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Discussion Starter #1
Hello hello :)

My name is Holly - I hail from Ontario, Canada, although I am originally from England! I live with my boyfriend and our dog Pickles (rotti), our hamster Scone and our new kitten called Snow!

Snow has quite the tale...

Three weeks ago I found her mewing outside a house in the neighbourhood I live. It was -15 and the snow was past my knees and the poor little thing was wet through so I knocked on this person's house and asked whether the kitten could come in. I was given a big fat and rather rude no from the person. She said - and I quote 'That cat is not allowed in this house'. I asked what I should do with it and she told me to leave it. And so I did. Three hours later when it was still out there mewing I couldn't bear it and I brought it in for the night, where it instantly became a firm friend with the dog and swaggered about like she owned the place, rubbing her face against ours in bed and attacking our feet under the cover.

I was smitten, but there was the small issue that she wasn't ours. I didn't want to take her to the SPCA, lest she was returned to this lady who clearly didn't want her. So I released her. That evening, she was still out there mewing, but this time she readily followed me into my house. I spoke (rather bravely, I thought considering our last encounter) to the lady and informed her I had taken in her cat. And she didn't in the least care.

It became obvious that she had fleas and a little round tummy - worms? I hoped.

Anyway, I couldn't do anything about it as I was due to fly back to England to see my family for the first time in a year! So I left our new kitten (rescued from the snow and thus named Snow) in the capable hands of my boyfriend whilst I left across the ocean.

He managed to book her into the vets, where we discovered that the little round tummy was a belly full of kits and she is 6 weeks pregnant, at seven months old, poor thing. We were offered the option of having her spayed there and then, but I (via hasty text messages from 4000 miles away) told my boyfriend that it would have been different were they younger, but at that age they have whiskers and I can't morally make that decision.

Sooooo...I guess we will have a few kits more in three weeks time, much research is now being done and that is why I am here!! Seeking advice! Off to search the forums ;) I need lots of advice from all you people, who I am sure are 'been there done that' types!
 

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That was a very nice thing you did for that poor sweetheart. Her and her babies will have a safe place. That is pretty awesome!
 

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I hope so - I hope that we haven't made a bad decision to not have her spayed, it is plaguing me a little, but anything has to be better than putting her out in the snow to have babies, which is what would have happened had we not taken her in.

Here is a photo of the little mite when we got her :love2 she is white, but for a tiny sliver of grey on her forehead.
 

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AWW, she is very pretty. Very appropriate name. I am sure you will get lots of good advice and information here.
 

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At only seven months...she's still a kitten herself...
Be prepared for anything if you're going to "let" her have kittens...

She might be a good mother...
Or she might not have clue...

You guys should have Kitten Replacement Milk on hand and some kitten nursing bottles on hand as well...
A heating pad, a box lined with warm towels or something else easily washed...

I really do understand your quandary...
But have you thought about her health?
She should have been concentrating on her growth (she is still growing at that age)
Not sending all precious nutrients to kittens...
Keep her fed very well, she's going to need all the help she can get from you guys!

Now all that being said...
I am so Happy you took her in!
At least if she has kittens, she is in a safe warm place, with people who care!!
Keep us all posted!
And she's a very pretty girl!! :D
 

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Feed her kitten food. It has a lot of calories and nutrients that will help her with the kittens. Feed her as much as she wants when she is nursing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am absolutely concerned about her health, she is far too young, had she been less pregnant I would have considered having her spayed, but I couldn't morally make that decision - esp as it was presented as a split decision to make in a 'now or never' type of way by the vet and I didn't want to make a wrong decision. I googled it all etc and found that at 6 weeks her kittens have whiskers and claws and that most vets won't perform the procedure beyond four weeks, so it was just too hard a decision to make - for right or wrong. We aren't just 'letting' her have them - all aspects have been considered, and it makes no difference now as the decision has been made.

Now I need to help her as practically as possible. Kitten milk replacement is an awesome thing - will add to list, where would I get that from? Thanks for adding the other things too, there are a few things on there we hadn't got on our list too x
 

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What an awesome thing you and your boyfriend did by taking in Snow! That lady next door needs a lesson on compassion!!

Good luck with the pregnancy and keep us up-to-date on her progress, okay?
 

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Holly, Sorry if I sounded kinda hard...
I did want you to understand the gravity of the situation tho'
It sounds like you've got a good grasp on it and just being prepared for anything is half the battle!!
I am so happy you're on the forum!
There will be all kinds of 'aunts' and 'uncles' ready to jump in and assist you here! :p
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not at all - I just worry that people might think I am another person who has 'accidentally' let their cat breed or something like that! I used to work in a rescue kennel - with dogs - but I am aware of the high proportion of animals that end up in these places, where there is generally a 70% kill rate. It does make me feel just awful. I just felt I was between a rock and a hard place.

Our kitten is super adorable, but obviously this wasn't something we planned and we just need to muddle through and do the best we can!

So, here is my plan - PLEASE jump in with any tips or advice! I used to show and breed hamsters and had my own hamstery (I am a bit of a mad woman), but clearly this is a whole different ball game! However luckily, I do have that attitude of needing to know all potential outcomes, to be able to minimize risks etc.

So, from what I understand, if our girl is 6 weeks (approx) pregnant then she will only have 3-4 weeks left. However, the vet has approximated this - how accurate can vets be on this? That is my first question! There are many - I am sorry!

I am pretty au fait now with the equipment I need to collect when I get back to Canada tomorrow for her and she is being fed a high quality grain-free kitten food anyway. However - 1 QUESTION is that she was pretty skinny when we first got her and so we don't know what she had previously been fed on? Probably whatever she could find - could this affect her?

Ok. So. Next we need a quiet place. We live in an apartment with an open plan lounge and kitchen area, a bathroom and a bedroom. So, I am thinking the best place is the bedroom and the dog just won't be able to sleep with us for a while. We have a large walk in wardrobe. The plan is to put a cardboard box (was going to buy something fluffy - but will get dirty with kittens weeing in it etc?) in the wardrobe - needs to be high enough the kittens won't fall out, low enough that Snow can get in and out. QUESTION: How high in cms or inches should we make it? Maybe could get the OH to build something out of wood actually. Right, will fill it with newspaper - scrumpled and towels and bedding (clean). Next QUESTION: When should we start to confine her to this room, to ensure that she gives birth in there - a week before we think she will give birth or when she displays nesting behaviour? Or should I be taking her temperature to see when she drops below 100 and then put her in there?

Next QUESTION: I will probs need to try to take the time off of work? So I will check her temperature and then take the day off work? And then I will watch through a crack in the door to ensure that she is not having any difficulties - cords wrapped round necks, not cleaning babies, not chewing umbilical cord, babies stuck in birth canal, difficulty delivering etc. Think I am more or less au fait with all that? However - QUESTION - how long should she take to chew the cord before I have to snip it - I am aware this is going to still be carrying blood for a short time. And how do I snip it? Ew, sounds super gross!

I can deal with the kitten problems as and when they come after - replacement milk potential, leaving them alone for the first week - worming after two weeks etc etc. However, my primary concern is the imminent birth and any emergency type disasters I need to deal with. Forewarned is forearmed!
 

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Hi! Just thought I would provide an update! Snow is doing well - still very playful etc though, not like an expectant Mother at all :( although she has been a bit more bitey than she was but I think that is perhaps because she has settled in and is finding her feet a bit. I am glad to be home from England and to be with her. I thought I would put a couple of pic so f her up here. She is a beautiful girl!
 

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Holly, Snow is such a pretty girl!
She may be feeling her pregnancy a bit more now too, which also could explain her 'bitey' moments!
Glad she's settling in!!
 

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Wow - she is gorgeous!! What a lovely girl, keep the pictures coming. :D So glad you helped her out and gave her a loving home. Kittens are a ton of work but incredibly fun. Hopefully she won't have problems switching to mommy mode and won't have too many.

I LOVE all white cats, I share my house with two white kitties plus friends! Can't wait to see updates and more pictures, especially kitten pictures!
 

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Aww, she is so pretty!

Usually, Mom will stop eating a day or so before she's ready to go into labor (and her temp will also drop). Some cats do the nesting thing, but not all of them. Most Moms groom their "lady areas" when they're getting close too. Their reactions vary, so just be on the lookout for changes in behavior - looking around for some place to hide, meowing a lot, etc. In terms of the bed/box, if you can get something plastic (waterproof), that's best. A laundry basket works well, or even a large litter box (new of course - the hooded ones are good because it gives Mom privacy/security). Just make sure the sides are high enough the kittens can't get out, but not so high that she has to strain/jump high to get out of. Newspaper works well for the first few days because they're disposable. After then, towels are good to use, just be prepared to wash them every day. Once they start moving around a bit, it helps if they have something to grip (which is why I don't like newspaper that much because it slides around). As far as location, your closet sounds good as that should give her plenty of privacy. I would go ahead and prepare the box a couple of weeks ahead of time and introduce her to it so she feels comfortable with it, and knows where to go. Lastly, depending on how cool/warm it is in your house, you may want to get a heating pad and put it under the box (not in it - you don't want them to be directly on it as it can get too warm), and on the lowest setting. When Mom is with them, they'll be fine, but they can get very cold quickly, so it's good to have another source of heat this time of year!

In terms of the actual labor, I would definitely plan on being home. Once she goes into her nest, just leave her alone , but stay close by and listen for any sounds of distress (though it's normal for her to cry once she begins active labor). Once she starts delivering, you'll want to check on each kitten. Make sure you have gloves on so you don't get your scent on them if you have to handle them. It really depends on Mom, some deliver their kits without incident and need no assistance. She should clean up each kitten as it comes out, but if she doesn't, just wipe their face/nose (to make sure they can breathe), and put them back down (with gloves on!). Normally, she'll bite the cord, I've never had a Mom who didn't. If she doesn't bite it after 5 minutes or so, you'll want to cut it (with sterilized scissors) and clamp the cut side (I've never had to do this, so maybe someone else can give advise on this just in case?). The placentas can be really gross - there is one for every kitten! Normally she'll eat a couple, so don't be freaked out if you see that. But make sure you throw away any of the ones she doesn't eat. Normally, there's not much for you to do (cats do this in the wild all of the time), but it's really just to make sure the kittens are cleaned, breathing, etc. Try not to mess with them too much so you don't interfere with her bonding with them. Don't be stressed out - just stay calm and leave the work to Mom. :)
 

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Thanks so much for the kind replies...we did everything suggested, but...no kittens!! She has been getting bigger, but then this last week looks much much smaller. I see no signs of pregnancy or of readying herself for birth - no signs of discharge, eating normally, no movement from tummy that is noticeable, no big nipples, still super active, no behaviour change. She still has a tummy, but it is hard to examine as she is still a kitten and stroking her tummy sets off the biting and scratching kittens do. When she has been very relaxed she will let us find out, but I am no expert. I felt a lump in there last week and thought I felt kicking, but maybe I was wrong? Could the vet have got it wrong. We have had her for almost 6.5 weeks now. 3-4 weeks ago the vet said she thought she was 6 weeks pregnant. That would make her ready to pop. Her tummy looks like it has shrank too much :( so much stress! Don't want to take her to the vet in case she is fine and will add stress, but just want to know what is happening!!!!!! Help please, :)
 

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You should be able to see and feel kittens move in the abdominal area when she is relaxed and lying on her side. Sometimes it looks like the "tummy has shrank" but a week or so close to delivery it "drops". Sometime kittens can reabsorbed and there are no kittens born, but that usually happens within the first month. Occasionally cats can have a "false pregnancy" where the abdomen swells, and even teats enlarge but you see no movement of kittens, and then everything just peters out. Her teats should be pink and swollen, some even leak milk. I think a quick trip to the vet should determine if she has kittens or not, and will put your mind at ease.

I agree with most of emilyatl's suggestions....tho I would not use towels because little claws can sometimes get caught in loops....a baby's fleece blanket would be better (used clothing stores usually carry baby blankets).
The cat should eat all the placentas....these have the proper nutrients to get the milk flowing. If she doesn't chew off an umbilical cord, in my experience it's better to gently tear it apart with your finger nails, leaving about 1" piece from kitten's body....there is no bleeding of the cord when you do this, and I never had a cord get infected in the many years I bred cats.
I never had a momacat reject a kitten because I had my scent on them from my bare hands.
Give us an update after a vet visit.
 

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Welcome and bless you for taking that poor creature in!! Good luck with the kittens, and I hope to read more updates!
She is beautiful! What a lovely little cat!
 
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