Fading Kitten Syndrome

What Is Fading Kitten Syndrome?

In the fading kitten syndrome is the condition where the neonates commonly die within the first week of life. However, no definite definition can describe fading kitten syndrome.

Cat breeders often countenance kitten death at the neonatal period. Certain factors are mainly responsible for perinatal death during the first two weeks.

The included factors are usually associated with congenital abnormalities, neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI) emaciation, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, ambient factors, neonatal infections, low weight at birth, factors related to the mother and problems during labor.

In Fading kitten syndrome, both infectious and non-infectious can be a reason behind the neonatal death and this leads to birth to weaning age.

But mortality within the first week of life or other clinical disorders like low birth weight, malnutrition, congenital disorders, trauma, and neonatal isoerythroylsis are the resultant of noninfectious incidence associated with Fading kitten syndrome. However, the prevalence of infectious reasons develops at 3-4 weeks of age1,2.

Fading Kitten Syndrome

Signs & Symptoms

Usually, after the birth kitten is energetic, but after ingestion of colostrum, clinical signs appear, though the onset of varies from few hours to days. Even some can die within few hours after birth without giving any clinical symptoms.

Others become pale due to discontinue suckling in the first days of life. Discontinuation of suckling may associate with hypoglycemia and metabolic acidosis. Feline neonatal isoerythrolysis occurs when type B blood group mothers mate with type A blood group tomcats.

The primary clinical signs to diagnose Feline Neonatal Isoerythrolysis are as follows:

  • Dark red-brown urine, which is an indication of severe intravascular hemolysis
  • Haemoglobinuria, however, this can appear in jaundice also
  • Anemia
  • The severe weakness with fatality happening in the initial week of life.
  • The following are the symptoms commonly associated
  • Anorexia,
  • Lethargy
  • Emaciation
  • The included sign of fading kitten syndrome are as follows:
  • Anemia
  • Nephropathy
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation

The included secondary clinical signs which arise mainly due to decreased oxygenation are as follows:

  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Lethargy
  • Tachycardia
  • Tachypnea
  • Collapse
  • Death

Tail tip necrosis is a very common symptom of those may survive. The possible different reasons for the onset of tail tip necrosis are cold IgM action, clot formation, haemagglutination, and ischemic necrosis1.

Fading Kitten Syndrome Picture


Type A and Type B are two types of blood are mainly present in cats and in rare cases AB type of blood also present. Fading Kitten Syndrome. When A type of blood group cat intercourse with B type of blood group cat then Feline Neonatal Isoerythrolysis is developed1.


It has been already discussed that both non-infectious and infectious causes are responsible for Fading Kitten Syndrome.

The included non-infectious causes are as follows:

  • Varied congenital defects like cleft palate, umbilical hernia, flat chest and other defects
  • Extreme environmental temperature both hot or cold (hyperthermia/hypothermia) weather at the time of birth or at initial week triggers the Fading Kitten Syndrome. Because neonates cannot regulate body temperature by breathing management or quaking.
  • Negligence from the mother because of maternal sickness, inexperience or nervousness.
  • Premature birth or low weight birth. The undersized one kitten can be an outcome of placental insufficiency, but if all the neonates are undersized, which indicate poor nourishment of mother.
  • Difficulty in labor
  • Environmental toxins
  • Vomiting or insufficient milk intake leads to dehydration
  • Neonatal Isoerythrolysis (incompatible blood )
  • All the kittens are not getting enough care due to lack of milk or inability to compete with other kittens for milk.
  • The included infectious causes are as follows:
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Viral infections
  • Parasitic infections3


In this section, we discuss some symptomatic analysis which is important for diagnosing Fading Kitten Syndrome. One of the primarily noticeable things is checking of newborn activity after birth; if the kitten does not feed properly and inactive or sleepy, then its indicate some abnormality. Then further symptomatic analysis required which include:

  • The suspicious kitten sleeping alone
  • Newborn crying excessive
  • Newborn kitten does not feed mother milk
  • Too much fatigue and weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It is very important to keep a record of weight gain, of each kitten every day. In normal cases, of every kitten approximately gain 7 to 10 grams of weight per day and sometimes it increases more.

The normal kitten development is going on as a 0 to 3 days the umbilical cord remains attached; birth date to till 10 days of kitten age the eyes are closed; within two weeks teeth starts to come out; within 4 weeks kitten starts to play and explore surroundings3.


A veterinary doctor examines physically of the affected kitten and also detail history of activities from birth to examining day require to analyzing the kitten condition. The doctor also takes the history of mother health and followed diet chart during pregnancy and nursing.

Other possible exposure of chemicals or toxins history also require. The following are the treatment plan may apply to treat the kitten:

  • Antibiotic treatment require if bacterial infection present
  • Parasitic infection also require proper treatment
  • Fluid administration require managing dehydration
  • Tube feeding or bottle feeding recommended supplying proper nutrition

Kittens usually too weak even after given aggressive treatment. It is always recommended that medical advice is required in any health related abnormality observed.

In the majority of cases, mismatched blood type mating causes Feline Neonatal Isoerythrolysis and outcome of this leads to Fading Kitten Syndrome. Therefore blood type analysis is important before mating queen cat and tomcat3.


  1. Ana C. Silvestre-Ferreira and Josep Pastor, “Feline Neonatal Isoerythrolysis and the Importance of Feline Blood Types,” Veterinary Medicine International, vol. 2010, Article ID 753726, 8 pages, 2010. doi:10.4061/2010/753726. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/vmi/2010/753726/
  2. Bücheler J. Fading kitten syndrome and neonatal isoerythrolysis. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 1999 Jul;29(4):853-70, v. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10390788
  3. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook – Delbert G. Carlson and James M. Giffin.

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