Kittens sick from mother's milk?

Discussion in 'Cat Breeding' started by Cerridwen, Oct 18, 2013.


  1. Cerridwen

    Cerridwen PetForums Member

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    Maybe I've asked this before but I have to ask. Through the years I've heard breeders claim that kittens get sick from the milk their mother produce when she's in heat. This leads to breeders putting their queens on BC when the kittens are 2-4 weeks old just to prevent the queens from going into heat and getting sick kittens (kittens that vomit or have diarrhea).

    I've never experienced this. My queens usually go into heat when the kittens are 4 weeks old and not once have I had a kitten get sick during that period. In fact I've never had a kitten with diarrhea or that vomits. My breeder friends seem to have the same experience as me.

    So, what's your experience? Does the milk "go bad" when the queen go into heat?
     
  2. Cosmills

    Cosmills PetForums VIP

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    Funny you should say that .... My girl came into heat around 8 weeks at 9 weeks some of the kittens had runny bums ... Still nursing off mum and no food change .. They were not ill ill . Just runny bums which cleared up with ABs and kolin within days ... My girl did have a bad case of the runs while pregnant and does have it every now and then for no reason ... So I wonder if this could have been the cause with the kits ummmmmmmmm.
     
  3. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums Senior

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    I would say that yes, sometimes the milk seems to 'go off' and kittens end up vomiting and/or with runny tums. However I can't say I've noticed it has anything to do with the queen calling. It doesn't happen with every litter, all a bit mysterious!
     
  4. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    For years I was convinced this was rubbish and said so. Then I got a queen who's milk 'soured' when she called and boy did I see what people meant. Could be it's in the lines as this is a girl I got in from another breeder and I'd never experienced it before. The kittens don't have runny bums but they do vomit curdled milk. Luckily she tends not to call until kittens are fully weaned and is pretty short tempered with them during this time and not keen for them to suckle anyway so I remove her for a few days at the height of the call. When she comes off call everything goes back to normal.
     
    #4 havoc, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  5. Cosmills

    Cosmills PetForums VIP

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    Did the queens milk have a smell and go all thick havoc ?
     
  6. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

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    Not had any issues here, I use acupressure to take my girls off call - that's just so they don't call too many times and remain attentive to their bubs, not to prevent 'sour' milk.
     
  7. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    No, not that I can say I noticed. If I'd noticed any smell I think I'd have been off to the vet for ABs. She doesn't call until kittens are 7-8 weeks old and really doesn't want them to suckle during this time though there is no indication of any discomfort on her part. It's nothing like mastitis or any infection. This has been consistent over three litters.
     
  8. Cosmills

    Cosmills PetForums VIP

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    I was just wondering if there was any signs other than sick kits .... I will remember this tho for when Rosie has her next litter and if the kits do get runny bums it could be because of her milk
     
    #8 Cosmills, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  9. Cerridwen

    Cerridwen PetForums Member

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    What kind of confuses me is first the very different experiences breeders have. Some seem to see this "all the time" while others (like me) never encounter it. Another thing is that I cannot find anything about this in any scientific literature. Not even in the literature about laboratory animals. If this is a quite common problem it should have been noticed and documented by those who breed and keep laboratory cats (which we have done since at least the thirties) since health problems in laboratory cats is a big problem.

    When I scan the literature for diarrhea/vomiting in kittens I find lots of things to read about bacterias, viruses, parasites and poor diet but nothing absolutely nothing about "bad milk" or even queens in heat.
     
  10. Cosmills

    Cosmills PetForums VIP

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    Maybe the two never get linked ... And put down to virus, bacteria etc ... Cos if there is no signs in the queen am guessing you wouldn't know until your queen gets poorly kits every time she has a litter
     
  11. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    I went tens of years before I got a queen who did it. This queen has been absolutely consistent over three litters while my girls from other lines don't have the same issue. I therefore wouldn't say it was quite common overall. Any given breeder may have lines in which it happens so it's 'common' for them but unknown to another breeder. It's also one of those things which are discussed more because of the internet. It's a transient, minor issue with kittens rather than a real health problem so although you'd mention it as it happens it may not come up in conversation weeks later at a show when you get together with other breeders.
     
  12. jaycee05

    jaycee05 PetForums VIP

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    I have never heard of this, but I know if kittens go back to mum after having been off nursing off her for a while they can vomit curdled milk
    This happened to mine at 8 weeks old, and my vet told me to separate them from mum, as once they have finished feeding off mum the milk goes sour, never connected it with a cat in heat though
     
  13. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    I'm not so sure about kittens going back after a break being the issue. My kittens all suckle until they leave at 13 weeks and with this girl they vomit curdled milk before the break not after.

    Do you separate your kittens from the mum for good at 8 weeks? As it happens that can be about the age a queen is in call and completely confused hormonally. She has kittens but raging hormones are telling her to breed. I had wondered if the timing of a queen calling and the age of the kittens might be why this happens with some cats.
     
  14. jaycee05

    jaycee05 PetForums VIP

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    It has only ever happened with this particular queen, and they had been eating proper food from about 4 weeks old, then suddenly decided to try her again, I didn't actually separate them, just watched and if they went back to feed, removed them or distracted them, and they seemed to stop it on their own
     
  15. kieve101350

    kieve101350 PetForums Newbie

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    I have been breeding the Classic Siamese since 2010. The first time I encountered milk sickness I thought my kittens were all dying. Instead, a few days after the diarrhea and vomiting started, it stopped and the kittens fully recovered. This sickness occurred again and again with each new litter and my vet was totally confounded. One day I found a British breeder forum that discussed milk sickness and I finally knew what had been happening to my kittens. Now, at the first sign of vomited curdled milk, I remove the mother and wean the kittens. I have never heard my queens call nor show signs that they are in heat but the onset of the milk sickness is always when the kittens reach 7 weeks of age. Further, it occurs with all of my queens... and started with my, now retired, queen mother. My active queens are her daughters and granddaughters.
     
  16. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave PetForums VIP

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    Vomited milk is always curdled as the stomach contains acid
     
  17. sharonbee

    sharonbee PetForums VIP

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    This is a very interesting thread, I will remember this for the future, we have just one queen where this has happened when she was calling, didn't know what was wrong but we separated her and the kittens were better almost as quick as they were sick. The kittens were around 8 or 9 weeks old at the time x
     
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