Thanks for your reply. The vet is actually probably one of the most experienced vets in Sydney Australia for "street cats"! They are 2 of the kindest vets I've ever met when it comes to "street cats". They do almost all of the "Cat Protection Society Cats". I dare say they see 10+ a week and have for years. I hate using the word feral here, cause in some places here, they pay people to bring dead ferals in, and in other places you get $5/live feral, which are then euthanised, so I prefer "street cat"!
He said that based on the look of her ovaries, it was definitely not a recent birth...had to be at least 4 weeks ago. Given I had given them clear instructions not to desex if nursing, and I can't see that they would have any reason to do it (the rate is so cheap for "rescue cats" they're not making money on it). He's looked after about another 8 of mine and done a great job with all of them (all "street cats").
If I release her, I probably have no chance of rescuing her. I move in 10 days and she was the last one to get in. Australia hates ferals and there is no chance of anyone looking after her, or the kittens, when I'm gone.....I know cause I've lived here for 4 1/2 years. People do poison them around here though. And they've been living in an electricity substation, right beside the power generators and the adults are getting very thin, so there's a real chance the kittens are gone. I had the authorities open it for me today (I knew the kitty was living there...originally with 2 others that have also been rescued) and there were adult cat prints, but no kittens.
I doubt the vet was lying to me, but suppose it's possible, but can't see why he would. The day before when I brought another in that I was worried might be nursing, they told me how they could reverse the anaesthesia and have me collect them to release (rather than desex) if they were nursing. They even called me to assure me kitty was not pregnant or nursing. They say they only told me today because they knew I was concerned, but the only reason they went ahead with it was because they didn't believe she'd been nursing for some time. He said that cats continue to lactate for weeks, sometimes months after stopping nursing, and I must admit that's also been my experience. I've never heard of their milk drying up temporarily...he says they squeezed hard while she was under.
I don't know what to do cause I know you also have alot of experience Hissy!! If I release mom again, she will never be rescued....she's only a kitten herself (less than 9 months old). I'm moving overseas in 11 days. In my experience she'd be unlikely to live much longer (rarely see anyone over a year here)...many are hit by cars and trains here, poisoned and otherwise abused. I had to move feeding places when it became apparent people were throwing eggs at them from high places in apartment blocks.
I'm inclined to follow the vets advice and not release her, cause I'd hate to lose all of them which is a real possibility if I release her, but continue to kitten hunt?????? He was adamant he wouldn't release her...thought it unlikely she had kittens and thought in the circumstances it was better she was given a home rather than be left behind on the street. It is instant euthanasia if she or her kittens are trapped by the local council too.
And I should also mention this cat does not seem at all anxious about getting out of here...I can't help but think if she had kittens that she'd be indicating she wanted to go back out??? Last night was the same, ate her food & not a peep or the slightest attempt to escape.