What To Do When Mom Bengal Jilts The Kittens At 4 Weeks
Don't Panic! Here Is An Action Plan:
Less than four weeks ago your queen has delivered six bouncing baby Bengals, all healthy and happy purring little furballs. Everything is normal in mommy- and kitten-land until one day you suddenly notice that the queen is hissing and swatting away her own kittens, preventing them from cuddling with her and worse of all, feeding!
What could possibly be wrong? Could the mom be ill or be getting hurt from the nursing. Not exactly. Many Bengal moms will wean the kittens at a much earlier age than other cats, and you have to be prepared for that. It's Nature's Way and you can't argue with it.
At first you panic. You are looking at the prospect of spending the next couple of weeks with a lapful of kittens while your long-suffering spouse runs back and forth to the stove to rush bottle after bottle of body-temperature kitten milk replacement. Stop. Relax. Take a deep breath. Remember, you don't have a breeding program for cats. Oh no. These are Bengals. Where ordinary kittens would be completely helpless, Bengals will usually find a way to survive.
Happy Baby Bengals With Their Mom!
The first thing you should do is get some good-quality (and hopefully killer-melamine-free) commercial dry kitten food. Moisten it with a little lukewarm water and make it available to the kittens but in a place where mom can't get at it and wolf it all down. Have lots of cool fresh water available and keep trying to put the kitten's faces next to the food to see if they'll find anything of interest. Some of them may surprise you and start scarfing it all up. In that case: Success! Just keep filling up those bowls and your kittens will be just fine.
I generally never feed my Bengals commercial food but this would be an exception. At about 7-8 weeks or so I would switch them to the Official Hal Licino Bengal Food Recipe and nothing else for the rest of their natural lives. Beware, it's a bit stomach-turning for humans, but it's The Nectar Of The Gods for Bengals.
You'll likely have to bribe your local butcher to once a week take apart his meatgrinder. He'll have to give it a thorough cleaning after he puts this pile of raw lamb, goat or veal “awful offal” through it:
- Two parts heart
- Two parts lung
- Four parts liver
- Two parts assorted innards
- One part oats (way overcooked in water, no salt)
- One part pulped raw veggies (beets, carrots, turnip, etc. but no stringies like green beans or celery)
- A good sprinkle of pulverized commercial taurine and kitty vitamins.
Hmm... it seemed like it was a recipe for haggis... up until the taurine...
Make sure that the entire mess is ground on the finest setting and not once but twice. Now you have a supply of bloody pulpy goo that is not only guaranteed to gross out even your neighbour's Jackass-addicted teenager, but will keep your Bengals healthy and happy for a lifetime. They will need absolutely nothing else. Nothing. This is a recipe designed to fit all of the nutritional requirements of Bengals of any age, and not counting the butcher's bribe, it can cost less than 10% of high-quality commercial food price... and guaranteed no Chinese melamine!
This goo will freeze but I don't recommend it as it starts to separate when you thaw it. As long as the meat is properly inspected and scrupulously fresh it should keep in the fridge for a week with no problem and of course be free from parasites (that likely wouldn't be able to survive the double grinding anyway.)
However, this was the easy way. Maybe the kittens won't be able to take the commercial food yet at just over 3 weeks. In this case, call in sick at work for the next few weeks as you're going to be a very busy person.
The usual recommendation at this point would be to bottle feed KMR. However, you can make up your own which I personally prefer and I believe the kitties find tastier.
- 1 litre canned goat's milk
- 1 litre water
- 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 5 tablespoons plain fullfat yogurt
- 2 envelopes unflavoured gelatin, each containing 0.25 oz.
Now where the heck are you going to find canned goat's milk? Try any local ethnic food store especially those catering to Caribbean, African or East Indian customers. Avoid replacing the canned goat's milk with evaporated cow's milk if at all possible.
Prepare the gelatin with water according to package instructions. Let cool to room temperature. Now mix the whole rest of the melange together. Leave it sit in the fridge for a bit to lightly set. Now bring up to body temperature (under 100°F, 38°C) in a double boiler, carefully fill pre-sterilized baby bottles with the smallest nipples available and start nursing!
This recipe makes a whole lot, so you may want to freeze some of it or cut the amounts in half or one-quarter. The kittens should gobble it up! Keep the kitten tummyside down and make sure they're nice and warm before they start feeding.Then comes the burping. Hold one hand under the abdomen and very gently pat the upper back. And then its time for the “elimination stimulation.” get a coarse warm moist cloth and gently rub all over the tummy and rear, just like mom cats do with their rough tongues. Keep at it. It might take a while, but it should work!
Kittens can only survive for less than a day without food. If you find that the kittens aren't eating no matter what you do, rush them to the Vet!!!