Ronald Robertson

Aaronn Avit Ajeng, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Emailaaronnavit@um.edu.my
  • Phone+60 (14) 970 5384
  • ExpertiseBiology and Biochemistry
  • AffiliationUniversiti Malaya (UM)

My First New-born Kittens Nursery Experience

What will you do if one day you found some new-born kittens at the back of your house, without their mother? Will you take them home and nurse them, or leave them?

The first thing that you might need to observe is whether their mother is around or away from them, as she might have gone somewhere temporarily. Cats are very protective of their youngs and they will always be around them. The only way you can tell that their mother has left her kittens is by looking at the condition of the kittens. They normally will be cold and look dirty as no one cleans them. New-born kittens rely on their mother’s body heat to keep themselves warm, so you can tell if the queen has left her kittens. There are some reasons why a mother completely ignores/leaves her youngs and one of them is the kittens are sick.

My family and I were blessed with Tookey (Mother) and her cute kitten Korigoo. They were the reasons why I was eager to come home this semester break. To cut the story short, Korigoo was hit by a car and she died a day after I took her to the vet and her mother, Tookey was a month pregnant. Few days before Korigoo was hit, Tookey had an early labor to a pre-mature kitten which also died 2 days after birth. This shook me as I was worried about the other kittens that had not been delivered yet. When I was checking up on Tookey, I noticed that she was wounded at her back and I finally knew that she had an early labor due to the physical stress.

2 days later, Tookey safely delivered another 2 kittens right after her Korigoo died. They were really small compared to the average size of a new-born kitten. I was in grief because Korigoo died, but I felt a little bit happier after seeing the new-born kittens. But, it was not exactly what I thought. A day after Tookey delivered her kittens, she started to behave differently. She did not have much appetite and she seemed to be passive and quiet. The worst thing was she did not want to milk her kittens or go close to them. She finally went missing and did not return home until now.

I couldn’t possibly wait until Tookey returns home and milks her kitten, they will be dead by then. So, I started to hand-feed them. Thank God, I still have some savings which I can use to buy the nursery items such as the cat formula milk, syringes, tissues etc. Milking them is not the hardest part, but making sure the taste of milk is up to their liking is. I am concerned of the taste as I cannot tell whether they like it or the opposite. They are so small that I am worried about their immunity system. The cat’s natural breastmilk has colostrum which provides a strong immune system to the kittens but the milk I am giving to them now is factory made which may not have the same content as in the natural milk. 3 days after feeding them with the milk, one of the kittens slowly being unresponsive followed by the other kitten. Both died after resisted the milk.

The pre-mature kittens. A day before the trip.
It is indeed a sad ending for me but I have given my very best. I even brought one of the kittens on a road trip to Bekenu, Miri to celebrate my birthday. Ah, their mom returned home on the day we left for the trip. She was cold and could not move a muscle so I had to take her in. I fed her with some milk and water, and put her in a warm cage. She was bearing her pain and I knew she would die eventually. I had to leave the other dying kitten at home with her mother. My dad was at home, so he could at least nurse them. Dad called us in the evening to tell us that Tookey had died along with her kitten. Sadly, the other kitten that I brought during the trip died at night.

I lost all my kittens in just a few days. There is nothing saddens me more than seeing my cats battled their way to survive but I never regretted coming home this break, I had so much fun playing with them. I never thought this would be my first hello and goodbye at the same time. I know, they are now in a better place.