While I was away at work tonight the cat I adopted a week or two ago gave birth to three tiny kittens. Unfortunately, one of them was stillborn. I don’t know much about it, but it seemed to have expired some time ago. She had buried it under the blankets in the corner by the time I got home. The other two seem pretty normal. Flickr is acting up, but I promise to have pictures of them up by tomorrow afternoon. I haven’t got any good photos of them yet, as they are kind of wiggly and obscured much of the time by their mom. The mom seems to be leaking a little fluid/blood, is that normal? I’ll be calling the vet in the morning if it hasn’t stopped. Also, should I be seeing little milk moustaches on the kittens? I’ve never had kittens before, really. Any help would be appreciated. In the meantime, I’ll be working on the pics!
It’s somewhat normal for one kitten of a litter to be stillborn. The momcat naturally doesn’t want a dead kitten near her living ones. As for leaking fluid, well, when I gave birth, I leaked fluids for a couple of months. I think that cats don’t leak for nearly as long.
Give the mom high quality kitten food. She needs the calories. Also, make sure she has a good supply of clean, fresh water. Making milk is thirsty work. Starting now, try to handle the kittens at least 15 minutes a day, if the mom will let you. That way, they will be well socialized to humans.
And when you call the vet, ask him/her when you can get Momcat in to get spayed. Kittens are adorable, but believe me, the world already has enough of them.
I’ve already spoken to the vet about having her spayed–he said not till the kittens are weaned, because it could interfere with milk production. I’m of the opinion that pets shouldn’t be bred unless there are already people who want the offspring–I’d find homes for puppies first, and then decide to actually make some. But then I’m not the Ruler of the Universe. I’ll probably make sure each kitten is spayed/neutered before it leaves my home for a new one. She actually let me clean out her box, put in fresh beddding and everything, and even move the kittens to my bed to examine them and take pictures. They seem pretty wiggly and energetic, so I assume that means they are all right.
The stillborn kitten was oddly bigger than the others, and a totally different color. I wonder if maybe he was from an earlier pregnancy that didn’t turn out right. I wrapped him up in a towel and put him away, but now I’m wondering how I’m going to dispose of him. I’ll figure it out in the morning I guess.
Ok, Flickr is acting up but here are a few:
Mommy cat in nest(which is my spare rabbit cage I pulled out this morning and stuffed full of fluffy covers. After I cleaned up the birth mess I filled the bottom with a nice fuzzy vellux blanket and covered it to keep in the warmth)
I have avoided cats most of my life because my beloved great-grandmother was a collector, and the smell of cat urine brings back pretty bad memories of the squalor and vicious, unsocialized cats that inhabited her house when I was a small child. I’ve avoided having them as pets until recently, having proven to myself that I have a reasonable amount of self control. So, questions, should anybody care to answer–by handling the kittens for 15 minutes, does that mean holding, petting, sitting them on my lap? Should I move them from the nest or reach my hand in to touch them? The mother is no obstacle, but I don’t want to make them sick or cold. Also, I have observed her partially lying on the kittens, but they don’t seem to mind. Is she likely to smother them? And finally, even though they are only about 12 hours old, they seem pretty active when they are awake… will they wander away from the nest, in their seemingly blind and deaf state, and get lost? The sides are high enough to prevent that for now, but in a week, I don’t know. Will the mother cat find them and bring them back if they make a run for it? Thanks to Lynn Bodoni and anyone else who sees fit to respond!
mama cat is doing a great job.
the time to worry is if you see she is not letting a kitten nurse or is pushing the kitten away. otherwise let mama do the work and you have the fun.
you can gently hold the kittens, and being they are really, really, tiny, use a finger or two to stroke the kitten. just get them familar with a human, mama will teach them cat manners.
it is really amazing how quickly they learn things. one day they won’t be able to get out of the box the next morning they will be able to plop over the side. it will take about a week. they can get really far for not having 4 feet under them yet.
with in about 2 weeks they will get their mittens (feet look like bear claws right now) and whisker puffs and look like wee kittys. right now they look like tiny bear cubs!
enjoy and take lots and lots of pictures!
You realize we expect weekly picture updates so that our heads may asplode from the cuteness!!!11111!!!
::head assplodes from cuteness::
Itty bitty kitties! Not really a committee tho.
star: I think your wee overlords will guide you for the most part. It would be wise to keep them confined to a small territory at first, though.
Kittens usually aren’t hard to litter train. I applaud your awareness of your new responsibilities, and envy you your darling little snuggly fuzzbutts.
It has been so long since I have been around really little kittens. I still remember sitting in front of a large basket and having a litter of 2-3 week olds kitties climb all over me. I almost want to breed kittens just so my kids can experience this joy, but I keep doing the right thing instead.
Enjoy the kittens, it is an incredible experience.
They only get cuter in the next week or two.
I don’t know if you call the tiny fuzzball kitten one or kitten two, but the one without any white is just killing me with the aww it’s so tiny and now I want it! cute. If I weren’t in St Louis, I’d be in line to adopt that wittle meow-meow.
Far too cute. I love the pictures of Antigone - every picture seems to have her smiling happily to herself. I hope she gets a good home - she looks like a very nice cat.
Antigone is a great cat, even though I’ve only known her for two weeks. She’s very affectionate and sweet, and she loves attention. Plus, she hasn’t been climbing all over my desk and knocking things off. She hasn’t teased the rabbits. She’s a little aggressive towards my male cat, but they’ll adjust, and if not she’s getting a new home as soon as I can find a good one anyway. I think if I had to keep any of them, it would be her. Or maybe Kitten 2, the one without any white. He is tiny and precious, and even though the pics are a little fuzzy, you can totally see the M on his forehead already. I’m off to pick up my male cat from the vet (he was neutered yesterday) but I’ll be working on more pics this afternoon!
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Tonight I got a few shots of the kittiesminus momor my handsin the way. Just a pair of tweezers, with which I was hunting for fleas. I collected a few pieces of what I thought were tapeworms from her bedding and took them to the vet this afternoon when I got my other cat, and that’s exactly what they were. So Friday she and the kittens are tagging along with my dalmatian to his checkup so they can get some treatment for tapeworms. Meantime, I’m the Flea Destroyer! Grr!
Yes indeedy. In fact, she will worry herself half to death when the babies are able to explore the big world outside their nest.
As for handling them, I think that the best way is to just cuddle them and tell them how adorable they are. They will protest, and then suddenly one day a teensy little light will go off in their heads, and they will realize that getting ear scritches feels GOOD. Your main goal here is to just get them used to humans touching them. They need to learn that it’s GOOD to be picked up and petted. They need to learn this now, because there is a window to learn it, and that window is before they are weaned. It’s good to pet the momcat at the same time, and tell her what a good job she’s doing.
Generally, cats are very good mothers.
And, of course, those babies are ADORABLE. I love to see just born kittens.
Oh, yes. Cats are normally very good about this, and Antigone has only two kittens to worry about. I wouldn’t worry unless you have large, playful dogs or unusually aggressive other cats.
Also, to chime in with Lynn, this is the time to train them to enjoy being held, while they’re young. We make a point of getting our kittens when they’re too young and stupid to realize that being held upside down like a baby is uncomfortable and so train them to enjoy it and seek it out. We did this so thoroughly with our latest that he actually enjoys tummy rubs, and will roll over and request them on his own.
Some of my absolute favorite memories as a teen and young adult was the three times in my life I’ve gotten to experience a litter of kittens like that. Man. Sometimes I hate being responsible.
I do have another cat, but he was fixed Monday, and he’s not the aggressive sort anyway. I don’t think he will bother them. He isn’t even aware of Antigone’s presence until she walks by his corner and hisses at him, and then he forgets about her after she leaves. I don’t think he knows there are kittens. I also have two large, playful dogs, but if I am alseep or away from the house they are put up, so the kittens are safe. Ghost would probably just try to cuddle them anyhow, he’s just a huge baby.