Fading Kitten Syndrome can be heart breaking because sometimes there is nothing anyone can do to save a kitten with the condition. FKS, as it is known is not a disease but rather a variety of symptoms with the first being the death of a kitten for no apparent reason.
Owners or breeders who are extremely aware of the symptoms might be able to do all that's necessary to save kittens with the condition, but this does rather depend on the causes of it. Many people who make it their mission to rescue and foster nursing or pregnant cats and who regularly foster kittens, get to know the symptoms. Feral cats are especially prone to FKS which is why rescue centres tend to spay all cats in their care and this includes pregnant females.
This is deemed the safest route with some vets referring to the procedure as “Feline abortion – an unnerving necessity”. It's the first six to eight weeks that kittens are at most serious risk of being the victims of Fading Kitten Syndrome, although some vets believe people should use twelve weeks as a guideline to when kittens are most at risk.
When it comes to what causes this condition, it gets a little complicated because you have to look at the cause or causes of why it first happens, and then offer the right sort of treatment in an attempt to save any kittens with the condition. However, below are a few of the most common causes of FKS:
Some kittens may appear perfectly normal and healthy when they are first born which can be very confusing when they suddenly die for no apparent reason. However, the kittens were born with what is known as an “occult disease” at birth which brings on Fading Kitten Syndrome and unless you spot there is something wrong and act quickly, kittens usually die pretty quickly.
Good husbandry and nursing care is essential if you think a kitten or kittens may have Fading Kitten Syndrome. It takes a lot to notice there is something wrong with the youngster, but then constant care is needed if the kitten is to survive. However, the prognosis should always be guarded. A healthy kitten should weigh in at around 100g when they are first born and then put on around 10-15g a day thereafter – if you are worried, you will have to carefully monitor the kitten's weight on a daily basis and then decide how to proceed with the help of your vet.
If you notice one or more of the kittens doesn't seem keen to fight for their food, then you will need to feed them the correct colostrum within the first 72 hours and then continue feeding them a replacement kitten milk in order for them to gain strength and survive. Kittens that are too quiet should cause concern too, because this could be an indication there is a problem.
You will also need to make sure the kitten or kittens are kept warm so that hypothermia does not set in. If the mother cat is suffering from mastitis, then you would need to get her to the vet as soon as possible. You would also need to ask the vet for a food supplement to feed the kittens. However, vets always remain guarded as to whether kittens will survive after becoming “Faders”, but this never means every effort should not be made to save them.
If you are thinking about rescuing a nursing mum and are not sure about her past or how she has been treated or vaccinated, then you should always keep her away from any of your existing cats. When the kittens are born, you would need to keep a close eye on them from the word go. The first 72 hours are crucial for kittens because this is when they take mum's first milk known as colostrum. If a kitten does not get this first milk, you would have to supplement it as previously mentioned so you give the kitten a chance of survival.