Fading kitten syndrome is failure of a kitten to thrive despite your greatest effort. Often these “runts of the litter” will simply lose strength but now and then with good fortune and scrutiny you can save some of them.
Some queens have a type B blood instead of the normal Type A. When this occurs and the kittens nurse the immunities in the colostrum assault their red blood cells and can result in a healthy kitten at birth that suddenly quits nursing or unexpectedly dies.
Every so often it could happen to the entire litter. Kittens start fading one by one. If you think this might be a problem it’s a good idea to have your queen blood typed to check because this can save the kittens. If you can see the kittens through the first couple of days until the colostrum levels of the queen go down the kittens can often survive.
Regrettably the transaction is that without colostrum the kitten has no immunity at all and has a higher risk of respiratory or other diseases. Selective breeding can decrease the mating of these type B carriers. By simply not breeding type B females to type A males the progeny aren’t inheriting the B blood type. Certainly breeding those to type B males indemnifies more type B kittens are born. If this is a factor it’s even more important to keep outstanding records.
The colostrum is very significant to kitten survival so those with a blood type issue are facing an ascending battle for survival. Kittens characteristically nurse several times per day at first as nature prepares them to increase quickly, open their eyes and get out into the feline world. More often than not this happens without issue; but for some kittens life isn’t so typical.
Proper temperature and keeping the litter from getting too cold or too warm can help. Chilled babies don’t digest food well and can quickly become life threatening.
Overweight mother cats can have a higher loss rate than those that are fit.
Particular attention to toxins should be noted, with staying away from pine oils and other things normally safe in many other cases because the thin skin of kittens can consequence in absorbing a larger amount than adults. There are also the chances of generic factors and thymic dysfunction. Normal birth weight is an aspect and often special care must be taken with the ‘runt’ kittens.
Infections are an additional thing that can affect kittens and in young litters as well as parasites. Viruses can ‘move in’ on kittens during that first crucial week and sometimes before birth, when it hits kittens the hardest, consequently the fading kitten syndrome.
Temperature extremes overcrowding, and not enough milk can all affect kittens and outcome in loss of weight. Felines are more prone to illness when stressed by living conditions and other factors.
With the wide variety of possibilities, it seems occasionally a process of elimination as to the real cause of the kitten’s illness and death. Prevention, as always, is much better than the cure. Without doubt, it certainly pays huge dividends to have safe, clean, sanitary homes for the queens.