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Hello to all!

I was very happy to find this forum, and glad to find a community of people who love cats and are interested in their welfare.

Through my life I have always had cats, but find myself in a new situation. For the past couple of years I have been living in an apartment in the lower level of a large home, in a rural community where I work. My permanent residence is several hours away, and my husband and I travel back and forth several times a month.

Last October a small female kitty appeared outside of the apartment, and I started feeding her. Over the next several months, she gradually got closer to the house. Throughout the winter months she continued to appear every day for food, and by January of this year she sniffed my hand. I let her take the lead, and by March I was able to pat her, and she would rub against my legs and purr.

By that time, I suspected that she might be pregnant (either that or, wow, she was getting awfully fat). She disappeared for a couple of day around April 1, and after she returned, it became apparent that she was nursing. She continued to come to my door to eat both morning and night.

In early June she brought her two kittens with her. In a few weeks I could pat them all while they were eating. It was so wonderful watching the kitties play in the garden, with Mommy watching them closely. Mommy cat greeting me every day, following me around, sitting by my feet and sleeping with her kittens outside my door on the patio furniture.

Unfortunately, the owner of the house made it known that she does not like cats. She blamed them for any plant that was broken, any little thing that was disrupted on her porch. The cats didn't harm anything, but not a day went by when she didn't talk about "getting rid of" the cats.

I was offered a job back at my permanent home, and had to make a decision about the cats. Momma cat looked pregnant again, and the babies were at least 3 months old. If I left them at the apartment, they would continue to live in the woods, with no one to care for them. They would continue to procreate. Even if I got them all spayed and returned them to the woods, the homeowner said that she would find someone to "remove" them. Or, I could catch them, and keep them all.

Well, I caught the littler kitten, and got her to the vet, where she checked out fine. The next day, I was able to get Momma. She looked at me so sadly when I picked her up and put her in the carrier. She was brought to the vet, and a few days later spayed. I had nowhere to keep her so she was boarded for a week. I brought the other kitten in a week afterwards, and he checked out fine.

All of the cats have now been transported to my permanent home. We are keeping them in the smallest bedroom to get them acclimated. To make this long story short, the kittens are adjusting pretty well; one is already a lap kitty and the other one is getting there. The problem is Momma.

Since getting her back from the vet, she has been very depressed, and spends most of the day lying in a corner. Our vet checked her and says she is physically fine. She does eat, and has begun to move about, but no longer responds. Her gaze is blank, and the trust and recognition I saw is gone.

If I left her behind, she would endlessly procreate and risk the hazards of life in the woods, or would have been removed and most assuredly killed. In having her spayed, and bringing her home with me, I thought I was saving her life, but it seems as if I have lost her trust completely. The cat that I befriended over the past 8 months or so is gone. I miss my kitty friend!

I realize she has been through many changes, and friends that have rescued many cats say that it can take months for them to adjust. Is there any hope here? What can I do to regain her trust?

I realize that this is a long post, but would appreciate any help that members of this forum could offer.

Thanks!!!
 

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This will probably take time but there are things you can do.

Well it does my heart good to hear that you took such an interest in helping those kitties. For the mother cat, she may just need some adjustment time. It's been a big change. Can you get a cat cage, or a dog house or something similar, that you can make her own little dark, quiet den that is in a room that is not often used? It may help for her to have somewhere to go to just try to deal with changes and get some separation from people. It may take a very long time for her to realize this is a better situation than she was in before although sometimes cats who were outside cats never fully accept indoor confinement. Only lots of time will tell that. In the meantime, maybe you could try getting a harness for her and trying to leash train her. It could be a way to have together time with her and to eventually safely take her outside. Of course, if she's pregnant again you might not want to put a harness around her middle right now. There are also pre-made, outdoor cat runs that you can buy that you could put her in so at least she can sit outside and smell the air. It's a tough one, and if you're sure there is no physical health issues going on then it is likely psychological. She's going through a big change, give her some space, a lot of time, and maybe some way to get outside a bit and I'm hoping that will help. Good luck!
 

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Oh wow, I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe it's just a temporary and/or common reaction to being spayed for a momma who's already had a couple of litters? Has she shown any interest in going outside? I've never been in that situation - although I might in a couple of years with a stray I've been taking care of for the past 2 years - but you made the best decision in taking the whole family with you. She might have been okay if you'd left her behind, but on the other hand, she might not have found another human kind enough to look after her. Who knows? And that not knowing would be awful - you'd be second-guessing yourself to death. Hopefully, Momma cat will come around soon!
 

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hang in there. you really did do the right thing, so you shouldn't regret anything you did at all. just IMAGINE what you'd be thinking right now if you hadn't brought those cats to the vet and then taken them home with you! they would be out in the cruel world, dodging fights with other animals, dodging cars or kids with BB guns, or that apartment owner who would've done heck knows what to them. i shudder to think of the possibilities. so i am so glad you did what you did.

anyway, yes. maybe momma just needs some more time. continue to show her love and she just HAS to come around eventually. i mean, a warm, safe place to raise her kids and for herself, not having to worry where her next meal's coming from, a loving human staff, etc... if you can give her a taste of the outdoors every once in a while, too, i hope that brightens her spirits as well. i wish you all the best. good luck with them. :luv
 

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It's a lot of change for her as the other's have said.

When I have ferals, or even just more skittish kitties, I'm trying to befriend I do two things. Feed the best food when I'm present, and read out loud to them in a calm voice. Bring in yummy wet food ('nuke it for 10-15 seconds to warm it a bit and encourage her appetite if you need to), then sit nearby facing away from her and gently read to her. Our voices tend to be modulated when we read out loud, and your eyes focusing on something else will help her feel safe a relaxed. The canned food will build a great association between you and wonderful things, so all together you'll encourage her to come out of her shell a bit.

She is also healing from her spay, and the traumatic experience of being at a vet clinic. If you've seperated them put her kittens back with her, but supervise to they don't try to nurse and irritate her incision, they might help her perk up a bit.

Good luck!
 
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