A kitten at the vet.
A kitten at the vet. Photography ©SbytovaMN | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

What Is Fading Kitten Syndrome and Why Do So Many Foster Kittens Die From It?

Kitten season is here and there’s never been a better time to educate yourself on fading kitten syndrome. Various conditions and diseases can trigger fading kitten syndrome, but there are things you can do to prevent it.
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Every spring, Mother Nature reveals her regenerative power — and the remarkable fecundity of cats, in the form of millions of newborn kittens. Feral cats are the main source of this bounty. Most kittens born of feral mothers will make wonderful pets if they are properly socialized at an early age. Many of these kittens end up in the care of kindhearted people who foster them after they are orphaned or abandoned. Tragically, as spring turns to summer, Mother Nature reveals her darker side and often breaks the hearts of the kindhearted foster parents who have worked hard to nurture young kittens. A staggering proportion of kittens succumb to fading kitten syndrome before they reach nine weeks of age.

What are the stats?

A newborn kitten in the palm of a human hand.
Fading kitten syndrome is unfortunately very common. Photography by Branislav Ostojic/Thinkstock.

The most recent sources I have seen estimate that even in the best circumstances — in well-managed catteries — 15 percent to 27 percent of kittens die before they are nine weeks old.

It should come as no surprise that foster kittens don’t make the best-case-scenario statistics. Being orphaned or abandoned at an early age, with no prospect of a father in the picture under any circumstances, hardly gives an individual a leg up in life. Mortality among litters of foster kittens can be devastatingly high. It is not uncommon for death rates to reach 100 percent.

Why does fading kitten syndrome happen?

And, more important, what can you do to prevent fading kitten syndrome?

The word “syndrome” should be a tip off. Fading kitten syndrome is not a single entity; rather, it describes a large number of problems and conditions that can cause death in young kittens.

Related: 7 Things to Do If You Find an Orphaned Kitten

Most kittens who die from fading kitten syndrome appear to get sick and die suddenly. However, with a few exceptions (such as hypothermia and trauma), the problem generally builds gradually but is very difficult to detect until a crisis develops. I am sorry to say that the prognosis for kittens in crisis is poor. Therefore, the key to reducing fatality from fading kitten syndrome is early detection of subtle problems before a crisis occurs.

Causes of fading kitten syndrome

Kittens playing with each other (social play)
What are the causes of fading kitten syndrome? Photography by by Nokkapood1977 / Shutterstock.

When in crisis, almost all fading kittens exhibit similar symptoms. Profound lethargy, low body temperature, pale gums, low respiratory rate, and failure to root and nurse or eat are nearly universal signs of the syndrome. However, these signs can be caused by a large number of problems.

Inadequate mothering — by the feline mother — is a leading risk factor for fading kitten syndrome. Most foster kittens are subject to this risk factor in the extreme, since they were orphaned or abandoned by their mothers. Even kittens with mothers in the picture may be at risk if the mother is inexperienced, unable to produce sufficient milk, unwilling to let the kittens nurse, stressed, malnourished or, paradoxically, obese.

Trauma and hypothermia are two causes of fading kitten syndrome that truly come on suddenly. Trauma occurs most frequently when a kitten falls from a height or gets crushed. Hypothermia occurs when kittens get separated from one another and the mother in a chilly environment. Note that hypothermia is either a cause or a result of a fading kitten crisis. Almost all fading kittens in crisis will exhibit hypothermia.

Infectious organisms are frequent culprits in fading kitten syndrome. Kittens are at risk of sepsis from bacterial infections. Viral infections with organisms such as feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, panleukopenia, FIV/feline AIDS and feline leukemia virus may trigger the syndrome. Parasitic infestations with roundworms, coccidia or other organisms may trigger crises. Many of these infections are linked to immune system collapse, which is usually associated with a condition called thymus atrophy.

Hereditary defects ranging from heart irregularities to undeveloped immune systems may cause fading kitten syndrome.

Hemolytic anemia is another possible cause of the syndrome. This condition can occur when a kitten has a different blood type than its mother. When the kitten nurses during the first days of its life, it ingests antibodies that attack its blood cells.

Treating fading kittens and preventing crises

Kittens in crisis generally require treatment by veterinarians. The mainstays of treatment are thermal support, fluids, dextrose (sugar), and often antibiotics. If the affected kitten begins to warm and recover, nutritional support and deworming medications may be added. Sadly, the prognosis for kittens in crisis is poor, and many of them do not survive even with treatment.

What are the signs of fading kitten syndrome?

Preventing crises is key to reducing fatality from fading kitten syndrome. The early signs of fading kitten syndrome are subtle but often detectable. Sick kittens may not right themselves when turned on their backs. They may not root and suckle normally. Their eyes may not open at the usual age of five to 14 days. They will often be smaller than their littermates.

Most important, they may not gain weight normally. Healthy kittens should gain 7 to 10 grams per day. Experts recommend that kittens be weighed on a gram scale at least once daily (and many experts recommend weighing twice daily). High-quality gram scales can be purchased at kitchen supply stores, smoke shops (you can guess what purpose gram scales serve for some people) and online.

Kittens who do not gain weight at an appropriate rate should receive extra attention with special focus on feeding. Newborn kittens should be fed formula or milk every two hours. Weaning onto mush can begin at approximately four weeks of age.

A kitten lost to fading kitten syndrome can sometimes be a harbinger of problems for the littermates. A veterinarian should assess the mother and any remaining kittens after any such incident.

A final word on fading kitten syndrome

Although this article is intended for foster parents, I will throw in a few pieces of advice for breeders. Both the sire and dam should be blood typed prior to breeding, and that information should be used to prevent hemolytic anemia. Both should be tested for feline leukemia and FIV. The mother should be fully vaccinated and dewormed prior to breeding. And remember that the milk consumed in the first day or so, called colostrum, is the most important milk the kittens will consume, because it contains antibodies that protect the kittens from disease.

With diligence and early detection, some cases of fading kitten syndrome can be reversed before a crisis develops. However, I am sorry to say that many other cases will not respond to the efforts of even the most involved foster parent. Foster parents, please know that although the loss of a kitten — or even an entire litter of kittens — is heartbreaking, it does not necessarily mean that you have done anything wrong. Please keep up the good work.

Featured Photograph ©SbytovaMN | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Read Next: Kittens Meowing — How and Why Baby Cats Meow

67 thoughts on “What Is Fading Kitten Syndrome and Why Do So Many Foster Kittens Die From It?”

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  2. It’s super sad. I grieve with you. They are so fragile and weak. I now appreciate the ones that grow up to be strong and old.

  3. This was an important article for me because I experienced the loss of 4 kittens in 24 hours. One out of five is still alive and hope he makes it through. Unfortunately, I had one die today and I was trying so many things. The vets I called were all expensive. The consultation fees were $75 to $225. Such a sad and disappointing feeling to not be able to save them. RIP little ones.

  4. Oh, I did bring them inside btw. It sounds like I just left them out there. The mother and baby are in my room away from the other cats. When he turns 8 weeks the vet will take him and find him a home. I’m going to give the mother to the TNR people. Some of these cats are pretty tame they could probably be pets. She’ll let me pet her now.

  5. Teresa K Wilcox

    I wait for my cats to get older before I vaccinate, but I keep them in the house. Vaccines are rough. They’re even rough on us when we get them.

  6. We had a tiny cat outside that was huge! She was a stray and way to young to even be pregnant. I think someone dropped her off. She wouldn’t let me pick her up but I started feeding her. She started coming to the porch at feeding time. When she had them she hid. We couldn’t find her. I have a huge old pot that’s empty outside and I found her in there a few days later with them. They looked awful. There were only 4 so I’m pretty sure some had already died. Over night all but one died. The one is adorable and healthy and eating solid food now. He’s about 5 weeks but tiny, but the mother is tiny too. They all had this musty smell. What is that?! I took in some strays last right after Covid started and all the kittens died in hours. They all had that musty smell. I hate that smell now. It reminds me of death. I don’t have a car and I could take them anywhere to help them. We have a vet but she was closed. I usually walk to her. Thank you for writing this because I still cry remembering those kittens. They suffered. I tried everything but they wouldn’t eat and just spit up food. I know it wasn’t covid but it was so hauntingbecause the symptoms seemed like that. I held them in my hands when they died. At least these last kittens didn’t seem to suffer. There’s nothing worse than holding a kitten in your hands and feeling it’s heart stop beating. At least wefinally have someone coming out to TNR the strays. There are so many now. I live between a church and a vet and people drop them off all the time.The problem is I’m disabled and barely have any money so I can’t do much. I wish I could do more. I hate seeing them suffer.

  7. I just lost 4 kittens to this, they had a bit of diarrhea for a few days. The first one died when I didn’t pay enough attention after it was lethargic at night, then the next morning she’s gone. I took the remaining 3 to the vet straight away after the 2nd kitten looks lethargic (the other 2 still looks pretty active). The vet only gave them vitamin shots and dewormer, and he told me to change the KMR. On the same afternoon, that 2nd kitten died. The other 2 looks healthier though, as their poop improved to be more solid. However, just one day after, which is today, the 2 remaining worsened rapidly and died. I am truly heartbroken and felt guilty. Prior to this a year ago, I cared for an abandoned 2 weeks old kitten, and he’s all grown up and healthy now. Hence I was quite optimistic to care for these 4 when their mother went away.

  8. I so wish we had found this article when our little kitty, we named Cuddles, came into our lives. Looking back I think she was abandoned by her mother. She looked normal, was so loving and sweet. We didn’t realize that her wanting to sleep all the time and having a triangular face were signs things were not good. She seemed to have a great appetite. We had her for four days and we left her in the bathroom for just a few hours. When we came back she was dead. It was devastating to our family. I’m teary eyed thinking about it now. Thank you for writing this….it does bring some comfort that we didn’t do anything to cause it. In those four days she was so loved and gave so much love…it was a blessing to have her, even for a little bit. I just wish we would have had known before.

    1. Exactly the same as you.thecat stayed with us for four days and was doing great we left it in the bathroom with the box and a thick towel ofcourse inside the box. suddenly in the last two days it started to become very weak can’t even raise its head, And was not able to eat. i was veeeeery sad and felt like i was the reason for its death but reading this and that it’s very common even with expert people. i feel alittle bit better that it was not my fault. After reading about it i think i can do better if i found any abandoned kitten. But i didn what i know best. hope to see the small kitten in heaven ^_^

  9. Thank you for the article. We lost our cat when we came home from camping a couple of weeks ago. She was 12 yoa and diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, even though one of her kidneys felt swollen, but her labs came back normal. I ended up surprising my partner with a kitten, only to have her also suddenly fall really sick a week later. That was two cats in one month and I cannot bear the heartbreak. I feel like I had made things worse and being a doctor myself, I should have done more. We have been haunted with the west coast fires and I’m still digging to find if that was the impeding factor with both of them to die suddenly. I find it amazing how other people’s comments want to claim it’s this way or another. It’s not black or white, when science is an ever evolving spectrum. It’s detective work and it always will be. There is no one true way at diagnosing or treating, if anything it’s an art. I appreciate the words of encouragement.

  10. God bless you dont feed cows milk

    I save 3 kittens from the flood from dying, i tried to search for their mother every day but couldnt find it.Unaware I feed cows milk to the 3 kittens ,one kitten went weak.I took to doctor to find the reason .Doctor told to give Glucose .Given glucose it died next day.I was ok lets atleast 2 kitten are alive.I continued to give cow milk.After 3 days , Another kitten went weak.This time i took to another hospital, they said DONT GIVE COWS milk to kitten.They have Lactose that kills kittens.When i come to know the reason that im the killer sinner.All the kittens died.Time ticks life away.Whats thre in fate ,nobody can save

    1. You didn’t know. Kittens (and cats) cannot digest cow’s milk. The glucose (sugar) that you gave certainly did not kill the kitten. In an emergency you can use a goat milk formula as a substitute (you can find online at kitten rescue sites). But to survive, they need to be fed with a commercial kitten milk replacer very frequently (according to their age) and kept warm.

      Don’t beat yourself up.

    2. All kitten milk replacers are based on cows milk. In addiction to that, lactose is also an ingredient in feline milk, not just cows. While I don’t recommend feeding straight cow’s milk, it’s not going to kill them short term. You did nothing wrong!

  11. That is so strange. I care for a feral colony and I’ve been taking care of this large family for about 18 to 20 years. The majority of them have what you are referring to as a very thin triangle shaped face. They are also long thin cats. This is triangle face is bad? Some of them have survived for 15+ years living outside.

    1. I volunteered at a kitten nursery and they told me to watch out for the triangle faced kittens. I think that this is only referring to the nursing kittens or very young kittens….the triangular face to me, means serious weight loss and/or dehydration…it simply means that their face is not round, because of weight loss, which is obviously not good.

      And I know from experience that kittens can drop weight in hours, which is why we recorded their weight several times a day, before and after feeding…you have to micro-manage their weight, food / formula intake and urine/ poop outgo, etc. very carefully. If they get into a health issue, unlike adult cats, they can get into a life threatening situation in a matter of a few hours.

    2. I have a feeling on your adult triangle faced cats, who are a year or two old, they are probably the orientals, siamese, etc. where the bony, triangle face is part of their look.

  12. Ok, I thought I was the only one that caught that. It’s almost like your talking about people instead of cats. Don’t try to sneak undercover personal stereotypes in & pretend it’s still about a kitten. Wat the catnip is going on here.

    1. It’s especially strange considering that feral tomcats are notorious for killing kittens, including their own (as are the males of many other kinds of animals–stallions, for example, are known to kill colts).

      1. I’ve heard they will, but I’ve had abandoned/feral cats for 25 years and never had a male cat be aggressive or kill any kittens. The males have been loving, attentive, often snuggling the kittens. They are often former pets that have been released in my neighborhood. Maybe that explains it.

  13. I found three kittens in my yard this past summer, they were feral. My son and I took them in and fed them round the clock, they were about 3 weeks old at the time. Within a week we lost all three to Fading Kitten Syndrome. It broke our hearts to lose them. Thank you for the information, I honestly thought I did something wrong. I would definitely be a foster again. Loved those babies.

  14. “Being orphaned or abandoned at an early age, with no prospect of a father in the picture under any circumstances, hardly gives an individual a leg up in life. ”

    kittens need toms? da fuc?

  15. Okay, why is a vet out here perpetuating this fading kitten syndrome nonsense? FKS is not a thing. There is ALWAYS an explanation, an underlying cause, for a kitten suddenly crashing. Stop trying to just explain it away with FKS.

    1. Oh please really this is advice from experts what makes yout the expertt on kitten fading syndrome please let me know were you get your knowledge.Maybe ever the veterinarians would like to know.What would your prognosis be.Were did you get your phd in kitten disease etc.

  16. I have a litter of baby kittens, they are three weeks old. All seem to be doing very well. I found them under my deck on July 4th. I’ve been taking care of them. The runt has been my concern, so much smaller then the others not as vocal and delayed in all aspects including eye openings. The runt I’ve named Teny is eating well, and growing but not at the rate of his litter mates. I’m a single mother and I’ve had local pet stores help me but I’ve checked around with vets to get him checked out and no one seems to want to help me. I cannot afford the vet visit and I’m trying to do the right thing. I’ve been in contact with lots of fosters and they’ve helped me and instruct me and say I’m doing everything right but I’d like to get the lil guy checked just to make sure he’s doing ok. Why is it no vet can wave their 70 fee to take a quick look and just let me know if the lil guy is doing ok and let me know what else I could be doing to help him. I don’t want to turn them over, there’s way to many cats in foster care and they are safe and warm and happy here with a great future home… any ideas of what I can do ???

    1. Check with local animal rescues to see if they would be willing to take a look at the kitten. They are experts and will probably be thrilled that all you are asking is for them to take a look at a kitten that you plan to keep because they are usually so overloaded, especially at peak kitten season which is happening now. Experienced foster parents are expert at the growth process too. There’s usually a runt in every litter who eventually catches up with the rest. Bless you for caring for them.

    2. Every animal hospital will give you a reduced or waived fee depending on your income. I have 3 incurable life threatening diseases, and am low income. My rescue cat gets free bloodwork, vaccinations, and 2 wellness visits per year. All you need is your most recent paycheck and they can typically get you approved right at the animal hospital.
      Dawn

    3. There should be rescue sites I’m not sure where you live that can help you and sometimes just to go fund me page can help to there’s a lot of caring individuals out there that are willing to help I do foster care of kittens it’s a glorious play exhausting rewarding at times heartbreaking and at times breathtaking that has been my calling for a while now I know here in Nebraska we have many organizations that can help check your state right now being kitten season a lot of them are maxed out of being able to care for them themselves but lots we’ll help foster parents thank you for helping these babies

  17. Can this occur in an older kitten, 5-6 months old? We had a feral kitten that did not grow. Born in the fall. She lived in our garage all winter with heat. She seemed to eat normally. Very shy and could not get her comfortable with us until recently. I held her yesterday for the first time. She weighed next to nothing. Fur camouflages a lot. This morning, I found her dead in her bed. So sad and have regrets.

    1. It sounds like you did all you could for her. Perhaps she allowed you to hold her to say thank you?
      Be glad for what you did do xxx

    2. I took in a kitten who was about 6 weeks old. She never did grow much, I came home from work and found her where I left her in my bed dead. She was only 7 or 8 months old.

    3. I’m sorry to hear this. It’s impossible to know…she may have had intestinal parasites (roundworms and/or hookworms).A kitten should be dewormed at a month of age (shelters in my area use pyrantel). Flea-caused anemia can kill a kitten…they don’t have that much blood to begin with. Beware of over the counter flea remedies – they all are insecticides and toxic to the central nervous system. “Flea and tick” baths are notorious for poisoning kittens and puppies. For cats: use 1 ml of Advantage per 10 pounds of weight. For newborn kittens I try to avoid any flea medicines. Bathing them with dish soap which kills most fleas.

      Check “The Kitten Lady” videos online.She has a lot of good information there.

  18. Very helpful information. Appreciate it very much. Thank you so much for posting such useful information. It is really heartbraking to loose them let alone all that you’ve done to survive them. And it’s a consoling note put there, to not blame yourself :)

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  20. Thank you so much for the info on how to treat a kitten with FKS. We followed your directions to the letter and saved a kitten that was left for dead. The kitten was taking a breath about every 5 seconds or so. It was early Sunday morning and no vets were open. We put the kitten on a heating pad because we were worried about hypothermia and started googling symptoms and found this site. We had agave nectar so we thinned it out slightly and applied it as you said. It worked flawlessly. Took a full hour though. We knew we were on the right track because his breathing improved after about 15 minutes. The only thing we did differently was after 30 minutes we dropped 3 drops of water with a syringe into the kittens mouth until he swallowed it and we kept doing that because we thought if he could get some of the sugar into his stomach it would get into his system faster. We did that in between sugar applications and he drank probably 20cc of water. Once he was revived fully he jumped from a 42 inch high counter top onto the floor and ran like nothing had ever happened. Wasn’t expecting that at all! So, long story short he is in excellent health, is all about playing with a ball and living life! We Googled synonyms for he word lucky and found the word chance, so that is his name, Chance.

    Thanks for your sound advise!

    Gregg

    1. Thank you so much for saving and keeping the kitten. You are truly an Angel. Enjoyed reading your story with a happy ending.

  21. I just had a kitten die on me and i was wondering if it was fading kitten syndrome or hypothermia. The kitten is just shy of 8 weeks old . She was feral and i was there the day she was born because i care for her colony. She was eating and fine yesterday but appeared damp from the rain from the day before. Today i went to feed the colony and found that she was separated from the other kittens and her mom was fetching her over. She was still damp because her fur is the soft cottony persian type. Since it was already 6:45PM i decided to warm her up and take her home since it was getting cold and starting to rain. The mom seemed fine with me taking her baby. I was able to keep her warm and she perked up a little and had some formula (only about 2 tbsp) before she started sleeping. At some point she was kicking in her dream? or maybe i misinterpreted the kicking might have been death throes?! But i left her in a bed of blankets (she kept crawling out of them) and went to do the dishes. When i checked on her about an hour later she was stiff! I;m not sure how a kitten goes from being fine one day to dead within 30 hours when there was no obvious trauma and it was already 8 weeks old.

    1. Hi Winnie,
      So sorry for your loss and thank you for caring. We suggest contacting your vet or local rescue with questions like this. The articles in our Kittens section might help you care for kitten as well: https://www.catster.com/topic/kittens/

  22. Beth Hill has her information correct with regards to FIV positive cats. Queen Frostine and Patty LaRue need to dig much deeper into facts, stats, and the truth about FIV and FIV positive cats. FIV is NOT the same thing as HIV or AIDS. And when a cat is diagnosed as being FIV positive, it only means that the cat is carrying the anti-bodies for the virus and not the actual virus. There is no test that can detect the actual virus in a cat’s blood or the amount of the virus. Please stop believing and spreading lies.

  23. My feral cat mom had 6 kittens.the next morning 1 was found dead. They are now 4 weeks old but this morning the other 5 were playing a couple of hours later 1 of them seems to be dying. I don’t understand what happened.Can someone enlighten me on why this is happening?

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  25. George Brundage

    Wow. While we only do rescue cats now, back in 70s and 80s we’d, occasionally, let a promising Queen have a litter before we spayed her. We never lost a kitten, save by putting one down way back in ’72 because of a serious birth defect (cleft-pallet) that left the kitten unable to nurse.

    Had we the support resources back then, as we do now, I think we would chosen differently.

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  27. Queen Frostine

    @Beth Hill: Because FIV is the virus that causes AIDS in cats. A cat infected with the FIV virus will eventually go on to develop AIDS if it lives long enough, and that’s something the owner must be prepared for. Lying about or denying this fact will not change it. These cats are still worthy of love & good homes but that doesn’t change the reality.

    AIDS denialism hasn’t worked out well for humans & won’t do cats any favors either.

    1. Wrong, as years of having cats with and without FIV living together have shown me as well as better-educated vets. It’s harder to get the correct information but please try because people are killing cats just because of this and they don’t deserve to be killed because of misinformation.

  28. Pingback: What Is Fading Kitten Syndrome and Why Do So Many Foster Kittens Die From It? | Speaking of Pets at Rescue Pet Supply

  29. @Beth Hill-How can you say there is no connection between AIDS and FIV? It is exactly the same thing. I agree that people need to be educated regarding these cats so as not to be so wary of adopting them, but to tell people that FIV is not the same as HIV or AIDS is not true.

  30. One reason for kittens dying early is the vaccinations. I was selected by a beautiful seal-pointed 6 week old Ragdoll. She was vaccinated in front of us, before we took her home along with her 10 week old half-sister. She stopped thriving though remaining affectionate. Vet said “too bad, genetic immune problem, can’t help”. Mocha’s sad death plunged me into research, and I found a published Vet who could not convince others of the endocrine-immune- vaccine connection. When our breeder replaced the first with a similar male, I contacted this Vet, who gave instructions in case this problem recurred. It did. This male was vaccinated at 8 weeks, and he began showing signs of a “cold” (same as Mocha) , so the breeder kept him for 5 days. Against my wife’s protests, we brought him home, and I injected him twice daily with hydrocortisone, over 6-8 weeks, tapering gradually at the end. I recall one day coming home to find him appearing dead, but I injected and after 15 minutes he jumped up to play. After a great life of 14 years, sleeping at my feet every night, he suddenly died in my arms of a heart attack one month ago. Without my knowing and treating for this commonly ignored physiology, Hershey would have gone the way of other “faded kittens”, and not enjoyed a full life with us.
    Addendum: Mocha’s half-sister, Coco, remains the “queen of the house”.

    1. I am a breeder of ragdolls and would not subject any kitten ander 1.5 kilo to any invasive injections. I have done a lot if research and if the kittens are still around their mother before leaving (14 weeks) they have immunity that will last a week or two anyway. Innoculationscause stress and 8 weeks is far too young to add that to a little body.

      There is a vaccine for the most common ailments that can be given via nazal spray. Its not available in UK ….. too cheap for big pharma to make extortionate profits!

  31. One reason for kittens dying early is the vaccinations. I was selected by a beautiful seal-pointed 6 week old Ragdoll. She was vaccinated in front of us, before we took her home along with her 10 week old mitted half-sister. She stopped thriving, though remaining affectionate. Vet said “too bad, genetic immune problem, can’t help”. Mocha’s sad death plunged me into research, and I found a published Vet who could not convince others of the endocrine-immune- vaccine connection. When our breeder replaced Mocha with a similarly colored male, I contacted this Vet, who gave instructions in case this problem recurred. It did. This male was vaccinated at 8 weeks, and he began showing signs of a “cold” (same as Mocha) , so the breeder kept him for 5 days. Against my wife’s protests, I brought him home, and I injected him twice daily with hydrocortisone, over 6-8 weeks, tapering gradually at the end. I recall one day coming home to find him appearing dead, but I injected and after 15 minutes he jumped up to play. After a great life of 14 years, sleeping at my feet every night, he suddenly died in my arms of a heart attack one month ago. Without my knowing and treating for this commonly ignored physiology, Hershey would have gone the way of other “faded kittens”, and not enjoyed a full life with us.
    Addendum: Mocha’s half-sister, Coco, remains our “queen of the house”.

  32. The writer of the article seems to be writing from and for a breeder’s perspective. With hundreds of thousands of cats being euthanized for lack of shelter space, and hundreds or thousands of unplanned litters of kittens born in each metro area each year, the LAST thing the world needs is people breeding more kittens on purpose. Every kitten bred by a breeder is a death sentence for on sitting in a shelter. Shame on you, cat and dog breeders. Get a real job. Or no job. I’d rather you sit around eating bonbons and watching TV than breeding dogs and cats while we already have an excess yearly to available have homes. Your activity is the opposite of positive and productive. We need dog and cat breeders like we need meth dealers – we don’t. Your activities hurt animals and cost millions in tax dollars and immeasurable suffering to adoptable animals who end up with no quality of life and an early death due to being on the street or in a shelter instead of in a home. Shame on you.

    1. Why don’t you place your wrath on irresponsible pet owners who get them and choose not to spay and neuter or throw them out into the streets to reproduce. Most breeders are responsible and sterilize or require sterilization of pet kittens and puppies. Why should we ONLY support the reproduction of mix breeds through irresponsible behaviour and punish those who enjoy purebreed animals who are selected for specific traits. It’ still a free country and you thank goodness you don’t get to force your narrow views on everyone else.

      1. I happen to agree with the person you are rebuttling! Call it narrow minded or whatever else, quit selective breeding: don’t shop , ADOPT! It is proven that pure breeds have a myriad of “issues” and I can totally see why..duh! SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS PEOPLE!!!!

    2. I didn’t read into that. It was a generalized commentary, but she pointed something out about breeder (that I abhor) purely about blood types. Something that can’t be controlled in a shelter/feral situation.
      One more thing. Who are you to SHAME anyone???
      So wrong.

  33. Annie in Florida

    I personally think that cat breeders would just STOP doing that! We do not need more cats in this world – there are far too many who die alonoe and unloved, and they are just as wonderful as a “pure bred” cat and possibly a lot healthier as well. I wish we didnt even support people who breed animals. I think it is atrocious and even barbaric to do that! I will go even farther, in saying that breeding animals should be illegal.

    1. If animal breeding were illegal, we would have no more pure breed dogs, like the golden retriever. We NEED to breed animals or else they will either die out or thrive in the wild.

  34. Yes, we see the triangle face also in our foster. That’s when we start syringing in 1 ‘ml of water every hour and Pedialyte too. Most times that doesn’t work either, but every once in awhile you can save one

  35. I have heard the same thing, TJF, regarding the “triangle face”. When I fostered kittens I learned that subcutaneous fluids – water with a drop of Karo syrup would help keep a fading, lethargic kitten from dying. I have lost 3 out of 17 neonatal kittens. This article has excellent information. It is heartbreaking.

  36. Why do so many insist on calling FIV positive cats, AIDS cats? There is absolutely no correlation between these two illnesses. What this does do is put fear in the population about adopting these otherwise healthy cats. It’s very upsetting to see this constantly printed. Thanks for hearing me.

  37. When I was volunteering at a kitten nursery at our local pet rescue, I learned about that Triangle Face symptom, where one of the pre-cursors ( not always, mind you, but sometimes ) is that the kitten, as a result of not gaining weight like his litter mates, gets a thin, triangular look to his face, as opposed to a round face. That is another synptom, to a lay person, to watch out for.

    1. Christine McClellan

      I just lost 10 kittens I believe to this kitten fading. It has been so heartbreaking for myself and my significant other. We had literally been blaming ourselves until I just read about this kitten fading disease. Thank you so much. You have really opened our eyes.

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