Kittens are 7 days old

carmen_grower_2007May 16, 2010

This is so exciting for us and please don't give me problems with the pc about our cats having kittens --- not helpful. I would like to know when they will start eating food and when the mom will wean them. I realize she can get pg even while she is nursing, so we are keeping her and the kits inside.

We want to have her spayed as soon as she weans them and then will take the kittens in to have them neutered/spayed when they are 4/5 mos. old assuming we haven't found homes for them. Right now, we are very concerned about the 'fixed' cats that seem to have a problem with the kittens. I am hoping they will adjust but are letting them inside only with supervision since the male hisses at the babies when he comes in. For whatever reason, the female doesn't seem to have a problem now but sure did stalk the pregnant mom before she gave birth.

Amazing to watch nature in action. BTW -- never saw a cat around here and wonder who the daddy is-----the babies are all solid grey just like mommy----probably sperm just flying around in the air like that Life special where fish become impregnated through sperm in the water. Yeah, that's probably it.

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Hi, Carmen_Grower!

I think that kittens can start adding some wet cat food to their diet by the time they are a month old, but they will continue to nurse for at least two more weeks past that time.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

"Kittens are weaned at between six and seven weeks, and cats normally reach sexual maturity at 5Â10 months (females) and to 5Â7 months (males), although this can vary depending on breed. Females can have two to three litters per year, so may produce up to 150 kittens in their breeding span of around ten years.

Cats are ready to go to new homes at about 12 weeks old, or when they are ready to leave their mother.

Cats can be surgically sterilized (spayed or castrated) as early as 7 weeks to limit unwanted reproduction. This surgery also prevents undesirable sex-related behavior, such as aggression, territory marking (spraying urine) in males and yowling (calling) in females."

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 7:36PM
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Thanks Petaloid! I didn't realize kittens could be sterilized so early. That means I can take them in at the same time I take the Mom but will certainly wait until they are weaned.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:12AM
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Neuter the males as soon as possible. I rescued a feral kitten a few days old and had him neutered at 6 months. He was a loner and would spray when he heard cats outside, and the odor was strong. I loved him in spite of that and he lived for 14 years. I have heard that neutered cats won't spray and if they do the odor is not strong. Not true in my case.Good luck with your kitties.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:26PM
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Our neutered males either don't spray or we can't smell it -- they are inside/outside cats. We had the litter 'fixed' at about 4 mos. and have never seen another cat around here (except for the kitten that our dog found 18 mos. ago -- the one that is now a mom.) We live in farm country and see cats all the time on the road (far from us) but have never seen a cat around here --- I think our 'fixed' cats make sure they have this acreage all to their own.

We are happy to keep any kitties we can't place and will take them all for their 'fix' once they are all weaned.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 5:07PM
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If you put down a shallow dish of kibble for the mother cat near the kittens' box, the kittens will check it out and sample it long before they are weaned. I have seen kittens barely able to waddle standing in the plate (up to their bellies in it), gumming the Cat Chow.

Offer them tinned food diluted with a bit of water, just a teaspoon or so for the whole litter. Dab a bit on their mouth and let them lick it. Or, pour boiling water over the kibble and let it puff up and get soft, then dab it on the kitten. About a teaspoon of kibble and a tablespoon of water will be enough for a while. Let the other cats clean up after the kits, don't try to keep the pablum.

Same with litter pans ... as soon as they can waddle, put a shallow tray with litter near the nest box (the flat boxes soda cans come in are great, and disposable). Place a kittten in it and move its front paws in a digging motion. Once or twice is usually enough to give them the idea, and they are litter trained.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:38PM
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Thanks - that is great info that I haven't seen elsewhere. The plastic milk crate they were born in is becoming very small as they grow and now the mom has to nurse them sitting up --- I hope she moves them soon. The bathtub would be great and I put some of my worn clothes in it. She doesn't seem very inclined to move them right now.

Their eyes aren't opened yet but the mom is OK with us handling the kits briefly each day.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 9:05AM
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My local Humane Society will neuter at 8 weeks old. Better safe than sorry with those male cats!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 8:57AM
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The eyes opened yesterday ---- awesome! I will take them and their mom to be neutered/spayed as soon as they are weaned. I understand the mom can get pregnant even while she is nursing but I sure can't do this will she is still feeding the kits.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:33AM
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No lectures here , Carmen . I witnessed kittens being born ..... it's an awesome part of nature. No advice - but best wishes.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 10:50PM
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We intervened --- that plastic milk crate was getting smaller by the day! We cleaned up a rectangular chicken cage and put blankets and the babies in it in the same corner that she made her own.

Immediately she got in there, laid down and the babes came to her to nurse. Plenty of room for all and since it has been in the 90's for the last couple of days, they all have room to spread out.

It is shallow enough with an opening in the top so that in a week or so, the babies will be able to climb out. Our dog is doing great with them and even the big cats are (at least) ignoring them. The 'hissing' has stopped. Still wonder why she didn't move them herself.

We are handling them daily and they no longer squeal when we pick them up -- the mom has always been cool with our handling them. Did I mention that this is so EXCITING?????

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Hey Carmen. I won't give you any crap at all, promise. I will also second trying "8 weeks old" though for spay/neuter. Studies have shown that the earlier it is done the better -- the animal shows little to no ill effects and actually recovers quicker than if done older.

It was a policy at the shelter I worked at for both dogs and cats, and my Mocha (dog) did the same around 8 weeks. The females are done at 8 weeks with maybe 1 day recovery and then up and playing (as opposed to older). The males are the same, but the trick is that both testicles should be discended. That usually happens around 8 weeks but is not a hard and fast rule.

My dog Rusty, adopted at 3 yrs old, still did not have one discended, and it cost me extra for his neuter.

Its just a quicker recovery when they are younger as opposed to waiting, and usually has no ill effects or consequences. This is true for both dogs and cats.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 2:55AM
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Carmen, to aid weaning (and omg with running a shelter I do have experience in this), you can try purchasing some Esibilac. You can find it at any pet store (think Similac for babies).

Try mixing that in a baggy of crushed up kitten chow. Warm the esibilac first though, then add it to the baggy.

Crush the kitten chow in a baggy with a rolling pin (try a can of any veggie if you don't have a rolling pin). Then add in some warm Esibilac and form it into a mush. Try pushing just a little around the mouth, and you should be successful. I would not really attempt this unless you think she just doesn't have enough milk and they are old enough for it. Make it very very wet and smooth at first. Gradually increase the dryness.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 3:03AM
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The only advice I could give would be not to let the momma out until you get her spayed...We started caring for ferals and the 2 females each had a litter...I made the appointment to alter and would you believe when we got them there, 1 female was pregnant and her babies were still just a month or so old...You really, really do have to be careful....I also helped with a rescue/trapping/release program and we did have nursing mothers that we had spayed and they still took care of the babies.....Sounds terrible, doesn't it?
And, it is good you are handling them..Makes for easier adoptions...
Good luck with your fur-babies

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 6:15PM
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Irish, not terrible at all. People just do not understand the exponetial growth of cats. 1 unspayed cat in 2 years can evolve (if her litter is unfixed) into 73,000 cats in about 7 to 8 years. YES, I said 73,000.

Staggering yes?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:22AM
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I don't want to push the weaning since I believe the mom will have the milk to feed them until she is ready to get them on regular food. I can understand a cat not having enough milk if she can't feed regularly but that isn't the case here. All she does is eat, feed, clean them up, nap and start all over again.

Sounds just like a human mom!

I will take them all in to have them fixed when weaned and just hope the mom won't get pg again. It is impossible to keep her in but she never goes far. (I know, I know, but I just have to hope for the best.)

We found a litter four years ago when they were very tiny. We had them all spayed/neutered at 5 mos. and the males didn't even seem to notice anything happened --- after just three days, the female was up and running also. They heal amazingly fast.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 8:46AM
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