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Am I feeding my nursing mother cat enough?

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your cat's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your kitty!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster's choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

  
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Lola

Proud mother of- the Fab Four!
 
 
Purred: Wed May 18, '11 5:28pm PST 
By now, you've already seen the vet, but I thought I'd add a few tips to the excellent ones you've gotten already.

As everyone has been saying, nursing Momcats need a tremendous amount of nutrition, so do feed her as much as she'll eat, and keep up with the kitten food (which has more calories and fat than regular food) and the KMR. Most of the nursing cats I've seen (my own, those at other catteries) look pretty skinny and worn-out--being a lactating Momcat is not for sissies!

You can also supplement her cat food diet (which is designed to be nutritionally balanced) with protein-rich foods. One good one is skinless boiled chicken breast--few cats can resist the taste of chicken. Eggs, scrambled or hard-boiled, are also a recommended source of readily available protein for the nursing cat; you can mix them in with her food if she doesn't like them plain. Nursing moms also need calcium, and cheese (for example, low-sodium sliced cheese) is something my breeder swears by. Many cats enjoy a spoonful or two of plain yogurt. Although many (not all) cats are lactose-intolerant, processed and fermented dairy foods, such as cheese and yogurt, are generally well-tolerated by cats--at least, all the cats I've ever had! Cottage cheese is also a dairy food that is nutritious, palatable, and usually well-tolerated. Just feed them in small amounts as supplementary treats.

As for the soft stools, I assume that you've already spoken to your vet about this. Soft stools and diarrhea are not uncommon in cats after childbirth and while nursing. There can be various causes--food change may be one, but stress (mental and physical) is another, and another cause could be roundworms, which can be activated by pregnancy and childbirth. If the soft stools persist or become diarrhea, I'd advise you to take a stool sample to the vet. Ideally, cats should be dewormed before getting pregnant, but apparently it's safe to deworm lactating moms, under the vet's supervision, if necessary.

Yogurt is sometimes used to firm up soft stools, because the bacterial culture it contains acts as a probiotic that settles tummies. Another thing I've found effective for soft stools is hairball control food, as it contains extra fiber that firms up the stools. If the soft stools continue, you may consider offering some hairball control food along with the kitten food, although it will not be as nutritious as the kitten food. Perhaps you could try mixing in a bit of hairball control food with the wet food. The boiled chicken breast I mentioned earlier is also said to help firm up stools.

I don't think it sounds like you have a problem, but just remember that dehydration does occur with lactating queens, so increased hydration and firming up the stool are things you should pay attention to. Make sure she's drinking enough water; the KMR and wet food will help as well.

As for not being able to buy premium foods--I sympathize, as I'm in Japan, where premium foods are hard to find in regular shops. Have you tried the Internet? Try searching for some of the wet foods recommended on the food forums. For some odd reason, in Japan, ferret shops and websites seem to be a good place to find premium foods.

As for the kittens, I'm sure you know this, but weigh them regularly to make sure that they are gaining weight at the recommended rate. If not, that could mean that Momcat is not producing enough milk, and may mean (it probably won't, so don't worry) that you should supplement the kittens' diet by hand feeding. But consult with your vet first. Mama's milk is always best.

It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job with your first experience being a kitty grandmother. Soon the kittens will start moving around and acting cute, so make sure that you enjoy them, as they grow up and move out so quickly. Good luck!
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Momo (1/2/08- - 8/3/11)

1187086
 
 
Purred: Thu May 19, '11 1:30am PST 
Thanks for the additional tips. I hadn't thought about eggs, cottage cheese or yogurt because my own cats hate them (they'll eat a fallen olive immediately before I can get to it, but won't even try scrambled egg!), but this momma cat is not finicky at all with any moist food. They sound like they will be good to supplement her diet with. My husband will be so annoyed to learn that I'm cooking eggs for the cats again, but never him. laugh out loud

Momma is definitely putting on weight every day which I'm pleased to see. Her stools have also firmed up and look normal now. I guess it was just a response to the sudden diet change. The vet had us worm all of them yesterday too, just in case, and because of some theory that the kittens sneezes were from needing to be wormed(I posted another query about that, never heard about that connection), but thinks everything sounds fine.

Unfortunately we have trouble ordering anything on the internet here because we live in a rural area, by the time our order got here the kittens could very well be weaned already! If she still seems lacking, we'll make the two hour roundtrip journey to get her better quality food this weekend.

The kittens are growing like adorable, furry little weeds. Although I can never see them nurse because the mom (being a young mom) completely ignores them if we're in there with her, and just wants to socialize and hang out, they all seem like they're getting enough. I'm keeping track of them. They have grown tremendously since we got them. With how mom is, it will be a huge relief when they're weaned though.
I am already dreading the day when they have to leave. The next 10 weeks will go by quickly, but will fall right into when people go on vacation here, so maybe it will buy me more time with them. red face

And thank you for your kind words and well wishes. smile
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Pepper

1188886
 
 
Purred: Sun May 22, '11 7:24pm PST 
We really admire you taking those responsibilities. Hope everyeone can do what you're doing. I have kittens myself right now and they are doing very well. Just make sure to keep the kittens warm and have water always available for your queen. I'm sure everything will be fine. God Bless.
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Member Since
11/23/2012
 
 
Purred: Fri Nov 23, '12 12:32pm PST 
I don't think I saw any post about feeding the cat a GRAIN free diet. A lot of cat foods have GRAIN in then which is not what cats need and it might actually be bad for them. Brands like Purina are not the way to go. Stick to a brand like Taste of the Wild or EVO. These brands tend to have higher amounts of better quality protein (read the ingredients, the first 3-5 ingredients are purely meat/fish derived). These high quality brands tend to be more expensive but not to fear, this food tends to last longer (it is my opinion that these foods leave your animal feeling fuller longer and they want to eat less). These foods do have filler in them but it is most likely peas, sweet potatoes, or a variety of white potatoes. If it were up to me I would get a food with no filler but I have yet to find pet food without them.
Hope this was helpful!
M
[notify]



Member Since
11/23/2012
 
 
Purred: Fri Nov 23, '12 12:35pm PST 
I don't think I saw any post about feeding the cat a GRAIN free diet. A lot of cat foods have GRAIN in then which is not what cats need and it might actually be bad for them. Brands like Purina are not the way to go. Stick to a brand like Taste of the Wild or EVO. These brands tend to have higher amounts of better quality protein (read the ingredients, the first 3-5 ingredients are purely meat/fish derived). These high quality brands tend to be more expensive but not to fear, this food tends to last longer (it is my opinion that these foods leave your animal feeling fuller longer and they want to eat less). These foods do have filler in them but it is most likely peas, sweet potatoes, or a variety of white potatoes. If it were up to me I would get a food with no filler but I have yet to find pet food without them.
Hope this was helpful!
M
[notify]



Member Since
11/23/2012
 
 
Purred: Sat Nov 24, '12 7:11am PST 
I don't think I saw any post about feeding the cat a GRAIN free diet. A lot of cat foods have GRAIN in then which is not what cats need and it might actually be bad for them. Brands like Purina are not the way to go. Stick to a brand like Taste of the Wild or EVO. These brands tend to have higher amounts of better quality protein (read the ingredients, the first 3-5 ingredients are purely meat/fish derived). These high quality brands tend to be more expensive but not to fear, this food tends to last longer (it is my opinion that these foods leave your animal feeling fuller longer and they want to eat less). These foods do have filler in them but it is most likely peas, sweet potatoes, or a variety of white potatoes. If it were up to me I would get a food with no filler but I have yet to find pet food without them.
Hope this was helpful!
M
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Amber

Georgian Blue
 
 
Purred: Sat Dec 1, '12 10:24am PST 
I think it is so great that you took in a mama with babies! Make sure she has a safe place to nurse her kittens. Her litterbox should be within a couple feet of this area, so she has quick and easy access. Give her as much food and water as she wants. My mother often fosters pregnant and nursing mother cats, and she always gives them raw hamburger meat for the extra nutrition. Make sure to check her and the kittens for fleas, too! Keep an eye on her nipples and make sure they are not becoming sore or inflammed. Always speak softly around her and the kittens. Handle the kittens as little as possible until they are about 3 weeks old.
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  (Page 2 of 2: Viewing entries 11 to 17)  
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