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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16287
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hi my cat had a litter of 5 on the 26th July, all were healthy

Customer Question

Hi my cat had a litter of 5 on the 26th July, all were healthy and well. The mum is losing weight rapidly, even tho she is eating very well. I have also been giving her kitten food, complete food and whiskers cat milk to try and build her up. I think maybe the kittens are taking it out of her but the weight lost is getting worse.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with Pacha today.

I do apologize that your question hasn't been answered sooner. Unfortunately, different veterinary experts do come online at different times. That said, as soon as I came online and saw your question, I did want to discuss Pacha's situation with you. Now I share you concern about Pacha's weight loss. From your history, your support and treatments have been spot on thus far. Still can you tell me:

How much weight has she lost since giving birth?

Has she had any diarrhea (a common avenue of nutrient loss) or vomiting?

How is she in herself besides this weight loss?

What stage are you at for weaning these kittens?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for replying, I didnt weigh Pacha before and after pregnancy but she is very very thin.She seems to get worse by the day, you can see and feel her legs and back as just bone.


 


She hasn't really had any diarreea apart from last weekend for the first time and she hada spot of sickness yesterday.


 


Pacha is a laid back cat, which loves a bit of fuss and she is still that cat, the obnly thing is she is crying a bit more during the night to me. She wants food at least twice during the night, wet food that is as there is dry food down all day.


 


With regards XXXXX XXXXX kittens being weened, i have started to try and ween them with kitten milk but they don't seem interested. I am trying so it gives pacha a rest, being they r getting big etc. The kittens have started walking around now, so im hoping that in the next few days there will take the food.


 


Thanks

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information about Pacha and her family.

As I noted before, your approach here has been spot-on for wee Pacha. Worming is always a first step since parasites notoriously take advantage of the way pregnancy and lactation tap the new mum's resources. As well, you were absolutely correct to increase her nutritional plane with access to the more calorically dense kitten food. So, I do commend you with your approach so far.

Now with those bases covered, it means we have to consider out sources of nutrition loss. Opportunistic bacterial or viral diarrhea issues are a very common reason but if she has been losing weight before then and only had a wee bout, then this isn't likely to be our culprit here. And ruling that out means, that we do have to be suspicious (as you have noted) that the other major output --the kittens-- are the source of her weight loss.

And if that is the case then under the circumstances and the concern for Pacha's health, we do need to consider weaning the kittens now. I am glad to see you have already started to do so and I have to say we are lucky that they are already around that 4 week point since this is a fine age to start getting them onto solid food.

Now you noted that you have been giving Pacha some peace and I think that is a good start. Specifically, I would advise separating them for a few hours at a time from her. Ideally, it should be somewhere where she can see them (so she doesn't fret) and somewhere where they have their resources (ie litterbox, milk, food, water, etc). You noted they weren't keen on the kitten milk, but do make sure it is on offer, ideally in a shallow bowl. This is also a good time to interact with them and you can handfeed the milk to them off your fingers and show them the bowl. Usually with help (and a bit of hunger when mum's not available), they will get an idea of the situation and we can get them lapping milk. As well, you can make them a gruel my mixing the kitten milk into canned kitten food. This can again be hand fed until they get the idea of eating on their own. As they start to pick up eating on their own, we can increase the periods of separation from mum and continue to decrease their tapping her body resources so heavily.

At the same time, you do of course, want to keep her on that higher nutritional plane. That said, I would suggest that you could also supplement her with Hill's A/D (LINK) from your local vet. This is a critical care diet that is comes as a soft, palatable pate. It is calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise and this could just help get some more calories into her even if we can’t get a huge volume of food in. Alternatively, you can use the animal version of Ensure (balanced for animals dietary requirements) called Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet (LINK)). It is actually by the same people who make Ensure, but is formulated to meet out pet's dietary needs. Your vet should be able to order it for you but it is available without a prescription (some pet stores and even Amazon stock it as well). It would just be another way to get more nutrition into her to try to keep her current weight stable and prevent further loss. As well, I would strongly suggest weighing Pacha and keeping a diary of her weight. If she continues to lose weight despite decreasing her kitten sources output and further increasing her nutritional inputs, then we'd have to be worried about underlying health issues playing a role (despite the lack of signs, we can see some viral diseases cause issues under these circumstances).

Overall, your approach has been just right but from here we need to increase our initiation of weaning while monitoring Pacha's weight. If you do so and are still seeing her lose, then do consider those critical care diets and potentially having her checked over by her vet to rule out underlying disease. And while we hope it won't be the case, if we cannot get her weight loss under control with the above, then we may even have to consider full removal of the kittens (despite the socialization implications) with initiation of bottle feeding to balance weaning to prevent further harm to mum.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

Dr. B.

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Remember that if you have any lingering questions or concerns, please reply so that we may continue our conversation. I will be happy to work with your further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Please remember to rate my answer when you are satisfied (with4-5 stars or a happy face) so that I may receive credit for my assistance. Thank you & have a great day. : )
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That's some good advise thank you. A few other things i should mention is that we took on Pacha from a pervious owner who hadn't given her, her injections when she was a young one. She's been an indoor cat, was the reason she didn't have them apparently. The cat she mated with wasn't planned she escaped when i went to Thailand for a month and the cat was a feral cat, so i was worried bout infection from him etc. This then meaning i couldn't give her injections or sprayed.


 


Her meow even sounds different and she is constantly hungry. Just thought i would mention this just in case its something within that,it could be. Also i am currently doing those things you suggested with weening the kittens and got one of them to take off the finger :-)


 


Also Pacha does have plenty of time away from the kittens, just need to build her up.


 


Thanks

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hi again,

While a change in meow isn't usually a sign we seen with the communicable diseases we'd be concerned about or pregnancy, the constant hunger is not abnormal in this instance. I'd be more worried if she were not eating for us because at the moment her body is likely screaming at her to eat since she's in a reproductive stage where the nutritional demands on her are at their highest. Specifically, we can see cats appetites increased 2-4 fold from late pregnancy and through lactation. So, the key is feeding her up (as you are) and using diets that are very calorically dense (to get even more nutrition into her and get over the limitations of how much she can physically eat).

In regards XXXXX XXXXX diseases from the feral male and her lack of vaccination, we do have to be a bit concerned. That said, the diseases we'd typically be vaccinating against (ie cat flu, panleukopenia) would cause signs (ie coughing, sneezing, GI signs, etc) that we are not seeing with her. That said, we'd need to keep FIV and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) in the backs of our mind as potential communicable agents that could have been spread to her and could cause weight loss (usually along with other issues). Therefore, under the circumstances, I'd not have them on the top of my list of concerns for Pacha but would say that if she were to continue to lose weight after we'd gotten the kitten situation under control then we might want to consider having her tested for them.

So, at the moment, the kitten's nutritional demands would be a definite reason for her weight loss and therefore what we need to address at this stage. But if we continue to see weight loss or any new signs, then FIV and FeLV would be something to have your vet rule out as a potential issue from mating with a feral.

All the best for wee Pacha,

Dr. B.

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Remember that if you have any lingering questions or concerns, please reply so that we may continue our conversation. I will be happy to work with your further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Please remember to rate my answer when you are satisfied (with4-5 stars or a happy face) so that I may receive credit for my assistance. Thank you & have a great day. : )


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