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Old 08-10-04, 09:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy angry and upset

Female stray cat had a litter of 6 kittens about 24 hours ago. I sat up through the whole process, and made sure everything was ok, and took them all to the vet yesterday afternoon.

Vet told me everything looked good, and to let them alone and let them rest, and call her if I had any problems.

This morning all but one of them are dead.

Ive been crying a lot, and I realized that I feel about vets the way you all feel about the pet store people. The difference is I paid specifically for an "expert opinion" to make sure they were ok and alive and healthy, and was told they were, and to leave them and mom be and let them get rest. I myself was so exhausted from having stayed up all night to attend, that was easy for me to do. Clearly this was not a good call.

Now the one remaining kitten has been taken away from momma kitty- who was stepping all over them this morning and isnt paying them any mind, as far as I can tell, though she was yesterday, and we made sure all the kitties nursed.

He is in my room on a heating pad set on low and covered over many times, with a stuffed toy for comfort, getting kmr every 2 to 3 hours. I am trying not to hover, and I am definitely NOT optimistic at this point.

I am so upset, I was so excited about my 6 kittens, especially once the vet said it should all be fine. To me that meant I could relax a little, trusting in what she said, and from the vet's office at 5pm yesterday, it was just over 12 hours for all but 1 to be gone. I feel gross, and depressed, and like I should have done something different, though I dont know what. I called the vet's office and they are supposed to call me back. I know they are just going to say "sometimes these things happen." But I wasn't prepared to lose the whole litter in one night. I feel like she misled me, not that I am saying its her fault, but I cant believe they are ALL gone.

Sometimes being an animal lover sucks.

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Old 08-10-04, 10:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you know why they died? Perhaps the mother trampled the other five as you say she was doing with the sixth. I really don't think that it's fair to blame the vet, she provided her expert opinion and was perhaps mistaken, however, if five apparently healthy kittens died in such a short time I would suspect that the problem was in their environment or care. Did the temps get to hot? I hate to say it but 'sometimes these things happen'
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Old 08-10-04, 10:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Did you consider the possibility that the mother smothered her young? Just like hamsters eat the young that they don't feel will survive (or that they don't want to take care of), a mommy cat who is either unable or unwilling to nurse her young will sometimes smother them. I've heard of this happening many times before. So maybe the vet was an ok person after all.
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Old 08-10-04, 10:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh I said i knew it wasnt the vet's fault. I just feel a tad misled by her. I asked all these questions of her. And no cam- only the one kitty is on heat. The vet told me the heat of each other and their mother would be plenty for them in their box. She knew my set up, I asked gory, detailed questions, I asked what i should do, and look for, and she told me everything was fine and to let them be, and I did. I went to bed last night at 1 am, after making sure all of them were on a nipple. By 8:30 am when hubby got up, four of them were gone. By 10, 2 more were.

Also, ken, I asked the vet if her smothering them was possible, and she said "Anything is possible, but I wouldn't worry about that." So, I didn't. I am starting to think now that i should have, but the vet said she seemed like a good mom, and it would be fine. Well its NOT fine.

ANYways now im all tangential, and I know it's not the vet's fault, or my fault, or anybody's fault. I just feel awful.
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Old 08-10-04, 12:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Have you thought about sending one of the bodies in to be tested? You said this was a "stray" cat, perhaps she had a disease? Unless you asked the vet to test the mother and kittens for all possible diseases, she might not have known there was anything wrong in the first place.
And I REALLY really hate to say this.... but, as others have pointed out, somethings these things happen and there's nothing you can do about it.
I wish you the best of luck with the survivor!!
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Old 08-10-04, 01:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Being that the mother was a stray it could possibly have been her first litter. The stress of moving the kittens right after being born may have turned moms instincts to raise the babies off. So sorry for your loss.

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Old 08-10-04, 06:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Losing newborns is not uncommon in mammal breeding, and I agree with the other posters - if it was a stray cat you know nothing about the history or health, even breeding health of the animal whether it be any sort of problems in the 'line' or bad moms. First litters seem to be somewhat of a learning experience, however cats are much more prepared instinctually and physically for completely unaided deliveries, unlike dogs.

Sorry for your loss, though. So hard to say what it could have been. I'm sure there are helpful cat breeders that could give you some insight if you can contact any.
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Old 08-10-04, 06:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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it sounds to me like they died, not because they were ill, but because the mother did not know how to properly care for them. if this was her first litter, it is very probable. young queens (as female cats are called) are often unable or unwilling to properly care for their first litter, and without human intervention lose all or most of them. she will probably be a better mother in the future. so, i dont think it was the vet's fault, since nuthin was really wrong with the kittens. and its not your fault either since there is no way u could have known that she would not take care of them. it is good that u have now taken the remaining kitten away from her, altho it may be difficult to rear it as it will require near constant attention until it is at least a few weeks old. hope it works out!
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Old 08-10-04, 06:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have seen this many times with wild cats, being their past and diets while carrying a litter. Most times its nothing neither the mother did or a disease. All mammals with poor diets can easily get mastitis, simply put, rotten milk. When this happens, the clostrum the babies need at birth is litterally poisoned and the babies have no chance. I highly doubt that the mother whether wild or not smoothered the kittens.
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Old 08-10-04, 08:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This is so sad...I have raised many kittens (from day-olds to 3 weeks old, all bottle fed), and had a few die in my hands One kitten I was bottle feeding died in between 2 feedings (6 AM was fine, 7:30 AM was gone ).
So sorry you had to go through this, it is so hard to see those innocent little babies lifeless.
Hope you feel better soon.

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Old 08-11-04, 12:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah- I was just so angry at the vet this morning. She finally called me back and was very laisse faire about the whole thing, which stung a bit more. I did consider necropsy- but as other's have pointed out it could be so many things that even a necropsy may not tell, and I am on a really tight budget right now, so I opted not too, mostly just because I cant right now.

However- this morning the cat was stepping all over the kittens, including the living ones (when we woke up 3 were gone, and in another hour we lost 2 more) and the vet herself said that was quite unusual as usually the mother cat will push the dead ones away and focus on the remaining kittens.

Causes could be:

Diseases transferred from the mother
Bacterial infection
Sepsis
Kittens having a different blood type than mom (in which case her colostrum would have attacked their systems, not quite the same as rotten milk- vet expressed and checked the colostrum)
Mom letting the kittens get to cold
Mom refusing to nurse the kittens
Mom killing the kitttens on purpose
A number of other things

Since a necropsy cant determine all that (and the rest can only be ruled out by extensive *and expensive* tests), and I cant afford the vet bills for more, I will just have to keep hand raising the one kitten, and hope for the best.

I guess the reason I was mad at the vet, is cats are my thing, and i also have rescued many kittens and cats alike. I do know what I am doing in the world of cats. I have never had a queening cat before though, and as far as I understood it once I got through the birthing process, which went really well, and got them through the well check (which is supposed to happen within 24 hours after birth, and thats why I went so soon), then I was out of the proverbial woods. All the kittens I have had before, even at a day old, have had no mom. Since this was my first "with mom" experience, as I understood it the mom was supposed to be fine to take care of them. I watched for rejection and the vet asked me about it, but she was quite attentive and nursing them, so I felt fine about it. The vet seemed to share these feelings when I went and she told me they were fine and to let them be and rest. Once I had her ok, I was finally able to "celebrate" them being born, and I wasnt at all prepared to wake up the next morning to all of them gone. Sorry if my first post was harsh. I needed to vent and all you guys are such an awesome sounding board, so you got pre-coffee and pre-nicotine Artemis, in the throws of coping with what was a huge loss for me. I know hindsight is 20/20- but I wish the vet had told me to set my clock and check on them every few hours, then we might not have lost all of them, or even if we still did, I wouldnt feel like there was more I could have done, like I do now. If I ever rescue another stray queen, (which honestly at the moment I am not feeling really positive about doing) then I will definitely be much more paranoid for at least the first week.

To answer question of others- its a neighborhood cat that adopted us and my deck. There are TONS of ferals with litters of kittens that all seem fine, so I halfway wonder if I had just left her out there if more of them would have made it. She did go for a well check before they were born, too, and aside from being a bit skinny the vet said she didnt see any reasons to be concerned. It is not her first litter according to the vet, as she is over a year old based on her dental exam, and if she has been outside this long unspayed this is probably not the second litter, either. She was in our care for 2 weeks indoors on kitten chow (queening cats eat kitten chow for the extra nutrients)and nutri-cal (a grody brown toothpaste looking supplement). Mom isnt doing so good right now, and she is very upset at us. I am not even sure if she realizes they died, I think she thinks we took them away, as she is pointedly mad at US.

Interestingly enough- final kitten is still doing ok, and I am hoping we get through a week, if we can do that I will feel a little better. We buried the rest of the kittens tonight. Loved for a day, at least.

Thanks for writing guys- Ill let you know how the kitten is doing. And I apologize for bashing the vet, even if I am a bit bitter still, I know vet's do good work, and there are no guarantees, I was just.. well.. you know.

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Old 08-11-04, 04:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yeah- I was just so angry at the vet this morning. She finally called me back and was very laisse faire about the whole thing, which stung a bit more. I did consider necropsy- but as other's have pointed out it could be so many things that even a necropsy may not tell, and I am on a really tight budget right now, so I opted not too, mostly just because I cant right now.
She was probably very 'laisse faire' about the whole thing because this is not a rare occurance, in regards to the death of newborn kittens. As for 'finally' calling you back, vets are responsible for surgeries and calling back the in-clinic patience. Working at a vet clinic I know how busy it gets and how hard making call-backs can be. A lady with some dead kittens frankly is on the bottom of their priority list. Like you say, the mother cat was in, from what you can see in plain eyesight, good condition and thus there was no reason for you, or the vet, to think that intervention was required.

Anyhow, the most important part is realizing none of this is your fault, nor the vets, and it is just a part of nature. Have you considered nuturing the remaining kitten yourself, being that there suggestively was an apparant problem with the mother?
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Old 08-11-04, 07:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I feel for you. I have been breeding persian cats and rotti dogs for many years and the last litter that my girl had was in a stressful enviroment(i was staying with my sister and she did not like my cat) when she gave birth i know that something was wrong.she was not paying any mind to the babies except for one.the others died(she knew sometime was wrong with them)and then 1 week later to the day she gave birth to 2 more and one died. So she had 7 babies and 2 lived. Sometimes thing just happen but the vet should have told you just to leave then for a few days even a week before bringing them into see her as the mother may kill them or eat them,she may have been new to this and was not sure what to do and taking them to the vets may have just stressed her out more(not that that has anything to do with you). It is very truth the old saying that cats will refuse their babies if someone they dont know touches them.VERY TRUE. I have had many litters and even with my girl she just had babies 1 week ago and when i checked on them she will still sort of hide them but does not mind me touching them or looking at them as i am the one that helps her. i hope the baby is ok and that it works out. I have a soft spot for all animals big and small so if you have any questions you can always ask. I have had to raise kittens from birth before so i maybe able to help. Not saying that i know more then you but i have been breeding cats for along time. good luck with your new baby.
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Old 08-11-04, 09:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Are you going to get the mother fixed? If you have many feral cats and kittens around you should. I'm not trying to sound harsh but feral cats decimate small game animals because they are such accomplished hunters. There are very few predators to pose a threat to them and they overpopulate an area rather quickly.

I sorry for your loss as I love animals and hate to hear something like this, I hope that you feel better soon and at least give your vet another chance.

Take care,

( I know I sound like an A**h*** but I don't mean it that way )
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Old 08-11-04, 09:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by tHeGiNo
As for 'finally' calling you back, vets are responsible for surgeries and calling back the in-clinic patience. Working at a vet clinic I know how busy it gets and how hard making call-backs can be.
Tell me about it. It's been a month and a half waiting for my vet to call me about some test results. Still waiting. But I'm hoping those surgeries will slow down in the next few months so I can finally get those results.
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