Saturday, June 25, 2016

Kitten Abandonment

I'm not sure at what point exactly the mother cat decides to abandon her kittens but there are three stages to the disease when she might.

Their survival of the abandonment seems to depend on age (mobility), adaptability (eat insects, mud, crap) & lungs (calling repeatedly for aid might bring human intervention).

The most unusual motherly behaviours prior to full abandonment that I've seen was 1. Magalu feeding her unweaned kitten even though she separated it from it's healthy siblings 5 yrs ago. She'd come every evening and feed Stripes until she couldn't access her any longer in the abandoned building.
And 2. last month, terrace black&gold bringing all her three children to the attic, calling humans to help, before leaving them to human care, never to return. I've never seen that degree of compassion before. One died within 3 days of flaccid paralysis, but the other two are still alive. Mom did good!

1. the first point when abandonment probably happens is when the kitten develops viscid saliva. It can't create the vacuum to suckle so it bites, which is painful to the mother.
2. Though they don't abandon kittens that have their eyes glued shut, they do abandon those that can't eat at least a little solid food as the mothers run out of milk.
3. The ones with neuromotor problems they always abandon or at least, they don't feed them. I think it scares them to see it. I've seen mothers nudging those kittens, licking them, encouraging them, but that can't be cured by cat means. They'll often drop them inside a car with open windows hoping a human will take over.
4. Flaccid abdominal and ascites cases they seem to take care of till the paralysis kills the kitten, offering tempting bits of meat to the kitten till the end of lucidity.

They do not abandon them lightly. It is done to protect the other kittens in the litter. It's always a difficult and complex decision, and the grief needs Bach flowers like sweet chestnut to reduce the acute sense of loss. I've never been able to wholely relieve it and I've not checked for so many of these poor moms which I regret.

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