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Discussion Starter #1
OK, this may be long but I've never seen this behavior before and I really want you to understand exactly what has been going on.

So, this cat was a feral mom who had two 3-4 month old kittens. They were going to be killed so we trapped them and put them in my office at my house. But, when they lived outside, we noticed just how clingy SHE was with her kittens. She would be literally behind them everywhere, even when they would play. It's like she was a first time mom or something and she was too anxious to be away from them. This went on even while they were living in my office to the point that she would breast feed them still! At 4 months old! And mind you we gave them soft and dry food everyday.

Not long after they came in she gave birth to 5 kittens. We had to take away the 2 older kittens (one loved people so we took him to the Humane Society to hopefully be adopted out but the other older kitty still lives here, now in my room)

OK, so momma cat has been living in my office with the new kittens for almost 3 months now and she is still all over these like she was with the other two. They get more than enough food but she STILL breast feeds them from time to time. She calls them if they are too far....and my office isn't that big plus we even took out all the furniture so they would have more room. If one of the kittens runs too fast away from us when we come in the room she will hiss at us and she never used to do this. I think they are too big for her to be acting that way and that she is way to attached and we are seriously worried that when we take away the kittens sometime this month that she will go crazy or something. I'm not afraid that she'll bite or scratch us. What we are worried about is her state of mind. We are going to keep her (living in my office since I have cats and dogs) but what if she gets so depress she doesn't eat? Or so anxious she goes crazy?

We are at our wits ends because we have NO idea how to do this. We did keep one of her older kittens (a female) that is too afraid of people and we hoped to at least bring her back into my office to live with her mom once the younger kittens were not here. We hoped that maybe the mom wouldn't be stressed or be lonely once she was back with at least one of her older kittens because there is nowhere else for her to live except in my office as we have no other room available. We don't care if they have to live there for the rest of their lives since we are willing to take care of them so they won't be killed.

If anyone can help us I would be more than thankful because we are so depressed over this and time is running out. :(
 

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So you have a supermomcat have you? Had one of those once. My "Missy" was not content with her own litter, she used to steal kitties from another female to nurse as well. "Too many kitties"! just wasn't in her vocabulary. It was hard to wean the kittens, as she would just keep on nursing them, even if they were 5 mos. old or older.

It would be best to let her nurse her kittens until at least 12 wks, then start to wean them gradually by allowing them to spend less and less time with her. I suggest you start bringing in her older 4 mo. kitten a week or so before you send her younger kitties to new homes. I don't think she will miss the younger ones that much, and the older one will keep her happy. She should be spayed after she's weaned her kittens. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ok, how do we wean the kittens and how do we get them to spend less time with her? I only have that one room so there is literally nowhere else to put them. When we tried once to take them away she started crying after a couple of hours :(
 

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Do you not have a bathroom separate from your other room with a door on it? If you don't have a separate room, you could buy a playpen (available as most pet stores) to put the kitties in, tho you'd likely have to put a sheet of plastic on the top or piece of plywood or something to keep out momacat. Put the kitties in the bathroom/playpen for most of the day and only allow them to nurse on momacat once a day. This should gradually dry up her milk so she has less to give them. Feed the kitties first before you let them nurse, so that they're already full and won't want to nurse too long. It's nursing a long time that stimulates the milk productiion.

This should decrease her milk gradually with less nursing, otherwise she could develop mastitis if you suddenly cut the kittens off from nursing on her. Mastitis can appear suddenly with little warning. Look for heat coming up around the nipples, swelling around the base of the teats and watch the her behavior for any sudden changes (lethargy). If you suspect your cat has mastitis, call your vet immediately! Hope this helps, and look forward to hearing how things are going.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ok, so mom cries if we take away the babies. and they start crying. and then I wanna shoot myself lol I just feel so bad for her. I'm thinking of introducing her older kitten back now while she still has the younger ones to see if hopefully when we take them away she'll have the older one with her and won't cry. Is that doable? Also, how do you introduce two cats? I've fostered tons of cats and dogs but not together so I don't know how to do this. :?
 

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How long has it been since she was separated from her older kitten? You may not need an introduction as she will probably recognize him. You could bring him in the office in a carrier and see what her reaction is. How old is he? If she walks up and hisses you'll know she doesn't recognize him, and if he's not yet neutered that could be reason enough she doesn't want him around. He should be neutered first ifhe isn't (anytime over 4mos.is OK) and that should be done first before introducing her, as she may come into heat again soon.
 

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You're going to have to show some tough love here if you want these kittens weaned and ignore her protestations.

I should have mentioned when you bring the older kitten in the office in the carrier, make sure you have the younger kittens out of the room somewhere else. Most females are very protective and she may still be in that frame of mind and try to attack if her younger kittens are there with her.

Another thing you can try to discourage the kittens from nursing is to put a stretchy tube top (child size should fit) on her so that her teats are covered up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
the older kitty is a female and she was spayed. we separated them about a month or month-and-a-half ago on the day we got her neutered. mom went crazy when she came home. apparently didn't like the smell of her so that's why we separated her from mom and the newborns. so it's been almost 2 months that they've seen each other.

the older kitten is about 5-6 months.
 

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Does your momcat have a cat bed or blanket she lies on? Before you bring her older daughter into the room in a carrier, rub momcat's blanket all over her. Momcat may be more accepting of her daughter with her scent on her. It's possible she might remember the vet smell incident, but most cat's live in the moment, and she's probably forgotten all about that. It's often a common reaction for a cat to be upset by another cat housemate because of the vet office smell even tho you think the cat would know it's catfriend. Usually they get over it in a day or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks guys! :)

gave mom a blanket and will then get a crate so we can put the older kitty back with mom to see what will happen. will keep you guys posted. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ok, finally got a crate and now I'm ready to put the older kitten in it. the question now is: what's the procedure for getting mom to recognize her? I mean, I figure I'll sit by the crate because the kitten will be locked in the crate and she may get scared when she sees mom and the younger kittens trying to sniff her and she has nowhere to go. also, how long do we do this? a couple of minutes? or more?

I've had to put his kitten in a crate before and she starts crying. will that have a negative effect on mom or her?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
on the mom? she doesn't let anyone touch her. she scratched me yesterday when she thought I got to close (I was cleaning the floor near her lol)
 

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You're going to have to spend more time with feral momcat to get her used to being handled...at least picked up. When you feed her don't leave the food down so that she can eat when she wants. You want her to know that good things=food come from you! Sit on the floor and hand feed her all her meals. As she gets more comfortable with you, encourage her to come closer. While she's eating just touch her briefly and gently on her back and as she gets more accustomed to your hand, stroke her lightly for a little longer periods. You don't want to scrare, anger or rush her beyond her comfort level as it will just set her back to not trusting people. When she gets to the stage where she's comfortable with you stroking her, just lift her up briefly a few inches above the floor. You should be able to gradually be able to lift her up higher, but it's going to take baby steps and you'll have to go at her speed of comfort and acceptance. If momcat's been feral since she was a kitten, it will be more difficult to tame her so that she enjoys touch and being handled.

You can't put a time on it or how long it will take for her to accept her older kitten again. It will all depend on momcat's frame of mind. Just make sure you feed momcat first, as most cats if they're hungry can get cranky and aggressive. Ideally, if momcat isn't hissing and seems to be accepting her older kitty, you can let older kitty out of carrier in your lap, and hand feed her too. Smear a little canned food on top of her head. It might be the stimulus for momcat to wash her daughter.

Here's a series of excellent videos in how to deal with feral kittens.

Socializing (Taming) Feral Kittens - New York City Feral Cat Initiative - Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals
 

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Discussion Starter #16
That's just the weird thing, either my mom or I sit and cross-legged and put the plate on top of us and hold it there and she eats just fine. We've also put food in our hand and she eats and licks it. When we come in the room and a lot of times she is at the door and she kind of meows at us and just sits there not caring what we do.

It's when she thinks that we are trying to touch HER, which we've never tried to do so as not to frighten her (rather than her touching us) that she goes on the defensive. It's so weird really, 99% of the time she doesn't care that we clean right up to where she is but I think that she just has moments where she thinks that you're going to touch her or something. She's been here for about a few months now and this has happened like twice only.

My question about the time I just mean like how long each day should I have the older kitten in the crate in that room? I don't think she'd like to be locked in there for even an hour a day. Am I wrong or is it fine for that long even if I'm there with her?

Thanks for the videos! I'm going to check them now. :)
 

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A short visit at the beginning, say 10-15 mins. Will be interested in hearing momcat's reaction to her.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
thanks so much! I'm going to do that tomorrow first thing since mom and babies are sleeping now. Here are a couple of pics I took of them earlier today :)








 

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Lovely brown torbie momacat...yes they are wonderful mothers---sometimes too much so! and can be spunky. The supermom I was telling you about was a blue torbie. Momacat's kitties certainly look old enough to be adopted out now. Is her milk drying up? It should be if you're not letting them nurse more than once a day. Very cute kitties, 2 red mackeral tabby & white, and 2 black & white bicolors. You shouldn't have any trouble having them adopted/sold. They should be vet checked, wormed and have first shots before going to new homes. Thanks for sharing the pics.
 

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Actually one of kitties looks like a brown tabby & white bicolor. Hard to tell from head-on pic whether the tabby pattern is classic or mackeral.
 
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