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Old 01-19-2009, 11:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

First of all, I'm not a breeder, just an irresponsible cat owner. I keep putting off spaying my female partly due to working so much (she's a very needy dependant cat) and partly due to finances. We are very diligent about not letting her out but alas my cat got out when my brother was staying here and got knocked up. Loving my cat as much as I do, I have embraced the pregnancy and see it as a blessing even if half the world considers me irresponsable. We've been trying to introduce another cat to the home but she's pretty bitchy towards other cats. We are definalty keeping one of them. I have done a lot of research so that I was prepared for anything but I can't find info on why moms would bite their kittens other then to carry them.

Angel had 3 kittens yesterday. One black who we are calling blacky , one calico just like her and the other a grey/black/white tabby. Delivery went quick and smooth and they all seem healthy. They are all the same size and all appear to be feeding. Mom hasn't left their side except to move them or scout for a better location which she surprised us with at 5 am this morning. My mom rescued her and her 6 siblings when they had been abandoned at 4 weeks so I've been afraid she would do the same. We are prepared in either case but she appears to be very attentive to them.

My concern is the way she seems to be biting the neck of the black kitten. She's biting into the side of his neck and underneath. Sometimes she just holds onto him like that. I don't see her treating the others this way and she's not moving him when she does it. She's not rejecting him as far as I can tell either. He's cudddled and nursed like the others but after her panic attack this morning I am giving her lots of privacy. The black one does seem to be the more mobile one of the bunch. He's moving around much more then the others so could it be her way of keeping him still? When she moved them to the closet this morning and left to anxiously seek other sites, blacky was all over the place coming out of the closet screaching relentlessly but she always came back pretty darn fast to put him back in his place and calm the rest of them down before venturing out again. I'll give blacky a thorough examination when I weight and measure them tomorrow but if anyone has some insight as to if this is ok behavior and not harmful I would appreciate it.

P.S I have read through a few threads and kudos to those taking in pregnant cats and orphans.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

Welcome Tarah,
You shouldn't have to worry about getting flamed here. You did try to keep Angel chaste, she was just a very naughty devil of a kitty! I've only had one litter of kittens born in my bathroom, two orphaned litters at 9dys old and about 2-3wks old, the rest were trapped ferals around weaning age.
I foster, TNR and rescue a little.

Anyhow, the litter Shadow had stayed in a cat carrier and they didn't try to get out. From what you are describing, the black kitten is just more mobile and it seems like she is trying to encourage it to be still. Can you isolate Angel and her litter in a smallish, quiet room? Shadow was kept in my larger master bathroom. You could do the same if it isn't an often used bathroom, or keep her in a room with maybe one or two suitable kitten nesting sites. When I tried to leave my bathroom door open for Shadow to have more room to exercise into the master bedroom, she tried to move the kittens under my King size bed. I couldn't have them under there on the carpet so I got them out and had to keep her in the bathroom and let her into the bedroom only when I was there to make sure she didn't try to move them.

Mother cats often bite the necks of their kittens, especially when grooming, and it does seem like the equivalent of a human mother saying "Sit still until I'm done with you!". I think I'd just keep an eye on her and that kitten, but because that kitten is the most active, that may be the only reason you are seeing her do this with this particular kitten, especially if it appears healthy in all other ways. I suppose you could bring her and the litter to the vet for an exam to rule out a problem with the black kitten, in case she is thinking she needs to cull or reject it, for whatever reason...but if my finances were tight, I think I would save my money for vaccinations and spaying.

Anyhow, welcome and good luck!
Heidi
Oh, PS... any pictures you could post? We love seeing kittens!
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

I'd say mama cat is trying to keep her black baby still. She probably think he's too mobile. Nothing to worry about. You might see her chewing off the kittens whiskers for the very same reason.

If she would manage to puncture the skin when she's keeping him still he'll need antibiotics ASAP in order to prevent infection. Cats have many nasty bacterias in their mouths and kittens die off very fast if they get an infection.
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

I'm glad I don't have to worry about being flamed but at the same time fixing her should be a priority. This is Angels second pregnancy , the first (a year ago) ended up in disaster. She was extremly anxious and needed me to be by her side every second. I had to move my home office equipment to my room to stay with her. She ended up delaying her labour and I found a dead kitten in the basement. She only had one. I took her in for xrays to ensure there were no others. I did not want to go through that again nor did I want to put my cat through that again but she seems to have done well this time.

As for the biting, thats what I thought and was hoping to hear validated by others. I'm still gonna check when my brother brings the scales over.

The kittens were born on my daughters bed in a cubby whole at the bottom of a cat tree. Being the needy cat she is, she attached herself to my daughter the night before demanding she stay with her the whole time hence why she gave birth there. A few hours after birth we grabbed another box that we had set up as a possible nesting site (we had 6 of them throughout the house) and she took to it right away. She was panting from heat we figure as the cubby hole was very warm. That box was kept in my daughters room but I figure Skye's (my teen) interference and presence in her room all the time led Angel to seek out another site at 5 am yesterday morning. She moved her litter to one of the boxes I set up in my room yesterday morning while we were out as I figured she would do. She's in my bedroom closet now and has been there since yesterday. My room is quiet and unoccupied all day so it's a good safe spot for her. She only comes out to feed and drink water outside the nest and I have not heard a single squak from the kittens.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

Ah, sounds like everyone is doing fine, then. Keep us updated and we'd like to see photos is Angel isn't too anxious about posing with her brood. If she is, we can wait until she is more comfortable.
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

I agree that she's likely just trying to keep the black kitten still.

I got Doran when his mum abandoned him at 10 days, and he was exactly the same. I thought he was a girl originally, so we called him Dora the explorer. Lol. So I sympathize with her.

If she'll let you hold the kittens I'd try to do that once a day, quietly. Only one or two people. More could make her nervous, but you want the kittens to be used to being handled.

Good luck with your kittens???
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

Pics are here!

Monday morning at 5 am. Nest#2


Monday noonish. She moved them to nest #3


Teusday 11pm. Nest#4....yup she moved them again. I came across this picture of blacky tonight


This little guy is one **** of a character. Every time I check in on them he is in another location or crawling around. he never stops moving.



Mom feeding her kittens.


Mom after feeding.
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

It's kittens! Baaay-by kitteeehs! [faints due to KCO: kitten cuteness overload] *thud*

They look lovely, and the mama cat looks quite pleased with herself.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

Oh, lovely precious little babies.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mom is biting the neck of one of her kittens

I want!
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