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Urgent Advice Needed re Nursing Feral who Was Desexed Today and Needs to be Released

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Disaster here. I've been rescuing all the kitties on my street and was down to the last 2...took them to vet this morning, told vet I was worried one might be nursing and if so, to not desex it, ring me and I would collect it immediately and release it til I could find the kittens. To make a long story short, they didn't do that and 2 hours ago I discovered she is nursing and they went ahead and desexed her (I don't know how they misunderstood, but I can't worry about that much now). I've been looking for kittens around here for 2 months, and can't find any.....its a vast area, much of it inaccessible (by railway tracks) and there is lots of bush type terrain that they could be in. I even made the city electricity open a generator station for me today to look into. So I have no chance of finding them... vet thinks they are probably at least 4 weeks old based on her ovary size. I am so upset. When can I release her safely? She has stitches on the side and according to vet can still nurse. Do I have any chance of trapping her again after I find the kittens (or after they are old enough to be on their own if I never find them?).
They have now been without their mom for about 22 hours and she was desexed about 5 hours ago.
BTW, its even more upsetting because she was the last cat in a colony of 12 and will; now have to be out there on her own. Thanks so much.
post #2 of 6
hmm I dont think her being spayed while nursing is a big deal, that is done often. But are the stitches dissolvable? That would be pretty dumb of the vet to use stitches that need to be removed on a feral.

I would think the kittens would be crying and carrying on if they were anywhere nearby. If you can't find them then I would think that they either passed away or they were snatched by a preditor. Were you planning to release her or to keep her?
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
UPDATE: Just collected kitty from vet...he said something different this time, or so it seems ...said they knew I was concerned and made decision to go ahead on basis she wasn't expelling milk anymore. I was sure he told me she was nursing when I spoke to him earlier????? He thinks kittens likely old enough to scavenge for themselves if they are still alive, and doesn't think I should release the kitty. He was adamant she wasn't expelling milk despite being squeezed. Thoughts??

Yes, dissolvable stitches were used.

RE whether or not I was going to keep her, definitely keeping her! Had her chipped today. Just because I can't hear the kittens doesn't mean anything. I live by railway track with a lot of bush, inaccessible by people and they could be anywhere in there. I rarely see any of the kittens before 2-3 months old when they are born on the street.

Thanks for your help.
post #4 of 6
If it were me and the stitches are dissolving I would release her immediately. It is extremely hard for humans to get milk from nipples, much easier for the kittens. Without knowing for sure what age her kittens are, I would release her. If the stitches aren't dissolving then your vet doesn't understand ferals and strays. Her milk will drop when she is reunited with her litter.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
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.
Thanks again,
post #6 of 6
Hearing the whole story, follow your gut. If the vet has told you it isn't a recent birth, then start setting out kitten food where you last saw the momcat- both wet and dry. If you can, stake out the area as much as possible to see if any kittens come to feed. Kitten hunting is extremely difficult. Feral moms tuck their kittens away in the smallest of places with several escape holes. If the kittens are to young to be weaned, and they make a noise, chances are predators have already claimed them. Based on what you said, save the mom-cat and thank you for doing so. Especially in light of how they are viewed in your part of the world.
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