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Feral Kitten
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Feral Kitten

I volunteer for a local non-profit. We trapped a group of feral kittens recently and they are all a quite a bit "off" and not quite the normal group of kittens. Their behavior leads me to believe they are inbred.
The runt of the litter is not normal looking. She has large ears, bulging eyes, and an abnormal amount of excess skin (she is not dehydrated). Here is a link to a photo of the group that includes her: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150108290420210&set=a.391295290209.198303.365019065209
She appears healthy but is it possible she has a genetic and/or medical condition? We adopt these kittens out so it is important to know. They have all been to a regular vet already.
Type of Animal
:  
Cat
Age of Animal
:  
Kitten
Sex of Animal
:  
Female
Breed of Animal
:  
Domestic Short Hair
Last date your pet was examined by a vet?
:  
January 09, 2011
City
:  
Norman
State/Province
:  
Oklahoma
Country
:  
USA
234713_tn?1283530259
Hello there,  I viewed the photo.  I think that she is absolutely adorable!  I would adopt her myself if I did not already have 8 cats.

There is no syndrome of which I am aware, where the patient has large ears, extra skin and large eyes.  There are possibilities to explain the eyes however, which I have listed in answers #2 and #3.

1. It may be normal for her.  She may just be a bit unusual looking.  The eyes are the same size in infancy as they are in the adult cat.  She may have exceptionally large eyes, ears,  and excess skin because she is destined to be a very large cat, despite her tiny size now.

2. She may have hydrocephalus, which is a building up of fluid in the skull either because there is an over production of cerebrospinal fluid, a blockage to outflow of that fluid, or decreased absorption of the fluid.  This can be due to infection, toxin exposure during pregnancy or a genetic defect.

3. She could have been born with a cranial or craniofacial deformity in which her eye sockets are exceptionally large, for instance, but as I explained above this too would not explain the large ears, or skin.

Congenital abnormalities can be genetic (passed in the genes), or related to toxin exposure, malnutrition, or infections during pregnancy.  The runt of the litter is more susceptible to abnormalities because it receives the poorest in-utero blood supply due to it's position in the uterus during pregnancy.  If the queen is very healthy, has a healthy pregnancy, i.e.: has not been exposed to toxins or infections, and is provided with excellent nutrition, all the kittens would have done equally well.

When the kittens are old enough they should of course be tested for feline leukemia and AIDS.  If this kitten tests negatively, eats, drinks, plays, and grows normally than there is no problem.  I hope that this is the case.  Please provide me with updates!  I am very curious.
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This Forum's Experts
234713_tn?1283530259
Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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