they are yesterday. Can't tell if they are eating it or mom.

6. Yes we were going to spay her after the last litter but she was already pregnant. We live in the country on 40 acres. She's an outside cat and we can't control the other cats she comes in contact with.

7. I don't want her to have any more kittens, I agree its been very hard on her. She's had an additional kitten each time with her pregnancy. I don't think she could handle another.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

Kittens this young can still pant if they become too hot. This may not be a sign of issues, but the size can certainly suggest something isn't quite right. Perhaps there is an underlying illness such as a congenital issue. That said, it's a good sign that none of the kittens have died.

A video would be very helpful.

Little human contact will result is hissing and crying. They're stressed because they don't understand humans yet. Start bringing them canned food once weaned and you'll quickly become a new friend.

Mom sounds like she's stressed out so she's moving them. If its not human contact that scares her, there may be a predator on the property.

Mom can get pregnant again while she's nursing. You need to get her spayed in the next 2 weeks or this can happen again. If the cats from this litter will also stay, get them altered once they're 8-10 weeks as well and you won't have to worry about this problem. The same risks will exist for any females. Additionally, illnesses can be passed sexually between cats that can claim their life. If you alter them all, the risk goes down exponentially.

I look forward to seeing the video tomorrow.