Thrive in Kittens
( Fading Kitten Syndrome )
Fading kitten syndrome refers to a failure to thrive in certain
litters. Sometimes no matter your best efforts there are kittens that
just do not thrive. Often these “faders” will just lose strength but
sometimes with luck and observation you can save some of them. Of
particular note is watching for the ‘runt’ in the litter, typically
much smaller than the rest of his or her littermates.
Some queens have a type B blood rather than the
normal Type A. When this happens and the kittens nurse the
immunities in the colostrum attack their red blood cells
and can result in a healthy kitten at birth that stops nursing or
times it could happen to the whole litter. kittens starts dying one by
one ( fading kitten syndrome ) If you think this might be an issue it’s
wise to have your queen blood typed to check as this can save your
kittens. If you can get the kittens through the first couple of days
until the colostrum levels of the queen go down the kittens can
Unfortunately the trade off is that without
colostrum the kitten has no immunity at all
and a higher risk of respiratory or other diseases. Selective breeding
can reduce the mating of these type B carriers. By not breeding type B
females to type A males the offspring aren’t inheriting the B blood
type. Of course breeding those to type B males insures more type B
kittens are born. If this is a factor it’s even more important to keep excellent
The colostrum is very important to kitten survival
so those with a blood type issue are facing an uphill
battle for survival.
Kittens typically nurse several times per day at first as nature
prepares them to gain quickly, open their eyes and get out into the
world. In an ideal world this happens without issue but for some
kittens life isn’t so normal.
Proper temperature and keeping
the litter from getting too cold or too warm can help. Chilled babies
don’t digest food well and can quickly become life threatening. Overweight
queens can have a higher loss rate than those that are fit.
Special attention to toxins should be noted, with
avoiding pine oils and other things generally safe in many other cases.
The thin skin of babies can result in
absorbing more than adults. There
are also the chances of congenital and genetic factors and thymic
dysfunction. Normal birth weight is a factor and often special care
must be taken with the ‘runt’ kittens.
Infections are another
thing that can affect kittens and in young litters as well as
parasites. Viruses can ‘move in’ on kittens during that first week and
sometimes before birth, when it hits kittens the hardest, thus the
fading kitten syndrome.
Overcrowding, temperature extremes and
not enough milk can all affect kittens and result in loss of weight.
Any animal including people are more prone to illness when stressed by
living conditions and other factors.
With the wide range of
possibilities it seems sometimes a process of elimination as to the
real cause of the kitten’s illness and death. Prevention
is much better than the cure. It absolutely pays big
dividends to have clean, sanitary homes for the queens.
Return From Fading
Kitten Syndrome To KittensMatters
All Rights Reserved. The materials in this website are for educational
purpose only, not to replace any veterinarian advice.