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Old 02-14-2013, 02:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

Cleaning the cage and I lifted Pepper's little igloo up to get her out and change the liner and there were BABIES!!!! I dont know how long ago she popped them out, but I just started freaking out.


What do I need to do?
I have read that best thing is to leave her alone, but I already messed that up a little because I had no idea she was pregnant. I put the igloo back over her and the hoglets, and turned the light off (it was time anyway)


PLEASE HELP
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

Leave her completely alone and let her do her thing. Change out her food and water every day, and refill her food bowl if you see it's empty. (Unless she's underweight at this point I wouldn't introduce a new food for the sake of high fat, you don't want to throw her off with an upset stomach when she's trying to figure out how to take care of newborns; you can add some higher fat food (18-20%), basically any good quality kitten food, to her diet gradually a little later on, it tends to be needed more as the babies get bigger.) Otherwise don't bother her at all for the next two weeks. That includes cleaning - if she's on liners, you just have to deal with the stink until the babies are weaned. If she's on substrate (shavings/Carefresh, etc) you'll be able to remove a handful a day later on, after the two week mark. If she's only on liners with an igloo, the only thing I would recommend doing is get some fleece and cut it into strips or smallish squares. When you change out her food and water, you can leave those nearby - don't put them anywhere near the igloo. If she wants them, she'll take them into the nest with her, which can help her feel more secure. You may notice that she doesn't eat for a day or two, which is normal. Just leave the food and water where it is - you don't want to change anything in the cage from what she's used to. Sometimes people in this situation feel compelled to move the food and water closer, which can just make the mama anxious, but also you don't want the water bowl anywhere near the entrance to the igloo. They sometimes squirm out, and can drown if there's a bowl of water right nearby.

If you do see a wayward baby, give it a little while to see if mama brings it back in. If not, you can nudge it back into the entrance of the igloo. If it's squirmy and active, or cheeping, then it's fine - if it isn't moving much, make sure it doesn't feel cold (should be a "neutral" temperature in your hands or a little warmer). Warm it up in your hands if necessary (but don't breathe on it) and then nudge it back into the doorway. I use a plastic chopstick (blunt on the end) - any sort of discreet utensil like that is less likely to be viewed as a threat coming that close to the nest. Usually this isn't necessary - the mama will come get the baby, if not immediately, and carry it back into the nest.

Try not to freak out, and just let her do her thing. Just because you didn't know this was coming doesn't mean she didn't - as long as she's not too young, she should do just fine. First time mamas sometimes take a little while to figure out what to do, but they usually catch on pretty quickly just by instinct. Your job is to keep her well fed but otherwise don't bother her or the nest at all, until they're 2 weeks old and past the point where any stress could trigger her to cannibalize them.

Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

Thanks Moxie.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

Thank you for the response!
I took the wheel out, and I will cut up some fleece for her. The water bowl is pretty close to the igloo, but it is also about 3" tall and vertical. should I move it and risk stressing mom out?
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

I wouldn't move the water bowl, with all the litters I had in the past I always had low sided water bowls and never had a baby get in them.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

I know two breeders who lost babies to water bowls, unfortunately. But I would leave it, 3" tall won't be an issue.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

Awesome, I will leave it there then. I just got off work and got home. The babies are still chirping and mom is still hissing a lot. Im going to assume thats all good.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

When should I start introducing the kitten food? I threw a little in the mix today just to see if she would eat it, so we will see.

And any help on weaning, and bonding with babies?
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

Now is fine. Bring her up to around half and half with the kitten food over the next few days. You can handle them a little at a time when they're 2 weeks old. The weaning will happen on its own. Start grinding up her food when they're 3.5-4 weeks old, they'll start to nibble it around then, and gradually they'll eat more kibble and nurse less. Full weaning will happen at 5-5.5 weeks old, sometimes a little later.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOLY CRAP! Babies!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by moxieberry
Now is fine. Bring her up to around half and half with the kitten food over the next few days. You can handle them a little at a time when they're 2 weeks old. The weaning will happen on its own. Start grinding up her food when they're 3.5-4 weeks old, they'll start to nibble it around then, and gradually they'll eat more kibble and nurse less. Full weaning will happen at 5-5.5 weeks old, sometimes a little later.
Perfect! Pepper has been eating the kitten food well. The bowl was empty again this morning even with the new mix!
Not knowing how the babies are doing is killing me! I can hear them chirping, if thats the right term, every once in a while, but I cant tell how many or if everything is okay.

What age do I need to separate the babies?
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