The first two weeks of a newborn kitten’s life is the most critical when diseases acquired in the uterus and birth injuries take their toll. A lot of deaths is due to lack of advance preparation, for example; failure to provide adequate heat in the kitten box, failure to vaccinate the queen and feed her a premium quality food that provide taurine (at least 0.02 percent taurine on a dry matter basis), enough calories, essential nutrients and calcium.

A cat’s diet must contain more than 20 amino acids, of which 11 is essential. Taurine deficiency will cause retinal changes which will develop into blindness, serious heart conditions and reproductive problems, including infertility, death of unborn kittens and birth of fading kittens.

With chilling (a kitten cannot maintain its own body temperature), failure to nurse and dehydration the kitten goes into shock due to circulatory failure. As the body temperature drops the organs cease to function properly and the poor circulation affects the brain, causing continuous muscle spasms and breathless periods lasting up to a minute.

If the queen is infected with feline leukaemia, toxoplasmosis, feline panleukopenia or infectious peritonitis she may transmit the infection to her unborn kittens. These kittens are under size and weak and die within the first few days. Other defects that can cause the kittens to fade can be a cleft palate, congenital defects or large navel hernias which will allow pro-lapse of abdominal organs.




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