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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

Hello all, I am new here and looking for advice.

We have a feral kitty that has been hanging around for several months now. I have been putting food out for her, and she is friends with my domestic male cat - he is neutered. She is skittish around people, though she is not mean just runs away - just far enough to stay out of reach. She has, however, let my 5 year old daughter pet her, and even rubs her head up against her on the occasions she does allow my daughter near her.

A few weeks ago we had a blizzard, and I noticed her huddling and shivering under our BBQ grill, so I put a box outside with some old towels in it. Since then she still comes around to eat and visit my cat, but I have never seen her go in the box at all, and it has just sat there ever since. Last night was another windy snowstorm, and I noticed she was huddled in the box. This morning she was still there, and it turns out she has had 5 adorable kittens there! I have been out to visit her a few times this morning, and she has allowed me to pet her and has even purred, although I suspect she was purring for the kittens, not me.

Here's where I am unsure what to do. I would hope that she will stick around and keep her litter here so that the kittens can be socialized. I am more than willing to care for them as much as she will allow, and hope to find them good homes. I do worry, though, that she will move the kittens back to the field where she usually hangs out and they will grow up feral as well. So I had this crazy idea of possibly bringing the mother and litter inside - keeping them separate from our male cat for now, of course. Am I asking for trouble for even considering this? I was thinking of putting some old towels and blankets in our second bathroom - probably the tub as it would keep the kittens contained for awhile. I have an extra litter box that's not being used, and food and water are no problem. The door would be kept shut, so the bathroom would become their "room" for the next 6-8 weeks. I'm not worried so much about the kittens as the mother - I don't want her to freak out! Like I said, she has allowed some petting and has never been mean (no hissing, biting, scratching, etc), but I don't want her to be traumatized by being cooped up inside. Is this something to consider, or should I leave them out on the patio and let nature take it's course? I am also hoping to have her spayed once the kittens are old enough, and then will just let her go outside again.

Also, we had weather in the 70s last week, but it snowed yesterday and another snowstorm is forecast for tomorrow night. I do worry about them being out in the cold, too.

Sorry, this is longer than planned. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 03:26 PM
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Re: Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

How wonderful that you want to look after these kitties

I think bringing her inside is a great idea if you have a seperate room for her and her babies. As long as you don't 'force' affection on her and let her do things on her own terms I think she will be fine I am sure Heidi will be along with some great advice as she has a ton of experience with socializing.

I am sure you know already, but she can become pregnant again quite soon after having kitties so you would be doing her a great favour if you could get her spayed when she weans them

Oh and we need some piccies
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 05:10 PM
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Re: Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

Welcome Trout, and I think you had an EXCELLENT idea!

Yes, do bring her and her kittens inside to a room they can call their own. Bathrooms are fantastic because they are small, easy to clean and there are limited places a cat/kitten can hide. Be sure to keep the toilet lid DOWN.

I brought in a pregnant cat in 2004 (Shadow) who birthed in the cat carrier in the bathroom and she lived in there happily with her kittens. Do not be concerned about exercise, good mother cats won't want to leave their babies for long at all, until the kittens are older, mobile and playing and the mother cat jumps up to a counter to 'escape' them for a while.
I did try to let Shadow have the run of the bathroom AND Master Bedroom, but I had to put a halt to that when I caught her trying to move the litter under the large King bed. I didn't want the babies under there so I moved everyone back to the bathroom and only let Shadow out when I could be there to supervise and make sure she didn't try to move babies.

For my own fostering situations, I prefer to keep 2 closed doors (bathroom and bedroom) between the fosters and my own cats who live in the rest of the house. After the fosters come to me willingly and consistently, I will let them out of the bathroom and into the bedroom during the day to explore/play but I still keep the bedroom door between them and my own cats.

You can take this opportunity to befriend and socialize this mamma-kitty. Sit in there with her and quietly read a book, maybe offer tasty treats to her to eat out of your hand. Doing this will allow her to trust you and will carry over to her letting you handle her babies and be able to find them good homes.
The first cat who kittened out here (rural property) was Malibu and she moved her litter away from my shed when they were about 5wks old and I didn't see them for 4wks until she brought them back to my front patio on a 'field trip' and I was able to lure them into the garage with food and close the garage door behind them. We trapped all of the babies and put them in my bathroom for taming and TNR'd Malibu. Eventually, she became friendly and is now my best snuggle kitty who sleeps on my head or against my chest every night.

Anyhow, this is a novel...
Best of luck!
Heidi



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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

Thank you both for the helpful advice and encouragement! I am proud to announce that I have a wild mama cat and her litter now resting happily in my bathtub!

The actual move was kind of stressful, as I expected. I got everything ready in the bathroom, and then just carried the whole box in from outside, with mama and kittens inside. My daughter had instructions to close the bathroom door immediately behind me after I went in with the box, but the mother wrestled her way out and bolted while my daughter stood there frozen. The mom ran through the house and straight out the still-open patio door. I got the kittens all settled in and then started to panic that the mother would not come back. Within about 2 minutes, the mother had come back into the house (I couldn't believe it - she just came right in!), and was going from room to room meowing for her babies. She made her way to the bathroom and jumped right into the tub with them, where they have been resting ever since.

The mother does not seem the least bit concerned when I go in to visit. She purrs when I pet her, and rubs her head into my hand. She let me help adjust the kittens around her, and so far doesn't seem to be bothered that she is in a new place. I wasn't planning on letting my kids go in for a few days, but the mother is so calm that I let them come in, too. The mother just laid there purring and letting everyone pet her! I hope, as you said, this will be a great opportunity to socialize the mother, too.

The next few weeks will be an adventure for sure, but I am excited! Thank you again for the encouragement and advice. I will check in later and post some pictures - they are SO cute!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 08:51 PM
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Re: Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

It sounds to me like she was a cat that someone dumped and not really a true feral. Poor little lady, she may be happy to be inside a warm secure house. Can't wait for pictures!

Sue



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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 09:41 PM
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Re: Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

Yay! Your story had ME stressed out I am so glad she came back in for her babies. It really sounds like she has found a great place to be and raise her kittens. Her calm and easy acceptance of the people around her babies leads me to believe that you should have a very easy time with her. Do be sure to keep her seperated from your other cat/pets because I found Shadow to be super-friendly with all of our housecats UNTIL she gave birth. After that, she as all "protective mamma" and didn't calm down until her kittens were weaned and taken to PetsMart for their adoption program. (I foster and socialize kittens/cats for the PetsMart adoptions program)
Would love to hear updates about her, what you've named her and the babies and see photos.
heidi



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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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Re: Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

Just want to give you my feral momma cat story.
Almost a year ago a black and white cat showed up. After the cat had been hanging around for about a week and noone in the area knew of her or where she could have possibly come from I started to try to trap her. She was wise to the trap, and as time went by I could tell it was a she and she was pregnant. I have an enclosed porch on the back of my house, so I started trying to coax her in there with food...she came in on the porch on April 21 last year, and had her kittens there that night. She did a complete turn around with us- let us pet her and eventually pick her up, walked up to us for loving, and "hollered" at us when her food dish was empty. Mom was spayed as soon as the kittens were old enough. I had several people tell me they would take a kitten when it was old enough....Well, those people had one reason or another why they couldn't take one when the time came...so I now have 3 lovely "kittens", 2 boys(the twins Gemini and Mirra) and a girl (Tanni), that will soon be a year old here!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 11:23 PM
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Re: Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

Two success stories! I'm so glad, troutorama, that you brought the kittens into the house. Warmth is so important for kittens!

And mj702002, it's great that you have a new member of the familly!




Jeanie

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