How can I prevent or avoid this condition? Picture

English German French Italian Dutch

First of all, be truthful about it. This is not something you caused, and it does not in any way mean you are a bad breeder, so it's nothing to be ashamed about. Only by discussing it openly will we learn more and will the lines that produce it consistently be prevented from damaging clear bloodlines. Unfortunately I know of several breeders who persist in offering studs for public use who consistently throw this condition, and whose offspring also produce it. Just because a cat is very beautiful or a show winner does not mean he or she has suitable genes to pass on.

Unfortunately we really don't know enough either to avoid the condition entirely or to cure it successfully every time (unless the new ideas I've written about above turn out to be successful): very bad cases where the kitten begins to have trouble breathing are unlikely to be cured, and the kitten usually dies. Mild cases can often recover with no help at all, sometimes remaining slightly flat, and sometimes the ribcage goes back to normal. Either way, you must not breed from that kitten, and it's not advisable to breed from any of the litter mates in case the cause is genetic. I would not advise the the repetition of a cross that had produced an FCK kitten again just in case the combination of the two lines was the cause; maybe another stud would produce a safer outcross.

Main things to avoid to try and prevent the occurrence of FCK:

  1. Use of ANY antibiotics or medications during pregnancy or nursing
  2. Inbreeding in the pedigrees between the male and female lines
  3. A Queen who does not produce a good milk supply (if unavoidable, then supplement, even if the milk is coming OK)
  4. Using lines known to have produced FCK kittens - though beware, not all breeders are truthful about this
  5. Poor nutrition during pregnancy and nursing: plenty of fresh high-quality food must be available to the queen at all times, and raw meat such as rabbit is an ideal source of good nutrition.

If you are reading this because you have a litter with FCK in it I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that your kittens survive. It is heartbreaking to watch babies die, and everyone who has experienced FCK would offer you their support in dealing with it. Unfortunately nearly every breeder who has been breeding for some time will have experience of FCK, if you haven't, then you're very lucky.

Next...
To this article's index page