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mother cat not interested in her babies

Hi,,

I am a newbie breeder and have had a mothercat that is just not interested enough in her babies. She had 6 beautiful babies but she just wouldn't lay down for them to nurse. I have to make her lay down myself. She does not mind them nursing, but she has no affection at all.. Instead of licking her babies, she puts her affection towards me by licking my hand as I hold her down for the babies to nurse. Her nipples are not erect very much which I think is making it difficult for the babies to nurse.. She was like that for two day until she started licking her babies a bit and only when I put the baby right infront of her.. Unfortunately, the babies did not make it :( it was very difficult for me ..
So I was wondering.. Is this normal for a first time momma cat? Do you think it would be wise to give her a second chance in motherhood??
She is 20 months old ...

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Re: mother cat not interested in her babies

Dear Blaze,

Thanks for posting on our Feline Forum. There are several reasons why a mother will not relax and nurse her kittens. Sometimes the mother is simply not mature enough to understand the drastic changes a litter of kittens demand. I do not believe this to be the situation with your female however. I am often amazed with a queen's instincts when something is not right with a newborn. Such kittens will quickly die from fatal kitten syndrome with the mother quite aware there was a problem which was indicated when she stopped caring for that one baby. When an entire litter of kittens dies it may be due to a blood incompatibility between sire and dam or possibly she may have contracted a virus while carrying her litter which prevented them to thrive once born.

I would not breed her with the same male but try another outcross breeding late in the spring of 2011. If you wish to use the same sire it would be wise to have bloodtest work completed by your vet to determine compatibility between this specific sire and dam. Your vet may also have additional information regarding breeding this queen which I would strongly suggested be followed.

I believe your female understood there was a problem with her litter and did not want to care for them which is quite common. I hope her next litter is successful and I would be interested in your follow up and comments.


Jasmine Kinnear
Feline Behaviour Consultant

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