Fading Kitten Syndrome in Cats

by catfood

Fading Kitten Syndrome (FMS) is a term used to describe neonatal death (demise within the period of birth until weaning.) The first week of a kitten’s life is when mortality is highest, with 70–90% of deaths occurring during this period. The expected stillbirth rate is 8.5 percent, and 16% of newborns pass away before weaning.

The caretaker’s immediate awareness of FKS signs may boost the kitten’s chance of survival. For instance, FKS is more likely to occur in kittens who have congenital abnormalities, low birth weights, and inadequate caregivers. Those who rescue and foster pregnant cats and/or foster kittens should take the time to learn how to spot the symptoms of FKS because the offspring of stray and feral cats are particularly susceptible to it. Many cat rescuers recommend spaying rescued pregnant cats due to the incidence of FKS.


What Is Fading Kitten Syndrome?

In contrast to being a sickness, fading kitten syndrome is a collection of signs that appear in newborn kittens. It causes a rapid decline in health and has a wide range of underlying reasons. Its mouth and gums will be grayish in hue rather than a healthy pink. FKS has thus been compared to the syndrome that causes sudden infant death in human newborns (SIDS).

Symptoms of Cats’ Fading Kitten Syndrome

There are some symptoms that could point to fading kitten syndrome in a kitten. The following are the warning signs to watch for:

  • High birth weight: FKS kittens usually have the lowest birth weights in the litter. They had a lower birth weight and are less active than their littermates.
  • Unable to properly nurse: Healthy kittens almost immediately start breastfeeding. A frail kitten frequently isn’t strong enough to grasp the mother cat’s nipple and suckle from it. Colostrum is a special milk that healthy kittens that are nursing properly receive for the first roughly 72 hours after birth. The colostrum contains these antibodies as well as the required nutrition. Colostrum from the kitten gives it passive immunity, allowing it to grow and endure until it can stop nursing and begin receiving injections. If a kitten can’t nurse and needs to be bottle-fed, it won’t get colostrum and is more likely to get FKS.
  • If mother cats see it, they may decide to abandon a weak kitten in favor of one of her other kittens. This is a typical reaction designed to protect the more powerful kittens.
  • Because they are unable to regulate their body temperatures, newborn kittens rely on their mother for warmth. The name for this condition is hypothermia. As a result, kittens who are abandoned or that stray from their mother quickly get hypothermia. Hypothermic kittens are lethargic. One of the very first signs is the sudden loss of a tiny kitten. If no one intervenes, things might end tragically rapidly.

Causes of Fading Kitten Syndrome

The best course of treatment for FKS will depend on its underlying cause.

  • The mother cat might be unwell or malnourished during pregnancy. If this is the queen’s first litter of the season, it’s probable that she won’t have access to the amount of food required to rear healthy kittens. Depending on the situation, a queen can produce up to five litters of kittens in a single year. This causes physical strain on the female cat, which leads to illness and undernourishment. The chance of stillbirth, congenital abnormalities, and FKS in the progeny are all increased by this combination, which is poor news for late-season kittens. This is why it’s crucial to bring a cat that might be pregnant in for a prenatal exam to the vet. Your veterinarian will discuss your options and how to handle a pregnant cat with you. Consider making a time or financial donation to your neighborhood’s spay and neuter initiatives for feral and stray cats. Keep the litters of stray or feral queens far away from your domestic cats.
  • Virus-related diseases: A litter of kittens can be quickly infected with a variety of bacterial and viral diseases.
  • When the queen and kitten have different blood types, neonatal isoerythrolysis occurs. Red blood cells in the kitten are destroyed by antibodies from the mother cat’s colostrum.
  • Parasites such as fleas: A flea infestation on a newborn kitten can result in severe anemia or spread parasites, both of which have a high likelihood of being fatal because fleas feed on blood and expel saliva when they bite. In general, kittens can be harmed by ticks, intestinal parasites, and other infectious diseases caused by protozoal organisms.

Treatment and Prevention

FKS is a group of symptoms rather than a disease, so it cannot be completely avoided. The best course of action is to focus on the specific indications and hope for the best. You should seek immediate veterinary care if a newborn kitten displays any unusual behaviors, particularly lethargy, a lack of nursing, and/or respiratory issues. The kitten will be given a physical examination and tested for parasites and infections. A treatment strategy to handle any infections, prevent hypothermia, starvation, and dehydration will be provided by the veterinarian. In the unfortunate event that the kitten does not survive, keep in mind that you did everything in your power to help them, and try to concentrate on the mother cat and the other kittens to make sure they are content and healthy.


If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your pet.

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By catfoodsite.com

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