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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Feral mom and kid/s in hiding?

I've decided to tell you all the full story in detail, in hopes of getting some direction or advice or comments, or even just emotional support...

I manage a TNR colony of 26 strays downstairs in the little public garden by the condo where I live.


About 4 months ago I discovered 3 kittens, seemed a few weeks old, in the parking lot a few meters from my feeding station. There was a cat around them whom I didn't know, which was weird because I know all the cats in my area.

I wanted to feed the mother (?) good-quality food while she was breast-feeding, but when I came back down, this other stray of mine, who is pregnant, was sitting on the grass with the kittens lying on her. This stray, actually, was the one who had led me to the place, each time rubbing against me and running, till one day I realized she wanted me to follow her. The mother (?) had disappeared.

This went on for a couple days. Then one day a man approached me in the street and asked me if I had seen a few kittens. I was defensive (like a momma cat) and said I didn't know where they were. He said he was just wondering because he knew a cat had given birth around his building, he had been feeding her once in a while, not regularly, and 2 of the 5 kittens had died. He had seen one of the kittens fall off the window where they were all nesting and the mother had followed that kitten and thus discovered my feeding station (with regular meals), moved her kittens nearer my station and never gone back to that place near his apt.

The next day there was a huge storm, and though I looked for the kittens that day and the next few days, I never found them again.

The one I had thought was the mother showed up at my feeding station one day, some time after, and has been permanent since. Lately I noticed that she seemed OBSESSED with what I call "treats" (which is actually any meat, as opposed to the cheap kibble I feed the strays). She'd hang around the station all day hoping for any scraps (I feed meat very rarely because of the cost).

Yesterday she showed up in the company of a kitten, about 4 months old I would say. The kitten, to my relief, was able to eat the kibble and raw chicken, even though it's still feeding from the mother as well.

I gave the mother a huge bowl of raw chicken, and noticed she was acting strange. Instead of eating it, she'd grab a piece in her mouth each time and run off, leaving her kitten alone, scared and crying. She'd come back after about 10 minutes each time, for another piece, and go off again.

I followed her and discovered she was running about half a block, hiding under a bush fence, then crossing the parking lot (this is NOT the straight, direct route), climbing up the outside wall of a building and disappearing inside an ajar window on the first floor (some kind of warehouse of the condo, not an apt.). i thought she was so afraid of the other cats that she wouldn't dare eat near them.

Today she did the same thing and I followed her again, with her bowl of meat this time. Her kitten wasn't with her at the station. I saw the kitten at the ajar window, greeting his mother. I put the bowl on a lower wall, highest I can reach under the window, and she'd come down and grab a piece and climb back up each time. Sometimes she'd eat a bit herself, sometimes she'd only chew on the piece and climb back up.

She seemed DESPERATE and very afraid of other cats. She'd stand at the window the whole time, frantically watching for other cats. A couple other of my strays came near, one climbed to the window, and I shooed him away, as he's not neutered and he can be aggressive. But I knew he wasn't after her meat, because I had given him plenty in his bowl before and he wasn't hungry, he'd eaten half-heartedly because I'd given him breakfast too. I think he may be the father, as he and she are the only ones not yet spayed in the area of my feeding station. He, by the way, is the only other stray I've seen run off with meat in his mouth like she does (in the same direction) but this was months ago and the kittens were probably still breast-feeding only.

There was a lot of meat in her bowl and I kept adding to it to give her a feeling of plenty to calm her down. In the end, belly full and no cats daring approach, she calmed down and sat sleepily at the window. All the time I was right under the window, in the parking lot. I kept cooing her to eat more and take more food inside, but at some point she just disappeared inside the place and I left, to take care of my other strays and Prince.

In a couple hours, when it's light again, I'll bring her organ meat, chicken breast and lots of liver, which I bought yesterday for her.

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 09:51 PM
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Very touching story. I'm so glad you found her and were able to help her and her kittens out. What a good mother she appears to be.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Gf, am I doing the right thing? Am I doing all I can do for them? I'm going to talk to the man who brought to me the just-born kitty that I adopted and died last month, he lives in that building, maybe he can get me the key to that warehouse without the super knowing (the super / neighbors would evict the poor stray family). Do you think there may be other kittens inside?

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:46 AM
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I believe the mom-cat is trying to feed her kittens with your provided food. Meat is easier for her to carry to her kitts than kibble pieces.
Good luck working with the man to gain access to s/n and possibly catch for taming and adoption?
Even better, a pat-on-the-back for FOLLOWING her to discover where she was going and what she was doing. Her behavior reminds me of BB catching/killing and bringing squirrels to her litter in the barn. Even though I fed them, BB was a former feral who grew up *having* to hunt to survive and she was passing that instinct and survival skill on to her litter.
I think your mom-cat is unable to catch enough prey ... and is trying to provide nourishment to her kittens in the only way she can, with the only food available to her ... which is the food you are providing.



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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Heidi. She's been acting weird lately. She won't grab the meat and canned food I bring her and place under her window. She just eats a little herself. But she comes to the feeding station and grabs meat and runs to her kitties. I'm very concerned that they have to eat canned food or else they may dehydrate, because they don't come out to the drinking station. Today I'll try again. Also, I can't just come uninvited, because she won't come to the window when I call her. I have to follow her each time, so I have to wait for her to be around the feeding station.

Next to her nest, outside the window and below the building, I discovered yesterday a box with the mother and sibling of my OTB Yaniv (the just-born kitty we found whom I nurtured and died a week later of apparently congenital disease). I discovered them by surprise, and when I saw Yaniv the way he would've looked a few weeks later, I started crying and couldn't stop. So I'm taking care of them too.

As far as adoption goes, no such luck in our country. I don't even try.

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:55 AM
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It sounds to me, behavior-wise, like she has other, younger kittens in there or else siblings of the one who accompanied her who are ?unable? to come out or too shy? I would bet on younger kittens, though, I think.

Also, WOW that you found Yaniv's siblings--do they look really similar to him? How sweet that you're able to feed them all, you're doing such a great job!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Fireflie. I'm going there now to feed them raw diet. I have to wait till the rest of the colony disperse after dinner or they follow me and then the 2 mothers don't eat out of fear. But some nasty neighbors in that condo are making my life ****, interrogating me as to why I'm around their parking lot (as if a tiny, middle-aged woman could pose any threat). I can't blow the cats' cover, so I have no excuse to be in their private lot. I've been trying to reach the guy who lives in that building (who brought me to Yaniv back then), to help me feed the 2 families.

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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