Feline Mastitis is the inflammation of a cat’s breast tissue. A cat normally has eight individual breasts. There are two breast conditions that can affect a mother cat nursing her young:
- caked breasts
- acute septic mastitis
Above: healthy cat nursing her young. She was spayed later. Photo by Gossamer1013 (Flickr)
Caked Breasts (Galactosis)
Coagulated milk may accumulate in the breasts to the point where they become painful. They may be warm. The breast milk of cats normally has a pH between 6 and 6.5. If it is higher at 7 it may indicate an infection.
The milk producing glands should be “expressed” to remove some of the caked and coagulated milk. Phone the vet. He may prescribe a diuretic.
Persistently caked breasts can become infected resulting in an acute mastitis.
Acute Septic Mastitis – breast infection or abscess
This is a bacterial infection of one or more of the mammary glands. The bacteria can get into the gland via a scratch or puncture. The scratch can be caused by a kitten’s claws. These can be trimmed when the kitten is 2-3 weeks of age. It can occur from one day to six weeks after birth.
The milk becomes poisonous to the kitten and may kill the kitten through kitten septicaemia.
The mammary gland is swollen, painful, reddish-blue and tender. The milk may have blood in it and be yellow. It will have a pH of 7 or higher. The mother will have a fever and feel ill. She will be lethargic and have a poor appetite.
What to do? Stop the kittens nursing and call the vet.