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Taking good care of nursing mother cats

Thanks for the TLC
Thanks for the TLC
Karla Kirby

Nursing cats have need of a higher level of care than non-lactating cats because of the additional stress of raising a litter. Nursing females should be fed an amplified level of protein, as well as being vaccinated to avert passing illnesses on to her kittens. Worming is another necessary factor in proper postnatal care and will keep both the mother and her kittens healthy and free of worms.

Calendar the mother and kittens for a scheduled time to be tested for worms. Worms in the female lie inactive in the mammary glands and are passed to the kittens while nursing, so treating both the female and her kittens is essential. The vet will take stool samples and prescribe a kitten-safe wormer such as praziquantel or pyrantel pamoate.

Follow your veterinarian's directions to manage the worm infestation... Kittens should be dosed with a quarter tablet for every 1.5 pounds of body weight at four weeks of age. The nursing mother should be medicated at the same dosage four weeks postpartum. Crush the pills into powder and mix with a spoonful of canned cat food to encourage the cats to partake of them.

Worm the female and kittens once more when the kittens are six weeks old, with a third dosage given at eight weeks of age. Nursing females are particularly prone to worms because the pressure of birth and nursing decreases antibodies in the bloodstream needed to combat infestations. Worms reproduce in the region of every two weeks, so worming more than once is required to kill existing adults and the eggs they lay after mating.

Thoroughly clean out litter boxes twice a day to thwart the spread of worms. It is imperative to remove feces as soon as possible to prevent adult worms and larvae from being passed on to healthy cats. Wash litter boxes out each week in a solution of 50 percent bleach and 50 percent water to kill any residual parasites.

Most nursing cats and kittens are strong and healthy enough to be wormed at home. If your cats are enormously week or suffer from existing medical conditions, then they should only be wormed by your veterinarian.

Never give more than the suggested dose of wormer. Most wormers are made from chemical pesticides that can be unsafe if given in large quantities