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Like I said in my intro, I am a foster for our local shelter and have been for about 6mo now. Up until recently we have just had kittens who are 4 weeks and up, old enough to be away from their mother but the foster coordinator asked if we would try a 2 day old litter of 5 with their semi-feral mom and we went for it. Everyone has been pristinely healthy, the mom has done a great job, and the kittens are all fat and sassy having just turned 5 weeks last Tuesday and the smallest one is 1lb 4oz.

So now mom seems like she is about done with them. She hisses, growls, scratches when they try to nurse, cuddle, or even get near the food dish when she is around...but only sometimes? She isn't the kind of cat who climbs to get away, she stays low to the ground so she lays on the floor where they can reach her or have to walk by her to get to the food or litter box. I know I am putting human emotions on animals but they seem so sad about it :( Just a few minutes ago one of the babies woke up to see all his siblings had gone to another part of the room so he started meowing loudly so momma perked up making the "Meeeerrrrowr?" kind of call to them and they all came running to her. She licked them and let them nurse like she used to and they all passed out in a milk induced coma. She got up, they all got up and meowing and rubbing on her, she licked a few times, then she was hissing and spitting and scratching at them.

Is this Mommy Dearest bi-polar type behavior normal?? Will she hurt them? The shelter said moms are usually done with the babies by 8 weeks, should I bring her back this soon? The plan is to obviously spay mommy as soon as her mammaries reduce and she will most likely be adopted out as a barn cat because of her semi-feral nature while the babies are spayed at 2lbs before being adopted out. The foster coordinator is on vacation this week so I don't have my usual go-to person to ask.

Thanks in advance!
 

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It sounds to me like she's working on weaning. The 24/7 milk bar is now closed. Pretty soon you should see the sometimes allowing move to never allowing. And now as far as she's concerned they're big enough to learn their manners so she's going to up the discipline.
 
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