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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I don't know if this is the right thread for this so sorry if it's in the wrong place.
My rescue has recently had a 'Persian' cat and her 4, 2 week old kittens relenqished into our care. We have never dealt with cats that are brachycephalic so any information at all on how best to wean the kittens, what health conditions to look out for in mum and kitten as they have not been bred with any health considerations. Mum was bought from a BYB at 5 weeks old, is still under a year old, and dad was also a BYB 'persian' cat (we sadly have been unable to convince the owner to relenqished him as well).
We are working with our vet but I'm aware that vets can not know much about neonatal kitten development and mother and baby care (we have taught them a lot through the few years we have been open) so any infomation on this breed is greatly appreciated.

(This will be mum's last litter and all kittens will be neutered before they leave our care to ensure this family line does not continue, question are purely to ensure we give them the best care and can advice their future adopters)
 

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Hi @AlleyCatRescuer

I bred Persian cats until fairly recently and now have several adult retiree Persians. Personally I'd be getting the mother tested for PKD and perhaps PRA as soon as possible unless you know for certain that she is clear of these. It's easy to do, just a swab from inside her cheek, and I recommend sending it to Langford Veterinary Diagnostic Labs. You'll get the result within a week usually.

You asked specifically about weaning the kittens. Firstly forget about it until they are at least 4 to 5 weeks old. They may start to show an interest on their own or you may need to encourage them, but make sure it is well mashed but not flattened down. A low dish, such as a saucer is best as Persians struggle to get into the edges of taller bowls. Persian kittens are messy eaters and will need washing after meals. Their mum will help but they will stain and end up sticky and stinking because of the food. You will probably end up washing the other end too!

Weigh them frequently as while all kittens can go downhill very quickly, Persian kittens seem particularly prone to this, and I weighed mine daily until they were a month old, then switched to weekly. They will stop eating at the drop of a hat if they feel even slightly off colour.

I realise here that I am making it sound like they are a nightmare to raise, when actually they were an absolute joy to have, but they are quite delicate as babies. Get them used to being brushed now. I used a small soft bristle brush and small comb, and would gently wipe a damp cotton pad across their face to get them used to having their eyes cleaned.

I am happy to answer any other questions you may have as and when they arise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the response.
Just to reassure you the weaning questions are purely to get ahead of any complications that might arise, we very much follow the kitten lead weaning approach. We've had some want to eat biscuits at 4 weeks old and others show no interest in weaning food till 6 weeks and I just want to make sure that we can make everything as easy for these baby's as possible.
We are weighing them twice daily (as we do with every litter we have in our care so we can see an average of their weight across the day) so will carefully monitor their charts to make sure they are all making the gains they should and I will make sure their fosters have an abundance of baby wipes ready for the chaos when it begins!
We know very little about mums history other then bought at 5 weeks old and she's under a year so we will get her tested ASAP to make sure she doesn't have PKD or PRA!
If she has either of these would testing the kittens become a priority too?
They already have such little personality and mama is a sweetheart so their future families will be very lucky to have them but kitten raise is always a very stressful (but rewarding) time I find 馃槀 thankfully none of them so far are showing any issues!
 

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We know very little about mums history other then bought at 5 weeks old and she's under a year so we will get her tested ASAP to make sure she doesn't have PKD or PRA!
If she has either of these would testing the kittens become a priority too?
PRA is resessive so the kittens would need to inherit the gene from both parents to be affected.
PKD however is dominant so the kittens only need to have inherited the gene from one parent to be affected.

For PRA you could just test mum, and if she tests clear you don't really need to test the kittens for that disease. If however she tests as a carrier or affected (the latter being unlikely as presumably her eyesight ok and most affected cats are blind by 17 weeks of age) then then you may wish to test each kitten to see if they are clear, carriers or affected as this would have an impact on future care.

For PKD it's worth testing them all. The disease is there from birth, but the rate at which it progresses differs from cat to cat, but most are in end stage kidney failure by 7 years of age.

I would say just test both mum and dad as that would be cheaper, but obviously the situation isn't conducive to that.
 
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