Saturday, January 5, 2013

Caturday Saturday....Kittening Advice


Back when I was still breeding Cornish Rex kittens, another blogger asked if I would write a post about how I prepared for the arrival of kittens, because even in rescue and foster homes, caregivers can be called upon to also be midwives!



And last week, Robin of Covered in Cat Hair, emailed me to see if I had information that would be helpful to the foster mom of a pregnant kitty...

So, I went into my files and gathered up some info and Robin was so grateful for the advice that she, too, saved it for future reference.


That reminded me to share those documents again, to help kitties out there who might be in the 'motherly way'. Being a vet tech and all, I like to end my day knowing I helped a kitty in some way, and so today, I'm happy to share my thoughts and experience with all of you!


This first article is from a seminar given by two Veterinarians who are reproductive specialists (Theriogenologists). It's wordy, but worth reading if you think you may have to care for a kitty who hasn't been spayed yet...

The reproductive cycle of the cat is dependent on photo-period (i.e., the length of time the cat is exposed to light). Cats are long day breeders and require 12 hours of light to maintain normal cycles. Puberty in the cat usually occurs at 5 to 12 months of age. Because cats are seasonal breeders, the season in which the kitten was born influences when puberty occurs. The seasonal influence on the reproductive cycle is more pronounced in feral cats since they are not subjected to artificial lighting. Long-haired breeds tend to be more seasonal than short-haired breeds. Queens ovulate in response to copulation; this is called induced ovulation. Other domestic species which are subject to induced ovulation are the rabbit, ferret and camel. If cats are not bred, they cycle into a heat or estrus on an average of every 2 or 3 weeks, with an average interval between heats of 8 to 10 days. Estrus can last 2 to 16 days (average of 7.4) and then subside for 3 to 14.

Proestrus is the first stage of heat when the female is attractive to but not willing to accept the male; her behavioral changes (e.g., vocalizing, "dragster posture", treading) do not mean she will be receptive. Behavioral changes are more pronounced in actual estrus; this period's length of which is NOT affected by breeding, although the period following it is. Ovulation is triggered by copulation or mechanical stimulation of the vagina/cervix. Nerves in the cervix and vagina lead to a pathway in the spinal cord. Stimulation of these nerves causes the brain (specifically the hypothalmus) to release gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) which acts on the pituitary, resulting in release of luteinizing hormone (LH). LH, in turn, acts on the follicles, stimulating ovulation and development of the corpus luteum. Ovulation can also be induced with hormone injections. Injection of GnRH stimulates ovulation by bypassing the neural pathway. The hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) has LHlike activity and can be used as well as GnRH or mechanical stimulation to cause ovulation.
There are three possible courses which the feline estrous cycle can take: 

1. proestrus - estrus - not mated or mated but no ovulation, and return to estrus in 3 to 15 days; 
2. proestrus - estrus - mated - ovulation without fertilization, pseudo pregnancy for 33 to 45 days; 
3. proestrus - estrus - mated - ovulation with fertilization, pregnancy.

Ovulation depends on an adequate amount of LH being released. The release of LH depends on the day that the queen is bred and the number and frequency of the matings. Ovulation is more certain if the queen is bred 4 or more times on the third day of estrus. In contrast, when queens are bred 2 or 3 times on the first day of heat or bred only once on the third day, ovulation may fail to occur. Thus, owners should try to get a sufficient number of matings, preferably on the third day of estrus, to help ensure ovulation.

When the follicle ovulates and releases the egg, the structure formed is called a corpus luteum, or yellow body, which produces progesterone. Therefore, progesterone levels in the blood can indicate ovulation. However, there can be ovulation without fertilization whether from mechanical or hormonal induction or from breeding by a sterile male. The result of ovulation without fertilization is pseudo-pregnancy for a period of approximately one and one half months. During pseudo-pregnancy, changes may be seen in the mammary glands and maternal behavior; even the uterus enlarges under the hormonal influence. However, it is unusual to see lactation in queens as a result of pseudo-pregnancy. The queen returns to heat approximately one to two weeks after the end of pseudo-pregnancy.

If the queen is mated, ovulates, and is fertilized, labor takes place 56 to 67 days after mating or 63 to 66 days from ovulation. The variation in gestation length results because the queen may be mated for several days during estrus. Thus, ovulation may result from one of several breedings and not necessarily the one witnessed and recorded. Eggs ovulate 2 to 4 days after the LH peak. This could account for a minor age difference in kittens if eggs ovulate at different times. It is possible for two males to produce kittens in the same litter; this is called superfecundation.

Palpation can detect kittens as early as 16 days after ovulation, but after 30 days it is difficult to diagnose pregnancy or distinguish between pregnancy and pyometra (i.e., a pus filled uterus) with simple palpation. At approximately day 45, kittens can be palpated but cannot be verified to be live. However, ultrasound can be used for this purpose and to diagnose pregnancy from day 17 until birth, although the equipment is very expensive. Ultrasound is particularly valuable during the period in gestation between 30 and 45 days. It is also useful near term to verify live fetuses. X-rays can detect the fetal skeleton from approximately 38 days until term. In contrast, an enlarged uterus seen on X-ray prior to day 38 may be due to pyometra or pregnancy.

There are high levels of estrogen, the hormone responsible for estrus behavior, during heat. Some pregnant cats can act like they are in heat, even near term, because of a rise in estrogen. Progesterone, produced by the corpora lutea, is the hormone which helps to maintain pregnancy. In a pseudo-pregnancy, the progesterone level drops off after 35 to 45 days. During pregnancy, the placenta produces the necessary progesterone. Therefore, after 45 days of gestation, the queen can carry the kittens to term without the benefit of the ovaries. Relaxin is a hormone which relaxes the tissues in the birth canal at term to allow for birth of the kitten. This hormone is present only in the pregnant queen from the third or fourth week of gestation to term. In the future, the presence of relaxin may prove to be a useful method for pregnancy diagnosis. Prolactin, the hormone of lactation, rises when the progesterone level falls near term. There is no rise of prolactin in the pseudo-pregnant cat.

There are unsubstantiated reports of a pregnant queen being bred later during pregnancy on another heat (superfetation). The kittens would differ in age by some weeks. Although the hormonal mechanisms exist for this possibility in the cat, its occurrence has never been documented scientifically.

The caloric intake should be boosted by a during pregnancy but not before mid-gestation. While an increase in caloric intake before breeding may be beneficial in increasing the litter size, high caloric intake right after breeding may result in early embryonic death. Vitamin A deficiency will result in a failure of implantation or fetal deformities, while too much vitamin A can be toxic. Calcium, vitamin E and taurine are important as is the total amount and quality of protein. Protein can be boosted with the addition of a limited amount of liver, but must be in the right proportion to be effective and not detrimental.

Labor or parturition is divided into three states: 
1. The preparatory stage, during which the queen may appear nervous, vocalize and rearrange her bedding; 
2. Delivery of the kittens, characterized by contractions; inexperienced queens may groan and bite at the kittens; the first kitten is usually delivered between 3-5 and 30-60 minutes after the onset of this stage; 
3. Delivery of the placenta, may follow each kitten or come after the birth of two kittens since there are two horns to the uterus..

Stage II usually resumes after a 10 to 60 minute rest and delivery is usually completed in 2 to 6 hours but may last 10 to 12 hours. Some queens may actually go overnight between deliveries. The notion that a drop in temperature predicts delivery in 24 hours is not reliable in the cat (as it is in the bitch) since cats do not require a drop in progesterone to initiate labor.

As a breeder, you should learn to recognize problems during delivery; a difficult delivery is termed dystocia. Signs of dystocia are: 
1. strong and ineffective contractions for over 2 hours - needs immediate attention; 
2. weak and unproductive contractions which are diminishing in frequency - possible uterine inertia, needs attention; 
3. green vaginal discharge in the absence of a kitten - possible retained placenta; 
4. partially presented kitten - obvious problem; 
5. a delay of 2 to 3 hours after the uneventful birth of a kitten - may or may not be a problem, should be checked to make sure no problem exists unless it is that particular queen's normal pattern.
After delivery, the time of the onset of the next heat will be determined by several factors. If the queen is lactating, it will be postponed. After a 7 week location, a period of anestrus follows, resulting in the first estrus after parturition occurring in approximately 12 weeks. Shortening the period of lactation generally shortens the period of anestrus following it. Although estrus during lactation has been reported, it has not been scientifically documented. It the kittens are weaned at 3 days of age, or the queen aborts, estrus may occur as early as 1 week postpartum.

To induce estrus, simulate seasonal breeding with at least 12 hours of good light to promote cyclicity. Housing queens in groups help to stimulate estrus as does close contact with the male. Transporting the queen (to the male, etc.) Can either help or hinder. Estrus can be induced with FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) but fertility may be reduced. Cats are easily affected by environment. There may be problems due to heredity, management, quirks of nature, etc. Age could affect litter size in very young or old queens, a very small litter (1 or 2 kittens) may allow the kittens to develop to a large size. The size of the kitten is genetic to a large extent but the queen is the one feeding the kitten before birth and influences it accordingly.

INFERTILITY
Infertility in the female may be classified into five general types: 

1. failure to cycle 
2. failure to cycle normally
3. failure to breed
4. failure to conceive and, 
5. failure to carry to term


FAILURE TO CYCLE
A queen may fail to cycle for many different reasons. She may not be old enough and/or big enough to have attained puberty. Most queens will enter their first heat between five and 12 months of age. They also need to attain a threshold body weight (about 2.4 Kg.) before cycling commences. Some kittens may be born out of the normal queening season (i.e. in winter) and will be too young to cycle during the first natural breeding season. Such a queen would mature during the off-season and be older than most when she finally did start to cycle. Thus, it is probably best to wait until the queen is at least fourteen to eighteen months before running numerous and expensive tests to determine the reason for not cycling.

A normal cat may not seem to cycle because an owner might not know what to look for when a queen comes into heat. The queen's social status may also result in the signs of her estrus being suppressed within a colony of cats. The very young or old may not display the estrual signs as clearly as queens of optimal breeding age. a blood test for progesterone analysis could be done to detect if a queen has cycled. a high progesterone concentration should mean the female has functional corpora lutea (i.e. has cycled), but a low concentration would tell us relatively little.

Premature ovarian failure (premature menopause in a four or five year old cat) could be a reason that a queen does not cycle. FSH and LH can be tested to see if the ovaries are feeding back normally on the pituitary. Unfortunately, there are very few labs that run a clinical test for RSH and LH.

Chromosome abnormalities usually result in a queen that fails to cycle. a karyotype (chromosome analysis) can be performed on a blood sample for approximately $70. In addition, continued inbreeding, especially in some exotic lines where the genetic base is getting very narrow may cause problems which result in anestrus and infertility. Finally, hypothyroidism, although rare in the cat, must be considered as a possibility when a cat fails to cycle.

We must never forget that, when trying to breed a queen that has been obtained from an outside source, she may have previously had an ovariohysterectomy (i.e. been spayed).

FAILURE TO CYCLE NORMALLY
A queen may be cycling but displaying odd or erratic cycles because she is not cycling normally. Although not an abnormal cycle, she might not ovulate when bred. Failure to ovulate results in a variable interval between heats before a subsequent return to estrus. People that are not knowledgeable about the queen's cycle are often concerned about a cat that is always in heat. If accurate records are kept it will probably be noticed that estrus does indeed stop! Follicular cysts are follicles on the ovary that mature, fail to ovulate, yet persist and produce estrogen so the queen appears to be in constant heat. These cysts, once accurately diagnosed, can be treated with GnRH. The GnRH induces the follicle to luteinize, so a normal diestrus period can result. Luteal cysts (or persistent corpora lutea) are probably a continuation of follicular cysts, but they do partially luteinize and produce just enough progesterone to prevent the queen from returning to estrus.

FAILURE TO BREED
Once it has been established that the queen has normal estrous cycles, infertility may lie with the actual breeding itself. Perhaps the queen is not even in heat. Sexually inexperienced queens sometimes will not breed very well, even though they experience a good, normal heat. Some queens and toms are physically incompatible for breeding. The male may be too short or the female may be too long to accomplish successful breeding. If the tom is socially dominated by a queen in his household, then she may exert social dominance in the breeding situation and refuse to mate. Some queens simply prefer another male or male type. The queen may be a pampered pet with absolutely no feline social interaction prior to placing her with the male and expecting appropriate sexual behavior. It is therefore important to observe the breeding to assure that copulation is actually occurring.

FAILURE TO CONCEIVE
If breeding has not been observed, and the queen does not become pregnant, the tom may not be breeding the queen, or he may be sterile. The vagina may be flushed after breeding (or suspected breeding) to search for sperm cells. The presence of cells definitely indicates breeding occurred, but their absence does not tell us he is sterile. Everything about the breeding may have gone normally, and the queen still did not become pregnant. A study in a large cattery showed that thirtythree per cent of infertility was the result of a physical abnormality within the reproductive tract. Surgical exploration early in the course of infertility might help diagnose these problems. Vaginitis may be a cause of infertility. Preliminary data from our lab has shown that E. Coli is the predominant normal vaginal flora along with occasional Staph. and Strep. The uterus is sterile and nothing should be found growing in the uterus of a normal healthy cat. The normal flora of the tract may have gotten out-of-hand and result in infertility. The queen may have failed to ovulate, so be sure to allow enough breedings to maximize the chance of ovulation.

PYOMETRA
Pyometra is defined as pus in the uterus with mature corpora lutea on the ovary producing progesterone. The reason that a pyometra occurs in unknown, but it is thought that bacteria from the vagina (normally present) ascend and colonize in the fluid present within the uterus. Under the influence of progesterone and estrogen, there are receptor sites induced on the endometrium to which the bacteria attach. The progesterone depresses the normal immune function so the bacteria can proliferate more easily. Repeated progesterone dominance (i.e. more heats) results in endometrial cysts being formed which make an ideal media for bacterial growth. This is why older queens usually have pyometras. Some young queens, however, can get pyometra, also. Pyometra in young queens may be related to prolonged estrogen exposure when they undergo several heats in which they are not bred. Clinically, the queen is usually depressed, and her white blood count is elevated. A white, purulent, vaginal discharge may be present if the cervix is open. The recommended treatment for non breeders is to perform an ovariohysterectomy (i.e. to spay). Prostaglandin can be used to lyse the corpora lutea and to stimulated uterine contractions in order to clean out the uterus. Prostaglandins are not approved for use in cats but have been used to successfully treat pyometra in dogs and cats. a dose of 0.1-0.25 mg/kg once daily for five days is recommended. Antibiotics are administered concurrently to fight the infection. The treatment might even need to be repeated, but treatment should be done STRICTLY by a veterinarian because there are several side effects (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, smooth muscle problems, etc.) And even the possibility of death. Side effects are usually transient because prostaglandins are metabolized quickly. Because of these dangerous side effects it is very important to positively diagnose a pyometra using a white blood cell count, X-rays, and/or ultrasound before treatment. Overzealous palpation could cause the uterus to rupture. It is necessary to breed the female after prostaglandin treatment on her very next heat because she is probably predisposed to having another pyometra.

FAILURE TO CARRY TO TERM
The queen may fail to carry a litter to term. She only needs the ovaries for two-thirds of the pregnancy. It is important to have queens examined for pregnancy and diagnosed pregnant in order to rule out other problems later on. Palpation and ultrasound examination are the most reliable methods to diagnose pregnancy. Palpation may induce early embryonic death because of the stress of a stranger vigorously handling the queen. The progesterone necessary for maintaining pregnancy comes from the ovaries until about 48 to 50 days of gestation when the placenta takes over progesterone production. If a queen habitually aborts around 48 to 50 days, there may be a problem in the placental production of progesterone. Progesterone can then be administered ten days before the previous dates of abortion and given once weekly to counteract the failure of the placental progesterone production.

ABORTION
There may be a true abortion rather than a failure to carry to term. A discharge and/or formed or unformed kittens may be discharged. If you actually see a fetus come out, freeze it and take it to your veterinarian for a diagnosis. Freezing it will destroy the cells so histologic diagnosis will be impossible, but it will allow for virus isolation. Almost any virus isolated in the cast has been implicated in feline abortion.

MALE INFERTILITY
Perhaps the infertility is not in the queen, but in the male. Sperm cells ejaculated today started their maturation sixty days ago, so a tom's fertility should be examined most closely in the last two months before breeding. a scrotal abscess can result in damage to the testes. A queen's claws can cut his scrotum very easily during the after-reaction to breeding. The male may refuse to breed because he is more concerned about marking a queen's territory as his own. It is therefore important to bring the queen to the tom for breeding. The tom's breeding may be impaired by bad teeth that prevent a proper bite or a penile hair ring that causes pain. Adequate semen production is another potential problem. Semen can be collected using an artificial vagina (usually only in trained toms) or with an electro-ejaculator (not a real physiologic sample). We generally recommend multiple breedings over a short time to assure ovulation. No information exists as to the sperm output in subsequent ejaculations in a short time. Perhaps only the first ejaculation delivers the majority of the sperm cells and subsequent matings are only to stimulate the queen to ovulate. a male urinary tract infection should not cause breeding problems if it is not acute.

THE GREATER BATON ROUGE CAT CLUB, INC., hosted a seminar on Feline Reproduction by Drs. Bruce Eilts and Dale Paccamonti, Diplomates of the American College of Theriogenologists (literally translated as reproduction of the beast) from the Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University. Accurate knowledge of the normal reproductive physiology of the cat is essential for owners to understand complications which may arise.


Teri's “Kitty Nursery” Recommendations: 

The info below is from instructions I compiled to send to Robin, built from my own experiences and knowledge, and with Cornish Rex. Our momcats insisted on having me present and helping (I even napped inside the kittening tent waiting on birthing to commence!). 

Not every cat, especially feral kitties, want that much intervention from a human and unless one is experienced, one can do more harm than good in certain situations. But I still think this info is good to have filed in your brain or computer somewhere and be helpful when you have to contact your veterinarian, too, so that you can accurately describe to them what is happening with your pregnant cat...


About midway through the momcats pregnancy, I put them on a “kitten formula” dry food or feed their normal dry food (free choice) but add canned kitten food to their diet.

Once she delivers the kittens, I increase the wet food to as often as she wants it, usually twice a day, about 3-4 TBS a feeding. You can also add strained meat baby food (in chicken, turkey, etc) to supplement  and powdered KMR (Borden Kitten Milk Replacer) instead of canned kitten food and also the Prescription Diets Hill's a/d and Royal Canin Recovery are tasty and easily digestible as an addition to their other foods.


When birthing day is near, I gather up these supplies: 

Old clean wash clothes to wipe down, rub, stimulate the new borns.
Hemostats and blunt/blunt surgical scissors
K-Y lubricating jelly (plain, unscented, un-warming hahameow)
Dental floss to tie off the umbilical cords if needed
Latex exam gloves
Puppy pee pads or similar absorbant pads
Betadine or Hibiclens disinfectant
Infant nasal aspirator
Infant digital rectal thermometer
Watch/clock/cell phone to monitor time of birth and time between kittens
Notepad to record time of birth, and the sex, weight, color of the kittens, and if the afterbirth was passed
Gram scale (one of the most important items to have on hand, even if you have nothing else!)
Also helpful is a headlamp so your hands can be free if you need to assist.

Even if mom seems to be getting the placentas off them, I usually help her especially round the head and mouth and nostrils. You can be very vigorous in your rubbing, rolling the kittens round-this helps stimulate them to cry and breath. Of course the afterbirth is stil attached to the umbilical cord and remains in the vaginal canal for a number of minutes while mom is licking and cleaning them, so you can't actually pick up the kitten and clean it with the wash cloth, mostly you are dabbing and wiping. Some moms can get overly nervous/vigorous and chew the umbilical cord too short. 


I like the cords to be about  1/2 to 3/4 inch long, which will dry up to about a 1/4 inch long. If mom seem to be chewing too close, distract her and turn her head and attention to some other part to lick. I usually let her eat one or two of the afterbirths, but take away the others so she doesn't get diarrhea or vomit them up later. 

I have diluted betadine  in a cup and use one of those little plastic caps that come on small pump spray hair products to put the betadine in and dunk their cords in. It's a bit fiddley to do but just manuver the cord into the cap and then hold the cap up against their abdomen and shake them up and down gently a few times to saturate the cord. I have never had an umbilical infection, but the disinfecting is recommended to kill any bacteria, especially strep. 


You will notice as the mom chews the cords, she sort of shreds them with her teeth. This stops them from bleeding, as if you actually cut them with scissors they would bleed more. If for some reason you have to cut the cord yourself, just take the edge of a scissor blade and “tear” or shred it like the mom's teeth would-pour some betadine on the blade first too. I have never had to use it, but also have some dental floss at hand in case I have to tie a cord to stop the bleeding, like if she chews it too short.

Mom's tend to feel more secure when their babies are confined, also a kitten can't regulate it's body temperature until it is about 2 weeks old and is dependant on the body warmth of momma and siblings to not become hypothermic. You can make a nice “cave" for them by using a regular cat carrier (I used a VariKennel 100 size for a Cornish Rex and up to 4 kittens. Take out the little screws and nuts and use something like large binder clips or potato chip bag clips to secure the bottom and top of the carrier. Doing this makes it easy for you to take off the top, peek at the kittens and then put the top back on and they are snug and safe again and you don't disturb them that way too much. 

That is what I used for many years, til I upgraded to a Siberian Husky sized Noz-2-Noz Sof-Krate that worked out perfectly--easy to clean, dark and cozy and room for a full size litter box and "birthing box" made from a plastic storage box (like you would store blankets or sweaters in under your bed).




Mom will probably not leave her kittens at all for 24 hours so I feed her in kittening box and take the food away after 5 minutes if she doesn't finish it in case the smell of “meat” makes her chew on her babies or something. I also leave the towels/bedding that she delivered on with her for about 3-4 days so she feels more secure. 

(Note--While the mom is delivering, I have her box lined with polar fleece cut to fit the box--multiple flat layers. And on top of that I have a few puppy pee pads, so I can pull one away when it gets wet and soiled. Once she has finished birthing, the clean fleece underneath will be slightly soiled but not wet, so leave that in the box). 

Once I put in a clean new bed in after a day and the mom tried to move the kittens. That hasn't happened since then, even if the bed was in a cage at the vets, as long as it has her smell on it, she was happy when I moved  her back home to the tent, long as the bed was there. 


I put a pet safe heating pad (my favorite is The Small Animal Heat Pad from Cozy Winters 

http://cozywinters.com/shop/kh-1060.html


wrapped in a bathtowel and then inside a zippered pillowcase. There is a chance of the kittens getting too hot, even burning themselves until they are strong enough to crawl if you use a human heating pad. The one I use only gets up to 100 degrees. And it is small enough to give the kittens room to move off it if too warm. 




Weighing the kittens daily is EXTREMELY important as by the time you know they are thinner, they may have already lost 30 grams. Kittens should gain 10 to 15 grams a day (30 grams is about an ounce) and by purchasing a gram scale, you can keep close eye on their weight gain or loss and make sure they get extra "nipple" time or supplement them with KMR if needed. Here's a link to a good, inexpensive scale, similar to what I have. 

http://www.thedigitalscale.com/my-weigh-1scale.html






Between the ages of 3 days and 21 days, perform the exercises on the kittens, as long as the mom is not too stressed by you being around or handling them. 

http://bellsouthpwp2.net/k/a/kaykelly75/cafedevon/page2.html



Once the kittens are crawling out of the carrier, they do not really need the heating pad, but we all know how much Rexes like them anyway so I usually just leave it set up until they are not sleeping in the carrier anymore-about 8-10 wks of age.





Mom cleans up after them untill they start eating cat food, but around 3 wks of age I set up a kitten sized litter box-low sides and easy for numerous kittens to be in at one time. A cookie sheet with sides is a good one, though mom may dig the litter out all over the place. I now use a “ferret litter pan”  but used to use the bottom of an old litterpan with sides about 3” high. 



Most kittens will try to eat most litters-clumping is dangerous, gravel types are hard to pick out of their mouth without getting bitten, and the “pearl” kinds just stick to their wet noses and mouths and were a problem too. I now use either SWheat Scoop or the Feline Pine litters, prefer Swheat Scoop though. They don't seem to show an interest in eating it either. Most of my kittens have peed in the litterbox at around 3 wks of age, pooping comes 1-2 wks later. 




My kittens are born in my bedroom and at night when I go to bed and in the morning too, after 3-4 days, I bring them out in their cat bed up onto the bed with me and moms seem to be ok with that, again I think it's the bed smell that makes them more comfortable. I hold and nuzzle and talk and breath on them so the get to know my smell. 

And I keep them in the tent when I'm not home or am asleep until they are about 8 wks old, and are using the litterbox ok too. In a bathroom with a lot of space, you could leave them in there until they are 12 weeks old UNLESS you can watch them. They can get trapped, eat anything on the floor and the “clean and boring” bathroom will be easy for you to deal with rather than the whole house.






OH, REMEMBER TO KEEP THE TOILET LIDS ALL SHUT TOO---ONE OF MY CATS ALMOST DROWNED AS A KITTEN BEFORE I GOT HIM WHEN HE FELL IN THE TOLIET AND THE LID SHUT WHEN HE WAS TRYING TO GET OUT!

Note: While surfing around for photos and good links, I came across one from Foster and Smith that I thought was very good and another good page to bookmark!


http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2139&aid=919

5 comments:

  1. What interesting information! Having had spayed and neutered cats (except for one) the miracle of cat birth has not been something I've experienced.
    It was truly informative to read about it!
    Thanks Teri
    Nellie's Mom

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow ! Lots of care...but Thanks Teri to share this info with us

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've only had the four cats, neutered, so "kittening" is beyond my realm also. I confess that at 4:38AM as I first read the subject line, I thought it said "knitting advice." LOL. Guess I have knitting on the brain!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know more about cat gestation and birth now than when I was midwifing rescued cats, and now I know even more than I learned in those years! I'll be glad to share this when necessary. N.B. My toilet lid has been shut except when in use since the first kitten over 30 years ago. Who wants to walk in the bathroom and look in the toilet anyway?

    ReplyDelete
  5. TBT here: I successfully helped raise a litter of 5 kittens once, but you sure know more about it.

    ReplyDelete

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