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Discussion Starter #1
Nakita...who didnt look pregnant AT ALL had kittens this evening. I walked in the barn started getting the feeds ready. Bent over to grab the bucket and there was a kitten at the edge of my foot. Nearly stepped on it. Its a tiger striped. that kitten was approx 5-6 inches away from the mom. Nakita had two others with her. I picked the tiger stripe up and it was cold, alive, but cold so I moved her into the cage in the nubian barn. All are comfty. But as I picked them up I noticed something...no hair on the ears, feet, and rear ends. All my other kittens always had hair everywhere. Are these kittens early? After I put them in the cage I got a rubber feed pan and put the 3 kittens and momma in she layed down. She's a skittish type of cat so I put blankets over the cage to make it nice and dark for her. I checked in on her twice and both times that tiger stripe kitten was on the other side of her. They are all cool to the touch. She layed down and I made sure all three were up against her.

So...are they early or is it normal for some to have no hair on the ears feet and rear ends?

Im going to attempt to get some pictures of the kittens. Once she's settled down enough.
 

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Premature kittens usually can not hold their heads up or crawl like they should be able to. They also may have a wrinkly skins. I had done some research recently on the birth weight of kittens and found it should be at least from 3.1 -3.7 ounces for a normal healthy weight kitten. Some premature kittens can be as small as 2 ounces but usually will not survive. Do you have a scale that can measure small weights? Maybe a postal scale or kitchen scale? If she keeps pushing the tabby kitten away she probably senses that she's not going to make it or something is very wrong with her.

Can you bring them all inside? That would probably be best for them. The most important thing for them is too stay warm and to eat, doesn't sound like she's getting either. Can you start bottle feeding her with some KMR immediately? She probably wont make it much longer without being inside, warm and eating.

You can fill up some plastic water bottles, like a two liter with hot water and wrap a towel around it and place them next to it, that will help with body temp. too.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply. The kittens are moving around. And not its not possible to bring the cat/kittens inside. All the barn cats dont come inside. Never know when they might have a bug and I dont want them passing anything to my indoor cats.

The mother and kittens are in the barn out of drafts and have blankets over the cage.

I do have a scale. Not sure how well it'll work. Its a meat scale...? Will that work to take weights?

I dont have any KMR...I have fresh goats milk though. I read on a few kitten sites that goats milk is good to give them. (that is like for alot of baby animals!)

Im going back out to check on them. If they still feel cold I'll get a few bottles of water and put out there in the pan.

Thanks again!
 

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I'm going to move this to Breeding for you as some of the folks with the experience you're looking for only usually frequent that forum.

Good luck with the kittens....
 

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I know that barn kittens usually stay in the barn, but this could be a matter of life or death. I think you need to have the kittens and mother cat in your room, where you can weigh them, keep their bed warm, and supplement their feedings, if necessary. You will know if one is in distress if you keep them near you.

Doodle gave you the best possible advice. A life is a life, whether it's a pet or a barn cat. I'm sure you'd agree. Those babies need extra warmth and extra attention, perhaps a vet's attention. It would be wise to get a heating pad made especially for kittens and puppies, one that doesn't get too hot. However, if that's not possible, follow these directions:

Kittens must remain warm at all times. Get a cardboard box and some towels and line the box with the towels. Put a heating pad on one side of the card board box so that if the kittens get to hot they can move over to the opposite side of the box where the heating pad isn't located.

Kittens must be fed every three to four hours or they will die. You cannot give them regular milk as this is useless it will do nothing but cause diarrhea and soon death. The food you must feed the kitten should be a kitten milk. Take a trip to a local Petsmart and purchase KMR Kitten Milk you will need a lot of these so get as many as you're able to purchase. You will need to feed them through a eyedropper, syringe, nursing bottle, or stomach tube. A small syringe or eyedropper is easiest for inexperience hands. If a nursing bottle is used the holes in the nipple should be enlarged if the formula does not drip slowly from the nipple when the full bottle is inverted (turned upside down)
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cats-1606/ne ... mother.htm

Make sure the heating pad is on low and is covered. A heating pad especially for cats is better, because you can keep the temperature lower. However, you need to take action immediately!

Although that article is about abandoned kittens, these kittens are cold, and the two issues covered are the most important. Keep them warm, fed, and, of course, call the vet. If you use goat's milk, mix it 50/50 with sterile water, and use a kitten nursing bottle. Make sure the milk is at room temperature and kept refrigerated between feedings. If you don't have a nursing bottle, a dropper will do. Whether or not this is necessary will depend on the kitten's weight.

When preparing formula, make up only enough for a forty-eight-hour period and divide it into individual feeding portions. These portions can be stored in the refrigerator. Before feeding, warm the formula to about 100° While warming the formula, sterilize the feeding utensils in boiling water for fifteen minutes to destroy harmful bacteria or viruses. All handlers should wash their hands before feeding or handling the kittens.
http://maxshouse.com/kitten_care.htm

Do your barn cats get their vaccinations and veterinary care? It's so important. Please let us know how they are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We all do things differently, and we'll have to agree to disagree on a few things.

As I stated before they are barn cats and will not be in my room or the house. A few years ago I lost my cat, I had her from the second she was born until the day she died around 8 years old. She was fully healthy until I brought a kitten in from outside...She got sick on Tuesday, Died Thursday. (kitten died to) I'm thankful she went fast and didnt suffer but I dont want to repeat that again. That was the hardest day of my life, I wasnt home when she passed. And to this day I still cant look at her pictures with out crying. I cant even talk about her with out crying...

So that said, Im sure you guys can understand as to why I'm so careful and very picky on outsiders coming in.

Now I just went and milked the goat and checked the kittens. I picked each one up and they are warming up now. They must have been up against the momma. They are in a draft free cage with my horse's blankets draped over the cage. I'm going to get a few warm water bottles and put in there with them.

Low tonight is suppose to be 56*F. I dont have a heating pad, the one I have gets really hot on a low setting, something is wrong with it and theres no way i'm going to risk a fire in my barn...barn cost too much, not to mention I have about 1000$ worth of goats in the barn. So I'll keep adding the warm water bottles as they cool off through the night. Good thing I dont have to work!!!

Nakita seemed to be getting upset with me so I ended my observation short. I was going to check and make sure the kittens were nursing. I figured I'd give her a 1/2 hour and settle down some. She's a very skittish type of cat. Always have been.

Thanks for all the information.
Here's the pictures...Pay close attention to the legs and ears.










Ok Im off to put some water bottles in the pen and also hopefully get the weights of the kittens and check momma kitty. I'll be back soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok Im back. I put 3 water bottles in there. When I went back out there that tiger stripe kitten was on the other side of her. (backside) other two were near her belly and warm. Tiger wasnt warm. Cool to the touch. I picked that one up and made sure to put it next to the water bottle while taking weights. All 3 weigh approx 3oz. Im not sure if that tiger kitten is getting "lost" or if the mother is moving it away. I put the tiger stripe kitten on her and he/she appeared to be nursing.

Also I closed the barn door for the night. :wink:
 

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It's always necessary to isolate any new animals. These are your cats too. We tried to give you the best advice we could. Sorry it's not what you wanted to hear. I hope the kittens live. :(
 

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You may lose the little tiger stripe. I noticed in the orphaned litter I hand-reared, the sickly one usually slept off by himself. He did not gain weight like the others and I did lose him. He was buried next to his mother.

May I suggest several layers of towels in the rubber feedpan? Those rubbermaid pans can get cold and I think it would be difficult for a little newborn kitten to warm up the pan he is laying on while trying to keep himself warm, too.

Also, while I do feel they look a little 'naked', I don't think it looks too bad.
Best of luck with your barn-brood!
h
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks. I put a thick layer of hay/straw down for them in the feed pan. I have been checking them. Last time I went out that tiger kitten was on the other side again. I'm waiting a bit before checking on them again. I'm going to have to redo the bottles of water soon. They are cooling off. The other two are doing good though. Nice and warm and appear to be eating.

The two black ones look so weird with out hair on the feet and ears. Eww. Lol.

If the kitten is back on the other side again I'll heat up some goatsmilk...I have plenty!
 

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whiteghost said:
...that tiger kitten was on the other side again.
You know, I wonder if its instincts just aren't working right. He should be able to latch onto a nipple and then learn to stay near that 'smell' so he can easily nurse. It does sound like he's getting lost.
It MAY be that all you'll need to do is redirect him back to the nipple area for a few days but I feel if he doesn't learn on his own QUICKLY, he may pass on. Newborn kittens do not have much tolerance at this young age for messing around. He needs to nurse and gain weight right now, and if he keeps going off on his own...his chances of survival will go down dramatically.
Best wishes...
h

ps, your hay/straw will be warm and easy to clean...much easier than the towels I suggested.
 

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good luck with them, they are precious :heart

I know what you feel like, my kitten was a barn kitten. I was always so nervous for her&the litter. They were a strong bunch of kittens though.

I hope the tiger stripe pulls through.
 

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Keep trying with that little Tiger kitten (and what beautiful markings she already has). I agree with Heidi, I would very, very frequently go and put her back on Momma. I wonder if putting her between the two black kittens would keep her warmer and a little more in place, so long as they don't smother her. Keep replacing the water bottles - they may a very big difference. If the tiger isn't getting enough milk you will HAVE to step in and feed her, even if you keep her outside and make trips out there every hour or two. I am not sure how accurate your scale is, at such low weights they can be difficult to get an accurate weight depending on your type of scale, but it does sound like they are a bit underweight. So, food and warmth is the only thing that will help them pull through.

Good luck, keep us posted and keep up with the pics too!

P.S. I understand you don't want to expose your indoor cats to anything, but do you have an area of the house where you can keep them away from all the others? A bathroom, den, even a closet...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well I went out and checked them when I milked. Momma had layed on one of the black ones. So I have 2 left. She's a first time mom... So I got rid of the dead kitten. The other two were cool. So I have them in a carrier with water bottles all around them.

I'm not having much luck with feeding...I tried to give them warm goats milk. With a srynge. (sp?) A really small srynges. I tried using a bottle to but their mouths are too small.

:?:

Should I give them back to Nakita after they are warmed up or should I just go ahead keep them and feed them. :?:
 

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Can you put them all in a little bit of a bigger carrier? If you aren't able to get food into them, then I would def. put them back with momma right away. If they can't eat than they have no chance at all. I think the most important thing is for them to be warm and EATING.
If you can bring the two kittens inside and keep them warm and bottle feed them with a small bottle designed for caring for small kittens and feed them KMR THEN I would take them from momma. But, if you dont have the proper tools and can't bring them in, leave them with Momma. She may not have actually smothered her, it's a definite possibility but she may have sensed she was sick, or maybe she had died already and momma had been trying to check her out, keep her warm, etc. - I am surprised to hear it was the black one and not the tiger though.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Im shocked it wasnt the tiger one to. I figured I'd find it laying off by itself again dead. But it wasnt dead! :D

I dont have a larger carrier. I have the crate she was in (cage). I'm going to clean it out. She had a potty accident in there. I'm going up in the loft and look for a box. Maybe if I can find one and cut a hole in it so she's really "hidden" she'll settle down.
The male cat I have I'm afraid he'd kill them. UGH. So I dont want to just turn her and the kittens out. I may not need any more cats but I dont want them to die because of getting attacked by another cat.
 

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Ok I checked the kittens again. They were warmed up from laying by the bottles. I couldnt find a box in the loft big enough for her to lay down comfortably and small enough to fit in the crate. :x So I cleaned it all out and used the rubber feed pan again. I went ahead and put 2 warm bottles of water and some rags in there. I had to put her in the pan. And put the kittens on her. But she's laying there, pawing the side of the pan.
 
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