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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-19-2012, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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What's the right thing to do?

I have been caring for three "feral" cats, one being a very young kitten. Now I have only known about the mother cat for about a week, and the kitten three days, so none of it's my fault

I have been working on taming the mother cat for about a week. She now comes when I call her (sometimes) and loves affection. She's always purring. The father cat is much more skittish but very caring for the kitten and I feel like there is limited danger he will hurt it.

I took a few vet tech classes and I have worked both at a farm taking care of animals pregnant, during birth, and after care. Including bottle raising animals at home that otherwise wouldn't have made it.

I inspected the kitten and it is surprisingly healthy. It has a good amount of fat, very responsive, good sight, good hearing, and can walk steadily. I think she's about two weeks old. The mother was dehydrated and had diarrhea because my grandma had been feeding them milk (without me knowing) :/ but she has gotten a lot better since I stopped that.

Yesterday I had a bad scare with the kitten. She was no where to be found. I was looking for her in our sheds and found the decaying remains of another kitten with similar coloring that was about the same size. I thought the heat might have accelerated the decaying time and the kitten was dead. But later that day I found the kitten moved into a garage. The other kitten must have died in the shed days before I even knew about the kittens.

I was amazed that I found myself crying over a kitten I had only known for three days, but I was. I was blaming myself for not taking the kitten away and caring for it myself. I work at home and certainly could give it "round the clock" care. The mom is doing a really good job and the kitten seems healthy. But I am really considering taking the kitten in for a few weeks until it's more "out of the danger zone".

Now I am really not sure what's best to do. Should I bottle raise the kitten or do you think it will have better luck with the mom? (who is doing a great job by the way). It's nursing great and I really don't know if it will take a bottle.

I would like to take it to the vet for a check-up but it's like the worst time for me financially since we just had to replace our roof and my boyfriend got his hours cut at work. I will call around and see how much it will cost/if I can afford it (btw, I am planning on getting the cats fixed as soon as the kitten is weened) because the vet will be able to test for parasites and illnesses I cannot see.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-19-2012, 07:00 PM
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Hmm, since the mother is friendly, could you take them both in until the kitten is weaned? You could keep her from getting pregnant again too, since she wouldn't have access to daddy kitty. If you don't want to take both in, is there much danger in the your yard/area? On the one hand, leaving the kitten with the mom gives her time to "teach it" to be a cat... on the other hand, strange behavior is probably better than hurt or worse.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-19-2012, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately my house is very small and I can't keep them in their own room. The people I live with are highly allergic to cats (a cat brushed up someone's face once and their eye swelled shut!) or I would have already had them inside

But my yard is relatively safe. It's all fenced in and I'm in the middle of the desert, with very few neighbors and we have more then an acre to our selves (more like 10 with the empty lots next to our house).

I actually think the kitten is almost three weeks old, which is pretty good. So perhaps she's close enough to being out of the danger zone. I found a vet that I can afford to get a check-up for her at and I'm going to take her in next week.

The biggest problem is the cat keeps trying to move the kitten to less safe places. Like she put it in our garage two days ago and I got them to take it back. And then my grandma's garage yesterday. Our garage is a mess and a breading ground for black widows.. and as for my grandma... well she has a knack for running over cats and I really don't want them over there with her.

I cleaned out a shed for them to stay in but of course they don't want to stay in the safe closed up shed with the nice warm towels.. they want to stay in the dune buggy under a tarp.

Last edited by marie73; 10-21-2012 at 06:44 PM.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2012, 02:28 PM
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Youch, that IS really allergic! As long as you're not afraid of the local wildlife, it sounds like your yard is a good sanctuary for them. As for the nice shed, well... I guess cats are just like that, because mine would rather sleep in the sink or in cardboard boxes than their nice plush beds! Maybe they'll use it more when your scent wears away? Though I'm surprised it'd really bother them anyway, since you feed them. Other than the vet visit, I guess just keep an eye on the kitten and only swoop in if it looks like it's not growing or is sick, or if the mother for some reason stops caring for it.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2012, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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We haven't seen wildlife around here in a few years, too many humans now. And we have a fence to keep wild dogs out, so they should be safe for the most part.

I actually took a few of the towels they've been sleeping on and put them in the shed so they'd already be used to the smell.. didn't work >_< I think mom doesn't like to move kitty anymore, she hasn't tried in 2 days now.

I started taking the kitten inside for a bit every day a few times a day, to get her socialized. After spending more time with her I'm sure she's around 3 weeks old and pretty well out of the danger zone. The mom doesn't seem to care at all about her smelling like me. She will cuddle with me and the kitten at the same time and totally loves my presence now. She always comes when I call her she is a really loving cat.

Here are some more pictures:









We decided to name the female cat Gimley and the male cat Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. We're thinking about naming the kitten Precious

Last edited by marie73; 10-21-2012 at 06:45 PM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2012, 07:27 PM
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Oh my gosh, I am overwhelmed by the cuteness!! Momma is beautiful, and it looks like her little girl will be just as stunning!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2012, 08:50 PM
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Just darling!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2012, 10:45 PM
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Absolute cuteness!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 08:00 AM
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What a beautiful looking pair! You have a couple more weeks before you should take the kittens from the mom. If you did remove the kitten do you have a place to keep her before you adopt her out? Ideally the mom should be kept a week before spay so the milk dries us but they can do spay even if she is engorged. They look very healthy which is a huge plus.

You said you live in the desert. Are you in the Tucson area? I could help you find a free s/n possibly if you are.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 09:57 AM
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Oh my goodness! The wee one is adorable and momma is beautiful!

I can see why you'd cry over a kitten you'd only known for three days, especially one as cute as she is!


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