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HELP: kittens in Thailand - mother keeps hiding them

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
hey there,
I'm a newby here and I have to admit, that I didn't really search the forums for too long, so please bear with me if I ask the same question someone has already asked before or just post me the link to the answers.

anyway, I hope you can help me out here:

where to begin... I live in Thailand on the Island Phuket with my boyfriend and we now have been talking about getting two kittens for a while. usually you can just go to a temple and ask there, cause there are thousends of stray cats here - or the owners just don't bother having their cats spayed, and as in buddhism killing the kittens is not an option, they just dump them at the nearest wat/temple.
then this collegue of my boyfriend tells us a stray cat had appointed him her new feeder. three weeks after that she littered four kittens in his cupboard. As he has to work during the day and cannot leave the house open he carried the babies out on the porch and put them in a cardboard box. as soon as he came home at night and opened the door, the mother cat carried them back inside in his cupboard, so he had to put them outside again. after that we went to see them and immediately fell in love with them, two of them in particular. the next day the mother carried them away into the bushes. as she would still come back for food and strokes our friend then found the nest and carried the babies back to the porch. this went back and forth and then i went there again a couple of days after the first encounter and suggested we make the box bigger and more sheltered. so we added space and gave the nest a proper roof and little door, at the same time preventing ourselves from being able to just reach inside and take the kittens out. after that the mother appearently accepted the box.

so for the last week i went there everyday to get them all used to me. i talked to them and gave the mother lots of attention and strokes while avoiding to pick up the little ones and just letting them sniff me. also i fed the mother and gave her water so whenever I arrived she was already waiting for me. in the mean time the kittens grew and started to get curious, going on little adventure trips. the mother seemed comfortable with me, as she fed her babies while obviously enjoying being stroked by me. yesterday my favorite ones were climbing all over me and I could stroke them and play a little and they seem very tame to me already. they must be about three weeks old now.

okay, so today I go there and the mother is waiting for me (no food and water left, I sometimes wonder if our friend forgets to feed her in the morning) and the kittens gone! again...
so I fed her and stroked her for a while (I DID ask her, where she took her babies, but she didn't oblige) and finally followed her (she at a point turning and hissing back at me) and found the nest. well, not really, it's in this thicket and I couldn't see inside but I heard the kittens.

Now: what to do? Are they by now tame enough that it doesn't matter if they're away from people for a few days? I guess that they should soon be fit enough to follow their mother back to the house and start eating cat food. maybe not, I don't know. I never had a cat before. Lots of temporary friends but never my own. I'm just scared that they might grow wild after all. and also I am totally unsure about at what age we should take them home. usually eight weeks seem fine if the mother cat lives in a household already. this one nobody knows about - she might have had another owner before but again we don't know. she looks great though. very pretty cat - not like the average thai stray cat. still she seems to have some eye infection as one eye frequently waters some darkbrown stuff. two of the kittens (curiously not the two we picked) have the same thing and also dirty stuff coming out of their noses. i wiped the one kitten's eyes with a damp cloth, gently rubbing in short strokes over it to soften the crust and finally wiped it off so it could open it's eyes again - the kitten totally relaxed in my hand and started purring by the way
i already thought about taking them to the vet but i don't know if i can seperate them from the mother just yet.

so many questions... I' would really appreciate any advice whatsoever.

thanks in advance,
franny
post #2 of 13
Hi Franny

Just keep looking in and the kitten experts will be along to help you

Usually it's best if the kittens stay with their mum for about 12 weeks, but bless your heart for looking out for them all

As i say keep checking in because it's still early but most will start to come on very soon .
post #3 of 13
Hi and welcome to TCS!!!

You can't separate mom from babies just yet. It's good that you know where they are tho. Is mom only hissing at you when you're near her babies? That just means that she is not as comfortable with you as you had hoped her to be. Is there an outdoor protected enclosure nearby which you can put them in right away? I'm aware that it's nearly 10pm for you... catch the mom first and then bring the babies to her in one fell swoop. She will his and perhaps scratch you so, be careful!

This is the best advice I have for you, the TNR experts will be along soon with better!

Good luck and bless you for helping!
post #4 of 13
like abysmummy has said , if atall possible can you catch the mum and put her in a safe place where she cant go back outside? then bring her babys to her straightaway?
this would be wonderfull if you could do this.
good luck
post #5 of 13
Your boyfriend is gonna have to come up with a better place to confine mom and kits. If the kits are not being handled by people during the first few weeks - they will get more and more skittish and afraid. I know this because of having litters of barn kittens - when mom hides them and you can't find them; when you do (at 6-8 weeks old) they are very skittish and it takes longer to "tame" them.

We confined mom and kits (last litter) and handled the kits daily - bringing them inside at 5 weeks to be weaned. World of difference.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by franjapany View Post
hey there,
I'm a newby here and I have to admit, that I didn't really search the forums for too long, so please bear with me if I ask the same question someone has already asked before or just post me the link to the answers.

anyway, I hope you can help me out here:

where to begin... I live in Thailand on the Island Phuket with my boyfriend and we now have been talking about getting two kittens for a while. usually you can just go to a temple and ask there, cause there are thousends of stray cats here - or the owners just don't bother having their cats spayed, and as in buddhism killing the kittens is not an option, they just dump them at the nearest wat/temple.

How unfortunate that they don't look at the bigger picture here. The bigger picture is in this situation, spaying and neutering would save these cats lives, now, they are forced to fight for survival.




then this collegue of my boyfriend tells us a stray cat had appointed him her new feeder. three weeks after that she littered four kittens in his cupboard. As he has to work during the day and cannot leave the house open he carried the babies out on the porch and put them in a cardboard box. as soon as he came home at night and opened the door, the mother cat carried them back inside in his cupboard, so he had to put them outside again. after that we went to see them and immediately fell in love with them, two of them in particular. the next day the mother carried them away into the bushes. as she would still come back for food and strokes our friend then found the nest and carried the babies back to the porch. this went back and forth and then i went there again a couple of days after the first encounter and suggested we make the box bigger and more sheltered. so we added space and gave the nest a proper roof and little door, at the same time preventing ourselves from being able to just reach inside and take the kittens out. after that the mother appearently accepted the box.

so for the last week i went there everyday to get them all used to me. i talked to them and gave the mother lots of attention and strokes while avoiding to pick up the little ones and just letting them sniff me. also i fed the mother and gave her water so whenever I arrived she was already waiting for me. in the mean time the kittens grew and started to get curious, going on little adventure trips. the mother seemed comfortable with me, as she fed her babies while obviously enjoying being stroked by me. yesterday my favorite ones were climbing all over me and I could stroke them and play a little and they seem very tame to me already. they must be about three weeks old now.

okay, so today I go there and the mother is waiting for me (no food and water left, I sometimes wonder if our friend forgets to feed her in the morning) and the kittens gone! again...
so I fed her and stroked her for a while (I DID ask her, where she took her babies, but she didn't oblige) and finally followed her (she at a point turning and hissing back at me) and found the nest. well, not really, it's in this thicket and I couldn't see inside but I heard the kittens.

Now: what to do? Are they by now tame enough that it doesn't matter if they're away from people for a few days? I guess that they should soon be fit enough to follow their mother back to the house and start eating cat food. maybe not, I don't know. I never had a cat before. Lots of temporary friends but never my own. I'm just scared that they might grow wild after all. and also I am totally unsure about at what age we should take them home. usually eight weeks seem fine if the mother cat lives in a household already. this one nobody knows about - she might have had another owner before but again we don't know. she looks great though. very pretty cat - not like the average thai stray cat. still she seems to have some eye infection as one eye frequently waters some darkbrown stuff. two of the kittens (curiously not the two we picked) have the same thing and also dirty stuff coming out of their noses. i wiped the one kitten's eyes with a damp cloth, gently rubbing in short strokes over it to soften the crust and finally wiped it off so it could open it's eyes again - the kitten totally relaxed in my hand and started purring by the way
i already thought about taking them to the vet but i don't know if i can seperate them from the mother just yet.

so many questions... I' would really appreciate any advice whatsoever.

thanks in advance,
franny
Franny, the best thing to do in a situation like this, is to start feeding the momcat quality food both canned and dry. If quality cat food isn't available, you can feed her boiled chicken saving the broth and don't use any spices. She needs good nutritious food to nurse. Feed her at the same times every day (about 5 times a day if you can manage it) be sure she has fresh water, and feed her in the same spot without moving the location. Make sure the location is protected.

Her survival instincts are in full gear, she is outside and her primary concern is to protect her kittens. In the thicket, she knows they are safe from human predators, and hopefully safe from other predators as well.

Once she knows she can count on food on a scheduled basis, she will be bringing her kittens out to the source of the food. Once that happens, then you can sit nearby without touching any of the family, until they get used to your presence. Then, most times, they come over to you and that is when you can begin to pet them, play with them and interact with them.

Ideally, if you have a live trap, you should trap the whole family and get the mom in to be spayed. In America, this is what we would advise. I understand in your country, the thinking behind these cats is different. So this other method might work best for you. Being outside, she probably has a upper respiratory infection and she needs antibiotics to kick it. The kittens may also get this, because URI are highly contagious. That is why the queen needs good quality food and supplements (if available) to keep her immune system strong. I would even feed her kitten food if it is available.

Good luck-
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
hey there again,

thanks so far for all the advice and the friendly words. I will start feeding them some quality food tomorrow. I just can't go there five times a day, cause then I would be doing nothing else anymore, which I can't quite afford...
anyway, what confuses me is that the mom seems really relaxed at one day and comes to me and lets me pet her and the next day she takes the kittens into the thicket, I mean after I've touched them and everything while she was there purring away...
I'll try the boiled chicken, tomorrow the market nearby is on and you get that stuff incredibly cheap here. I'll also look for some can food.
I mean, the kittens have known me for two weeks now and for the last week I've been there everyday and they climbed over me, so they must have gotten accustomed to me SOMEhow, right?

anyway, I'll happily take any more advice you have to offer.

thanks again,
franny

ps: what about chicken bones? I always thought one shouldn't give those to cats cause they can choke on them...
pps: I'm actually german in case anybody wondered. moved here a little while ago.
post #8 of 13
Cooked chicken bones will splinter - so they never should be given - only the meat part. Also goes for pork and turkey bones.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
just for those who are curious, here is how it all turned out:

the last location the mom took the kittens to, was this irish guy's house or rather his yard. took me a while to find them. my first fear of course (very selfish, I know, but by then I had been checking in on a daily basis for four weeks!) was that he wanted to keep them. However, he didn't want them, having cat-allergie and having come by the cat-family like the virgin mary to her child I told him that we were going to take two of them for sure and if it would be okay if they just stayed a little longer until they were old enough to be taken away from the mom.

by week five the little black one went missing, so I got kind of itchy...I wasn't sure what had happened to him and I wasn't so sure about the guy either - so when they were six weeks old, I put a note in his letterbox saying that they would soon be strong enough to be taken from the mom and if he would give me a ring whenever it was convenient for him to have us come by and pick them up. he called shortly after and told me asap, as his kids were getting attached to them and he really couldn't and wouldn't have a cat let alone cats.
so it all went pretty quickly. as the black one was missing (we never found out what happened to it) and we wanted two and there were three left and we loved them all anyway, we took them all (how could we possibly have left one!).

now they are staying with us and they make life ever so better, funnier and richer. of course I am convinced, that my kittens are the most pretty, most intelligent and funniest kittens from at least all of phuket they were toilet trained after two days and although they were a little shy in the beginning, they have adjusted really well, are extremely cuddly and lovable and talk a lot.
I try to be as good a surrogate mom as possible, because they are really just babies. if the circumstances had been different I would have left them with the mother for longer. but although I can tell they miss their mom, especially when they wake up after a nap and can't find any fur on me, nor teats providing milk, I think they are doing pretty good. we just give them a lot of attention and cuddles and talk to them loads and apart from that they also have each other.

originally we wanted to keep two and give the third one to a friend. but now that they've stayed with us for almost a week there is no way we could ever seperate them or chose one to be taken away. lately I find it really easy to get up early in the mornings and although my boyfriend and I would usually do some couple's stuff in the evenings (watching a movie, playing a game of cards or however we decide to spend our private time together) for the last nights we ended up doing nothing but cuddling and playing with our new family members.

one question remains though...: we still haven't got a clue whether they are girls or boys which is why it has proven difficult to find appropriate names in 10 days they are old enough to be vaccinated so then we should find out but for now...? does anybody have a tip how to recognize their sex when they are that little? they all look the same to us... any advice will be gratefully taken.

take care, all of you!
one pretty proud and happy surrogate mom - franny

ps: I also think they are lucky cats... yesterday I got this incredible job offer which came completely out of the blue and is putting my life back on an amazingly promising track.
post #10 of 13
I'm glad that all three of them are happy with you. I would have a problem separtating the three of them, especially choosing which one to give away.
I can't help you with telling whether they are boys or girls. I could if I saw them, but I can' t exacly fly to Thailand to see them.
You might have to wait the ten days then.
Or, maybe you know someone there that can tell???
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks I think i figured it out. I've done some research on the internet and figured that our two girls (we thought so from their behaviour - typical girls alright! are boys and the boy is a girl. haha, I love it! now I can wreck my brains for names. looking forward to it

f
post #12 of 13
what a wonderful ending. I'm so glad that you managed to keep all three together, i would've had trouble seperating them aswell and as i always say whats one more cat!!! I guess you'll never know what happened to the little black kitten, lets hope he found a loving home aswell. Guess you'll never know now. Well done you though!!!
post #13 of 13
I'm so glad that you were able to give the three kittens a good home. So sorry the little black one disappeared.

I look forward to seeing pictures of them when you get some to post!
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