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Swollen Feline Mammary Glands

missbela
December 8th, 2004, 09:42 PM
Hi all,
This is my first posting here. I almost chickened out after I read some of the replies to other postings. I am brave, smart, and take good care of my animals, so I'll take a chance...
We recently took in 2 cats, littermates. Kronk and Izma both went to the vet 3 weeks ago and received their shots and check up. We were concerned that the little girl's mammary glands were swollen. The vet said that maybe it was hormonal and should clear up on its own. I scheduled them both to be fixed, spayed for Izma and neutered for Kronk. Inbetween the vet visit and the next appointment Izma went into heat and as hard as we tried to keep the siblings separated, they mated.
Here's the part where I fell like some members will crucify me... We only had Kronk neutered and not the little girl. I didn't want to abbort the kittens since I work at an elementary school and already have many teachers and parents interested in a fuzzy little friend. We can afford to keep a couple as well, depending on how many we have.
Here's my concern... Now Izma has HUGE lumps under each nipple. I would say golf ball size. She is not in any pain and will let us palpatate her tummy all day long :) I have read that the nipples should get darker pink and swollen, but I haven't found any mention of the gland underneath. She is 21 days along and I am calling the vet tomorrow to see if he wants us to bring her in. He wasn't very concerned before, even though I paniced and thought it was kitty breast cancer :)
Is this normal, or will she have problems nursing her babies? Has anyone seen this before? Its like she has a carton of chicken eggs in her belly. SHe is what the vet called a "torty". Small and delicate and with the markings like a tortiose shell.
Thanks for the understanding and wisdom :grouphug:

Karin
December 8th, 2004, 10:47 PM
Hi all,
This is my first posting here. I almost chickened out after I read some of the replies to other postings. I am brave, smart, and take good care of my animals, so I'll take a chance...
We recently took in 2 cats, littermates. Kronk and Izma both went to the vet 3 weeks ago and received their shots and check up. We were concerned that the little girl's mammary glands were swollen. The vet said that maybe it was hormonal and should clear up on its own. I scheduled them both to be fixed, spayed for Izma and neutered for Kronk. Inbetween the vet visit and the next appointment Izma went into heat and as hard as we tried to keep the siblings separated, they mated.
Here's the part where I fell like some members will crucify me... We only had Kronk neutered and not the little girl. I didn't want to abbort the kittens since I work at an elementary school and already have many teachers and parents interested in a fuzzy little friend. We can afford to keep a couple as well, depending on how many we have.
Here's my concern... Now Izma has HUGE lumps under each nipple. I would say golf ball size. She is not in any pain and will let us palpatate her tummy all day long :) I have read that the nipples should get darker pink and swollen, but I haven't found any mention of the gland underneath. She is 21 days along and I am calling the vet tomorrow to see if he wants us to bring her in. He wasn't very concerned before, even though I paniced and thought it was kitty breast cancer :)
Is this normal, or will she have problems nursing her babies? Has anyone seen this before? Its like she has a carton of chicken eggs in her belly. SHe is what the vet called a "torty". Small and delicate and with the markings like a tortiose shell.
Thanks for the understanding and wisdom :grouphug:

This is so wrong..spay her now! I have much more to say..but I am trying to be good. Lucky you.

krdahmer
December 9th, 2004, 12:16 AM
I understand the strong opinions on this site, but like you would have a hard time deciding to end a life, even if it was a kitten who could end up with health and mental issues. In-breeding as in humans, is taboo for good reason. These kittens could be born (if they make it at all as the mother sounds young herself) with many many health problems and even deformities. I know it is a very tough decision and if you are sure you've made the right one, just be prepared to care for quite possibly special needs kittens. Definitely follow up with your vet about her symptoms... I have never seen that myself, so couldn't venture a guess (my girls were all spayed before meeting boys :rolleyes: ). Whatever happens good luck to you and your two (maybe more) new darlings! :)

Lucky Rescue
December 9th, 2004, 12:37 AM
Please spay her now. I know exactly how hard it is to do this, but if you don't you will be responsible for what happens to these kittens for the rest of their lives. These kittens that you are knowingly allowing to be born means kittens in shelters who are already here may die due to lack of homes.

Your kitten is probably too young to be having babies, and as has been said, you could have a great deal of trouble with them. Since she seems to be having problems already, she may not feed her babies and you will have to hand rear them, which is a daunting, expensive, around the clock, and often heartbreaking task, as little kittens very often die this way despite the best of care. Not to mention, as krdahmer did, that kittens born of brother/sister mating may be horribly deformed.

If you want a litter of kittens, there are whole litters being dumped in shelters and being born outside in the cold. You could foster them and save lives this way without adding to the terrible overpopulation, abuse and dumping of cats.

Your kitten is only in the first 3rd of her pregnancy and should be aborted and spayed now. I know you want the best for your kitty, since you saved her life, and the kindest thing all around for both her and the kittens is to do this.

CyberKitten
December 9th, 2004, 01:01 AM
If these two are from the same litter and they mated, this is in fact incest and even in felines is considered a taboo. It does occur (obviously) but even among cats themselves, they will search out other mates.

Researchers and shelter workers of course, however, have noted it among feral colonies - not because cats in feral colonies have worse morals <g> - they just reproduce among so many families and because of their isolation. (in that most cats they might meet outside of the colony are already neutered.

What these workers and researchers notice is a higher incidence of certain traits. Some are not as serious as others (certain patterns , dwarfism and polydactylism for ex). It is the structural deformoities that cause problems - in the same way as you may find them in humans, you will see them in felines. Mother cats will sometimes kill their young that are born with serious defomities (They seem to know they won't thrive). And sometimes, kttens born from this combination will not thrive and will have a higher mortality rate and be listless and just not well. (To be vague and not too detailed.) It almost goes without saying that the immunity system of these kittens will be much weaker than normal kittens and they will likley be frail.

(Anyone who farms would know this info from managing his or her "livestock" and breeding program) - not that I live on a farm, lol. (But my grandparents 0 though both worked as professionals -operated a small farm).

One study I've read cites the top five problems one might find in inbreeding:

1. Low fertility in either males or females.

2. Small litter size (one or two kittens) on a regular basis.

3. Asymmetry, misaligned jaws, crooked noses, irregular eye-set.

4. Regular appearance of cancer in young cats.

5. Loss of a large proportion of cats to one disease. If 50% of a litter of kittens or of a group of adults dies of a simple infection, there is not enough immune system diversity.

Another study was conducted on two "inbred" domestic kittens (and these were 25% inbred - not the 50% yours will be). The results were:

1) Lowered intelligence
2)Slower reaction time to loud noises
3)Less curiosity
4) Slower problem solving
5) Appearance of being out of touch of what is going on around them.

I have a PowerPoint presentation of that study if you want to read it. (It is a rather classic one used is a genetics class)

Finally, if my research resources do not impress upon you the need (and and act of kindness it would be to abort these fetuses), here is a quote from another forum when someone posed a similar question:

"It depends really on so many factors. Uninterrruped inbreeding in backyard cats can cause spinal malformations, tumors, blindness, birth defects, cleft palates, it really is an involved process. I took a litter in at 6 months for spay and neuter. They had been segregated from the other cats until they were to be spayed and neutered. One little girl was pregnant! I got her spayed anyway. Having seen many litters of inbred backyard cats, I wasn't going to take the chance. The worse kitten I ever saw was one missing a back leg and tail and rectum when born. That poor black baby had to be put down immediately upon birth. It is not a good idea to inbreed cats if you don't know what you are doing."

Please don't think I am judging you. I am just offering you the problems posed by "closebreeding" - the term used for mating siblings.

Good luck with whatever decision you make. If you opt to continue the pregnancy, I hope that the kittens will somehow turn out fine but I really would hope as an act of kindness, you abort this would be litter.

This could also endanger her health - deformed kits often result in a difficult birth.

As for the lumps, I'd have those checked out ASAP!!


It's probably folly to promise a kitten to your teacher friends since you have no way of knowing whether you will have healthy kittens and there is a higher than average liklihood that you won't.

Can I ask, diplomatically, if you researched this before you allowed the mom to contine her pregnancy or were simply unaware of the problems in inbreeding?

Whatever you decide, I hope your cat will be fine!!!

missbela
December 9th, 2004, 07:13 AM
Its me again,
We had no plans of having kittens. We weren't sure the exact age of these cats and took them to the vet as soon as we got them for their checkup and shots. (A child at school was talking about how they had 15 cats in a single wide trailer. I called mom and came for a visit. It was true, among other animals as well. I took 2 cats. Izma was on the counch eating a piece of salami. She was tiny, way smaller than her brother and I didn;t even know if she'd live.They said that she doesn't like cat food and she eats salami and bologna!) Now the vet said they are healthy, no worms or parasites of any kind, and that Torty's are smaller than other cats. When she went into heat before her spay appointment, my coworkers said that cats are way different than people and that this inbreeding happens all the time. Now, she's a smart lady (but she also wanted a kitten) so I took it at her word. I am not saying that is correct, that is what I was told. Now I find this website and am learning different. I want my little Izma to be safe and healthy. I am waiting until 8:30 and will call the vet again. He wasn't concerned 3 weeks ago about her swollen tummy, but now that I think she's pregnant he might change his mind. I'll get her spayed.
Thanks for the respectful ways you replied. We are all human and learn more about life everyday!

chico2
December 9th, 2004, 07:47 AM
MissBela,I have no experience with pregnant cats..but you got some good advice from people who do.
An accident happened and the best solution for little Izma will definetly be to end the pregnancy :sad: I can understand it's a difficult desicion,but one that will be the best.
As you mentioned there was 15 cats in a trailer,maybe your friends can pick one of them instead?
You did a good thing taking Izma and Kronk(cute name :D )and I am sure you are a good caring owner and will do the right thing.
We would love some pictures!!

Iggette
December 9th, 2004, 08:11 AM
MissBela, welcome to the board I hope you take some of this advice to heart when you make your decision.

I can say though that your vet has not met my torty.....she is anything but small :p

Lucky Rescue
December 9th, 2004, 10:25 AM
You are obviously an intelligent and articulate person and I"m not suprised you have decided to do the right thing and get this poor little girlie spayed. If more people were as caring, we wouldn't be inundated with kittens and cats all the time.

This cat is not small because she is a tortie. She may be stunted or a runt, and could be seriously malnourished if she ate only salami and bologna!! :eek:
Cats have quite strict dietary requirements, and those sandwich meats do not meet them in any way.

You might want to tell your coworker (in case she hasn't heard) that there are millions of kittens being born every year who are homeless and will die - she can have her pick. It's not your job to provide her with a kitten. Kittens are hardly rare or difficult to find.

I have a feral cat here who I had to trap and have aborted. It broke my heart, cause she is the world's best mom and has beautiful kittens. But there was no choice. The last thing the world needs is more kittens.

Thank YOU for doing the responsible thing!:)

Karin
December 9th, 2004, 03:17 PM
Thank you for deciding on spaying this little girl. You have brightened her future.

I apoligize for my previous post, so many people never return here if the news is not to their expectations.

Watch out for the "tortitude"....they can have a cattitude different than any other....a survivor attitude.

Spaying is always the best medicine.

chico2
December 9th, 2004, 03:49 PM
Karin,I know what you mean,my tortie Cookie(passed at 18yrs old)had the most uppity,queeny attitude....still sweet though,but I never got another female cat after her,males are soooo,much easier....but then again,my only experience with a female cat was Cookie.

BMDLuver
December 9th, 2004, 04:17 PM
Thank you for researching and taking the time to learn of the consequences for your little cat. If more people did that, there would be less unwanted little lives being euthanized each day. Glad you are doing the right thing and looking out for her foremost. It's a brave decision and you will not regret it in the long run.

CyberKitten
December 9th, 2004, 05:04 PM
Thanks so much for making the right decision for your little tortie! She'll be fine tho as Lucky says, cats need certain vitamins and foods just as we do - not the same foods as we do mind you but specfic foods. You might start with Kitten formula because it ahs lots of vitamins. (Wellness is a great brand but if you find it pricey, there are other kitten formulae).

Torties are not necessarily small. They are noted however for having tortitude so your little girl should be a character and a wonderful companion!!!

Good luck!! I am so happy - though I know how diffiult this all is for you - that you made the right decision!