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Nursing Mom is SOO skinny!

Chama
March 10th, 2009, 01:34 PM
The foster cat that I have right now is still nursing but she is SO skinny. I understand that everything is going to her babies but I am just wondering if there is anything I can do to help her. I feel so bad for her and she has as much food as she wants (doesn't seem to be any problem with her eating habits) but she is so skinny that I can feel her backbone. She was checked out by a vet prior to coming to my house (that was a week before she had the babies) and everything was fine but she was still underweight. Any suggestions? Would cat milk be helpful at all or maybe there is some human food that would be beneficial? I have been free feeding her dry food and then giving her wet food as well.

NoahGrey
March 10th, 2009, 01:55 PM
You should call the vet. Seems like the mom is not very healthy. She needs to be look at again. Nursing kittens is extremely stressful and exhuasting for a mom cat. They need to be strong and healthy. I would call the shelter and let them know. The babies will probably have to be bottle fed, so mom can get strong and healthy again. Seems like she is too skinny to nurse...she is probably dehydrated as well.

When cats are sick, they can deteriote very quickly. Even a week is cruical. why is there no communication from the shelter and yourself. Seems odd.

ACO22

Love4himies
March 10th, 2009, 02:34 PM
The foster cat that I have right now is still nursing but she is SO skinny. I understand that everything is going to her babies but I am just wondering if there is anything I can do to help her. I feel so bad for her and she has as much food as she wants (doesn't seem to be any problem with her eating habits) but she is so skinny that I can feel her backbone. She was checked out by a vet prior to coming to my house (that was a week before she had the babies) and everything was fine but she was still underweight. Any suggestions? Would cat milk be helpful at all or maybe there is some human food that would be beneficial? I have been free feeding her dry food and then giving her wet food as well.


What are you feeding her. How many kittens is she feeding. Are the kittens gaining weight. How old are the kittens. What was her condition prior to you getting her? Has she been dewormed?

The best thing you can feed her is a prepared raw diet for cats. If you are familiar with making your own, then that is best. If you aren't then a canned QUALITY food is necessary, any that are for growth (kittens and queens) are good. You may want to add some kibble (quality) to get the calories into her. She needs a lot when she is nursing and she needs meat protein, otherwise if you are feeding her a poor quality food, all the protein is going to the milk and draining her of muscle mass.

The best ones are:

Nature's Variety, Instinct Canned
Wellness, grain free (they have a kitten one, but is quite expensive)

As for kibble supplementing: Orijen, Wellness Core are two great ones.

You will not find these in a grocery store, but a quality pet food store, not sure where you are but Global and Pet Value should carry them.

Supplement the canned food with human meat daily, raw if she will eat it, lightly cooked otherwise. Chicken is a great meat.

Not sure how long you have had her, but if she was really skinny when you got her, it will take about 6 weeks for her to gain weight unless she is eating huge amounts of food.

Hope this helps.

Chama
March 10th, 2009, 02:40 PM
I spoke to the vet approx. half an hour ago and he helped me out. Being as this is the first time I have fostered a pregnant and then nursing mom sometimes it just helps to hear suggestions from people that have experience. I guess I am just one of those people that likes to hear from a few people to see what works best and up to now everyone has given me great suggestions. I do have contact with the rescue organization and they have been quite helpful as well. I am just trying to use all the resources possible as I would rather have too much information than not enough - thanks to all of you who have responded with your expertise! I am going to begin weaning the babies this week & hopefully that will take some of the pressure off of Mom and hopefully she will put some weight on. She is eating tons and always has lots of water and I was told that was the most important thing. She has already been dewormed and I'm going to pick her up some NutriCal tonight (upon recommendation of the vet)

14+kitties
March 10th, 2009, 02:54 PM
Mmm, are you picking up the NutriCal from your vet's office? I wouldn't. It is not that great of a food. She needs the best quality canned food you can afford to give her. I would stick to Wellness, Wellness Core, Innova 95%, Nature's Instinct, any of the good quality foods with NO grains. Cut the dry food all together and feed her as much canned as she will/can eat. You could even try her on raw and see if she will eat that. If she was a stray/feral she probably will.

If I am remembering your other thread correctly the kittens are only 3.5 - 4.5 weeks old? Too young to start weaning! Unless you are going to start bottle feeding them. They need their mom's milk as long as she can feed them.

It would not hurt to take a stool sample in to your vet so s/he can check for parasites. It is possible even if she has been dewormed that she still has some kind of parasite. You do not need to take her in. Just the stool. Take one as fresh as possible and put it in a bag. You don't need much to be tested. Have someone drop it at the vets. It will be a nominal cost to have it checked.

Chama
March 10th, 2009, 03:08 PM
Thanks everyone! I will take those brands into consideration - I planned on stopping at the petstore tonight anyway to pick up some more wet food so I will look into the brands you suggested. Wellness seems to be the crowd favorite :) She has been eating kitten food since I got her a week before delivery. - performatrin from Pet Valu. Even though she still seems so small, I do think she may have put on a minimal amount of weight. So far, she is such a good little Mom but I still wish she would put on more weight. Thanks again....

Love4himies
March 10th, 2009, 05:45 PM
Sweet Pea was a pregnant stray when I got her and like yours, she was so skinny that I could feel her bones. It took until the kittens were somewhat weaned before she gained weight (about 5 weeks old). I had her on Felidae, cat and kitten and a meal of real meat daily.

lUvMyLaB<3
March 10th, 2009, 06:54 PM
I agree with what everyone has said... I would feed her as much canned as she will eat and offer her raw at mealtimes, grind up some whole chicken parts or something to make it easiest for you. Warm it to make it apealing, you can also put some warm milk or egg on it to entice her to eat it.

I would not wean the kittens, you can offer them some canned food to try, the pate kind not the chunky kind, but don't try to limit their time with mom. It is possible for a nursing mother to gain weight. You have to get her to take in more calories than she is using making milk, so offering the most calories and high quality protiens in the small amount that fits in her stomach is the most important thing. When the kittens start taking some meals in food than she will have more calories to use on herself, she should be just fine. Good luck!

Chama
March 10th, 2009, 07:07 PM
Thanks again everyone! I guess I used the term wean too loosely. I just meant that I would start giving them soft food to try to supplement but I would still not limit their time with her. One of the ladies from the rescue organization said to just start putting a little on my finger to see if they will take it which is what I have been doing. I gave them a wee bit tonight and a couple of them were open but the others were having no part of it :)

Love4himies
March 11th, 2009, 07:09 AM
I mixed some kitten formula with their Kitten Wellness for Sweet Pea's kittens. The first couple of times they played in the food, made a mess :frustrated:. Sweet Pea would then eat the food and the kittens took their cue from her.

Don't waste your money on vet food, much better off with Instinct or another high meat food, supplemented with raw.

lUvMyLaB<3
March 11th, 2009, 03:55 PM
That is what I do too L4H! I mix up a soupy mess, with their milk and canned food, or ground up meat I put it in a pie tray, mom loves it and goes for it and one by one eventually all the kittens get to it. I like to make it very milky at the beginning so that they don't take in pure meat that can be hard on their tummies and will change their poops so I want to do it gradually.

Chama
March 12th, 2009, 10:47 AM
Thanks again! I have been putting out some formula and as per my original e-mail mommy needs to pack on some weight. She loves it! Even though she is still extremely skinny, I do think she may have put on a smidge of weight over the last few days. I have also been leaving it out with wet food but I think Mom might be getting to it before the kittens - some of them still don't seem overly interested but I am sure they will over the next little while. I have noticed that Mommy has started limiting their time with her a little bit. She still feeds them but it doesn't seem as often. Sometimes it's hard to tell though as I have them in a seperate area of the house.

lUvMyLaB<3
March 12th, 2009, 05:38 PM
as they get older and interested in the world around them they will spend less time with mom, but the time they spend with her is very important. And the longer you let her keep them and nurse them the better it is for their future health. Their immunity gets boosted with every feed. Don't worry if they are not getting at the cat food. They get everything they need from mom. Eating it is just more for fun right now, when they are ready you wont be able to keep them out of it so don't stress about it. As long as mom is getting enough calories she will be ok. She might be gradually putting on small amounts of weight and it just isn't noticeable. Also I would not give them pure canned food as their first meals I would mush their milk up with it. Actually I would use raw squashed with their milk, you don't want to change their poops too quick and cause trouble.

How long since you had the whole crew at the vet? You are probably due to take them back soon, then they would re weigh mom and you would know for sure where she is at. When the mom and kittens are ready to go mom will have a chance to put on weight. Will she be staying until adopted or back to rescue?

Chama
March 14th, 2009, 08:12 AM
Almost all of them are eating the wet food mixed with formula now and some of them with a vengeance :thumbs up They aren't going to go to the vet for another couple of weeks unless there are any problems which luckily so far everything has been good. My Mom came over last night and she hasn't seem the Mom for a week and she said she looked like she has put on some weight so that definitely made me feel better!

The Mom will be staying with me until she is adopted and I have no intention of putting her up for adoption until she is good and ready (which means back to a good weight, fixed and her fur looking nice) She is such a sweet girl and hopefully I will find her a great home - she certainly deserves it.

Love4himies
March 14th, 2009, 08:17 AM
Oh what little cuties :cloud9:. Now that the kittens are eating some on their own, momma should start putting on some weight.

Chama
March 19th, 2009, 02:43 PM
I'm happy to report that mommy seems to be putting on a little weight. Not a lot however slowly but surely :)

14+kitties
March 19th, 2009, 04:28 PM
Aww, little cuties. Takes me back to last year when I had tons of kittens. :cloud9: Glad to hear some of them are enjoying their food. Just make sure it isn't too rich for their little tummies.
Great that mom is gaining weight! She may not put on a significant amount until she is fixed. I thought the rescue was supposed to be finding homes?

Chama
March 20th, 2009, 09:16 AM
Yes, the rescue will be finding homes but since they don't want them to go until 10 weeks, they won't be as aggressive about it until they are around 6-8 weeks (they are five weeks now). Two are already spoken for but will obviously stay with me until they are ready to go. Three of the kittens seem to have healthy appetites but the two tabbies don't seem overly interested. Hopefully within the next week they will be a little more open to it. They will eat it from my finger but not the dish....and man can they bite ha ha I keep trying to lower my hand to the ground to get them used to eating in that position so I will just have to keep trying :)

lUvMyLaB<3
March 20th, 2009, 01:42 PM
Have you had the at the vet yet? rescue usually madates them to be taken, it is really time to get that started. Glad they are doing well. You get to find a home for the mom by yourself? or when will rescue take her back? hope she keeps gaining good luck

Chama
March 20th, 2009, 03:11 PM
Yes, they were at the vet earlier this week (with a clean bill of health and also they were dewormed) The rescue does not have a shelter so I will keep everyone until they are adopted. They post everyone on the website when they are ready and they have adoption events at a local pet store. Thanks! I hope she keeps gaining - I am optimistic :)

hazelrunpack
March 20th, 2009, 08:44 PM
They sure are little cuties, Chama!

:goodvibes: that Mom is able to put on some weight now that the kittens are supplementing with canned food! Sounds like you're doing a great job!

cuko
March 20th, 2009, 09:44 PM
Sweet Pea was a pregnant stray when I got her and like yours, she was so skinny that I could feel her bones. It took until the kittens were somewhat weaned before she gained weight (about 5 weeks old). I had her on Felidae, cat and kitten and a meal of real meat daily.


I never fostered a cat but did breed Birmans a while back and i have to say the best thing i found that fattens them up and gives them strength was adding a little calcium (needless syringe about .5ml ) a day and also i added grated cheese to the raw diet! I have to say that worked a treat... my cats were fussy eaters too when nursing!

hope it works out for you! I have a bitch that's like that now but she's not nursing anymore as i'm feeding the puppies but certainly worth trying some cheese and extra calcium to help her out while she's nursing... but stop once she's finished nursing them.

good luck! hope it all works out! OH and Mackeral oil! works wonders!:thumbs up