|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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