Whilst it’s a myth that a mother cat will automatically reject her newborn kittens if they are touched by humans; there are sadly many more real reasons why this unfortunate occurrence can happen.
For example, if the mother is in distress or lives in an unsafe environment; if she or any of the kittens becomes unwell; or if she feels threatened for any reason; then her natural response may be to conserve her energy into caring for herself and perhaps just one of two of the ‘healthiest’ newborns.
Three-year-old tabby Lois and her tiny daughter Kara (pictured) are sadly an example of such a situation.
· Lois was a heavily pregnant stray who had somehow been separated from her previous owner, and therefore was forced to give birth in a stranger’s garden shed.
· This experience made her incredibly stressed and worried, and sadly led to her feeling unable to cope with her four newborns. She refused to feed them, and tragically, three of the four kittens passed away.
· Against all odds, one kitten – Kara – managed to survive, and was luckily discovered by the shed owner in the nick of time.
Upon finding Lois, Kara and the three deceased kittens in his shed, the homeowner called Mayhew for help and advice.
Mayhew’s Animal Welfare Officers went straight out to collect the surviving felines, and to offer support to the homeowner whilst they sorted out his upsetting discovery.
They then brought Lois and Kara back to Mayhew, where both were checked over by their team of vets. Kara was estimated to be no more than five-weeks-old.
Lois was obviously severely agitated, and Mayhew vets discovered she was suffering from what seemed like a flea allergy rash across her neck and back. She was also clearly in a significant amount of pain from a flea collar that had its end sewn together, making it far too tight for her and impossible to remove. This had also caused bleeding and scabbing on her throat.
Mayhew vets successfully removed the collar and gave Lois flea and worm treatment, before settling her into a soft, quiet cabin in their Kitten Block to recover. Mayhew Animal Welfare Officers hoped that it was not too late for her to bond with Kara, now that both were in a safe and secure place, and so the tiny kitten was placed at her side under careful observation.
Surprisingly, Kara herself was in remarkable condition given her tough start in life, and soon showed herself to be a friendly and lively little kitten.
Mayhew’s Cattery staff supported her feeding and development whilst at the same time encouraging Lois to take an interest; and, to everyone’s joy and delight, after a couple of days spent resting, Lois’s maternal instincts finally seemed to kick in.
Lois began feeding Kara, and slowly started to lick her head and nuzzle her close. Mayhew vets then gave Lois some anti-anxiety medication to help her remain calm around Kara, who was becoming more bouncy and boisterous by the day.
The medication seemed to help, and both mother and daughter eventually bonded – with Lois finally appearing to be happy and at peace.
Whilst neither Lois nor Kara are quite ready for rehoming yet, staff at Mayhew are all delighted by their progress so far, and keeping everything crossed that both cats will get the happy ending they so desperately desire and deserve, as soon as the time is right.
To keep up to date with their story and find out when Lois and Kara are available for adoption, sign up to Mayhew’s cat alerts here.
You can also see a video of their story below: