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View Full Version : Need Cat Advice: Dead Kitten, Distressed Mama Cat


norinew
06-27-2010, 06:14 AM
A little less than a week ago, my girl cat, Harley, had kittens. She did not have proper (read: any) prenatal care, as no one knew she was pregnant. Harley is very young, under a year. I just adopted her (a stray) a couple of months ago.

Friday evening, she barely touched her supper. Yesterday (Saturday), she didn't eat much of her breakfast, and was very clingy all day, following me around, seeming to want something, but I couldn't figure out what. I tried changing the flavor of her food, washing out her water dish and filling it with fresh water, etc.

Last night, I found out what the problem was (speculating): One of her two kittens died. I think she knew it was sick, and wanted me to do something about it. She has cared more about the one who died, since they were born. So maybe she knew it wasn't as healthy as it should be. I don't know.

Anyway, the baby died last night. Now it's just after 6AM, and whenever I make any move to get the dead kitty out of the box she delivered in, she gets very distressed/defensive.

I don't know anything, really, about girl cats. This is the first one I ever had.

So, do I take the dead kitten out immediately and wait for Harley to adjust? Do I wait for a sign that she's ready for me to take it out? I'm at a loss here. Please help, if you know about these things!

Superhal
06-27-2010, 06:28 AM
If the mother hasn't eaten the dead one yet, go ahead, wrap your hand in a towel or t-shirt or something and remove the dead kitten.

Maybe the mother cat is getting distressed about the living one, not the dead one.

Once the dead one is out of sight, the mother will adjust in a couple of hours/days.

norinew
06-27-2010, 06:40 AM
If the mother hasn't eaten the dead one yet, go ahead, wrap your hand in a towel or t-shirt or something and remove the dead kitten.

Maybe the mother cat is getting distressed about the living one, not the dead one.

Once the dead one is out of sight, the mother will adjust in a couple of hours/days.
No, Mama Kitty has shown no signs of wanting to eat the dead kitten. Now I'm getting concerned because the kitten's sibling seems to be trying to 'nudge' the dead one back to life. :(

Superhal
06-27-2010, 06:43 AM
Is the mother feeding the living one? Is the other kitty crying constantly?

norinew
06-27-2010, 07:01 AM
Is the mother feeding the living one? Is the other kitty crying constantly?
The mother is nursing the still-living one. The remaining baby is not crying constantly, no.

I gave the Mama breakfast a few minutes ago. She got out of her box and seemed to want to eat. She took a few bites, then got back in her box with her remaining baby.

Normally, when I give her a can of food, she scarfs it down in about two minutes.

Superhal
06-27-2010, 07:06 AM
Everything sounds ok. You should dispose of the dead one when you have the chance.

First litters are difficult for younger cats. My cat delivered 4 stillborn her first time.

It's normal for a cat to take a few bites then go back to nursing. She was probably eating more before because she was pregnant.

Palo Verde
06-27-2010, 04:43 PM
She will adjust quickly once the dead baby is removed. Cats don't have long memories.

But get that moma cat spayed as soon as possible! Thousands of cats are euthanized each year and the world just doesn't need more kittens.

Cat Whisperer
06-27-2010, 05:27 PM
Based on nothing much at all, I'd say mama has had a chance to see and smell the dead kitten and understand as much as a cat can that it's dead, and it's time to take it out and give it a proper burial.

Was it the one she kept lying on?

hellpaso
06-27-2010, 07:18 PM
Cats don't have long memories.



I disagree--we hadn't seen my daughter's cat in 4 years and when we did visit he was all over us (and he hides from everybody else).
The mama cat will mourn her little one, but since she has the other kitten it will keep her occupied. Please remove the dead baby asap, and really do consider having mama spayed.

Markxxx
06-27-2010, 07:57 PM
I ain't no cat but I'd feel creepy with a dead thing next to me :)

Spoons
06-27-2010, 09:38 PM
I disagree that cats have short memories, but I will agree that they have common sense. Having had members of our feline family die before, I can tell you that the other cats are a little distressed for a few days--a familiar friend is no longer there. But they adjust to being without their friend, and life goes on.

In this case, a kitten has died. Mama probably knows this, and is somewhat distressed. But she is also unsure what to do next. She is looking to you to help somehow. Your job is to remove the kitten, and dispose of it by any legal means. Mama and the other kitten will adjust just fine, in time.

I'll agree with the "get Mama spayed" advice.

Johnny L.A.
06-27-2010, 09:47 PM
But get that moma cat spayed as soon as possible!

really do consider having mama spayed.

I'll agree with the "get Mama spayed" advice.

'If you can't take care of your kittens, then you shan't have any more!'

(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

norinew
06-27-2010, 10:08 PM
Based on nothing much at all, I'd say mama has had a chance to see and smell the dead kitten and understand as much as a cat can that it's dead, and it's time to take it out and give it a proper burial.

Was it the one she kept lying on?
Actually, the one that died was the second one born, more than three hours after the first one, and was not the one she kept lying on. We are theorizing now that Harley had a harder delivery with the second than we knew (it happened overnight while we were sleeping), and Harley knew from the start that the second one was more fragile. Therefore, she was more considerate of the second one.

Once my 10YO daughter came home from church, we buried the kitten. Harley sat at the front door and watched us the whole time. :(
But, once we were done (maybe an hour later), she finished all of her breakfast. When I gave her supper tonight, she ate pretty much all of it, and has spent most of the day in the box with the other kitten. I think she is saddened by the loss of her kitten, but feels better with it gone.

Tequila Mockingbird
06-28-2010, 03:00 PM
Poor Harley. You did the right thing and glad she's doing better.

norinew
06-28-2010, 09:05 PM
Poor Harley. You did the right thing and glad she's doing better.
I just posted this because I truly didn't know what 'the right thing' was. But she's absolutely back to eating regularly, twice a day, and spending lots of time with her remaining kitty.

I'm glad it all turned out OK. Sometimes I'm a little too compassionate. :(

Cat Fight
06-28-2010, 09:11 PM
Just :(