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3 Week Old Kittens Being Moved

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
We took in a stray, and 3 weeks later she gave birth to NINE KITTENS. I'll tell the full story at the end of this post, but URGENTLY...here is our situation, and we need advice:

The kittens are THREE WEEKS old, they've lived since birth in a cardboard box in a dark closet in our small office with soft towels, etc. with the mom (Katie McKitty) (like a VERY SMALL bedroom) and for some reason, Katie has all of a sudden decided to move some of the nine kittens to another room inside a sock drawer of an armoire.

It is not practical for anyone for this to occur, so we've put the kittens back into the box, and she keeps trying to take them out and put them back in the drawer.

I am in New York, and my partner is in PA in the home with the kittens, and she is freaking out trying to figure out what to do because she will be gone for a couple of days. I told her to put the litter box in the office (away from the food, I know..), close the door to the office, thus, the kittens (and Katie) will stay in the room, but Katie keeps scratching at the door.

So I told her to go back inside the room and put some tin-foil on the door to hopefully discourage her from scratching at the door.

ANY ADVICE????

LONG STORY:
We are professional musicians. I have an apartment in New York City, and my partner has a home in East Stroudsburg, PA. She is there on the weekends, usually (sometimes not, if we go on tour). SEVEN YEARS ago when she first bought the house, there was a cat that would show up on our front porch with no collar, and after me putting a collar on him with a note saying "who owns this SWEET kitty?? please call..." no one called, the collar fell off, and eventually we found out that the house on the other side of the rock wall/small woods area of our backyard were the "owners" and wouldn't let him live inside the house because he peed one time (and he was declawed on his front paws ). SO whenever we were in town, he would come over, and he became our "FRED."

SEVEN years later: we came home after being gone for two weeks in late May, he didn't show up when we called him (he ALWAYS would come over, whether rain or snow). We searched for several days, put up signs, called the owner (who said she just figured he was with us, which he wasn't, so we were very worried...she NEVER even bothered to go look for him...). After four days, my partner found him in the small woods area between our homes, dead...probably killed by a coyote. And he had no front claws to defend himself.

Forget about the massive guilt...my partner called me, hysterical, I got in the car and drove out there (80 miles), and by the time I got there, she had dug a grave in the backyard where he would jump over the rock wall from his "owners' home" and had buried him.

FOUR DAYS later, 8:00pm: we're sitting on the couch, crying, and my partner says she wishes this particular stray kitty we'd seen before would come by and visit because we were so sad.

FIVE MINUTES LATER she shows up, PREGNANT as all can be, and I said, "She's coming in, and we're not letting her out. We're NOT going through this again..We'll figure it out later."

THREE WEEKS later, she gives birth to NINE KITTENS.

I found a no-kill shelter in NJ that would take her (with a $200 donation) but then she fell in love with Katie and the kittens, so that is on hold while we find homes for the kittens.

Now go back to the BEGINNING of this post!! THANKS FOR READING!!!!
post #2 of 18
From my experience with mommy cats, I'd let her move them to wherever she chooses too. All the cats I had that decided to move their kitties were determined, & no matter what we did to stop them, they kept going.

I would just let her move them (keep an eye on her to see where she goes), & she will be happy. She probably doesn't feel comfortable where she is, either she feels it's too small, or she feels threatened by something.

Best of luck you two & the felines.
post #3 of 18
Oh that is one of the saddest and happiest kitty stories so far, you couple of softies. Wow 9 kittens that daddy cat sure packs a punch!

Why don't you put your kittens in the sock drawer of the armoire and your socks in the box that the kittens were in that way everyone's happy!

Best of luck with all the new Kittys.
post #4 of 18
Since she was a stray and also had that many kittens, I'm SURE she was bred by more then one male! So the kittens could have 3-4 different fathers. Are all nine still living?

She probably needs more space and more room. Do you have any friends that may have a very large dog crate that everyone can fit in. The kittens will soon be exploring and you'll have to give them more space.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of you responses. All nine have survived! We can't let her move them into the sock drawer, so we have just been keeping the office door closed when we're not here, and she's fine. The office is definitely large enough...MUCH bigger than a big dog crate. The box the kittens are in is very large, too, so it wasn't a "lack of space" issue. Something must have spooked her.

Now that they're 3 1/2 weeks old, I guess it's time to give them the kitten formula? I read to put it in a saucer (50:50 water/milk) and after a few days put wet food in it as well. Does that sound right? How often should they be fed?
post #6 of 18
if they dont seem to need the kitten milk replacer then i wouldnt give it. i normally leave the kitten food out for mum as normal but add a small amount of water to her dry food just in case. and they go to the food when they are ready.
post #7 of 18
Hi there!
First off - congrats on your babies!
As has already been said, mom's probably moving them due to being uncomfortable where she is. Does she have plenty of privacy? A nice secluded space where she feels secure? Maybe the box is just to "open" for her. I find that most all of our rescue cats that give birth move the babies to a closet - pretty much all the time. We keep them in separate rooms in various foster homes, but the place of choice seems to be a nice dark closet with the door almost all the way shut. She probably just feels threatened by something and she will continue to search for a spot to move them too.
As for the milk replacement, again as has already been said, it's not necessary if they are all nursing ok, but with that said, this is a fairly good size litter and we sometimes put down milk replacement at the rescue for litters this size, not because of the babies, but because it really really does a number on mom as the kittens get older. Depending on her size, you might need to do this. Just keep an eye on her. A little milk replacement shouldn't hurt, but it can give the kittens diarreah, so you'll have to keep a close eye on them if you do. In the meantime, keep down plenty of food for mom and maybe the babies will pick this up soon and give mom a little break.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
The box is in the closet, but maybe too many people went in there to "oogle," so we're not letting anyone do that anymore right now, and she hasn't tried to move them since that day I wrote about.

We cut an opening in the box for the mom cat to go in and out, hence the food and water are outside of the box. The entrance is high enough that the kittens can't leave the box. Should I cut the entrance lower so they can climb out? I wasn't sure if it was time to have them roaming around the office, but if they need to have access to Katie's food, then maybe I should?

A woman at a shelter told me I should feed the mom baby food in addition to the kitten food (Beechnut Chicken/Beef/Turkey and Gravy). We've been doing it, and she LOVES it! Is it ok if the kittens "taste" it?

There are some smaller kittens, but I see them all nursing, so not sure if I should put the milk replacement in the box?

Thank you!!
post #9 of 18
I would give them some kind of access to the food. They're about 3 weeks you said right? They will start to nibble soon and should have the same access as mom. Mom and kittens should be eating the same foods - kitten wet food and kitten dry food. I usually give mine a schmorgash board (spelling?). They'll eat the baby food, the kitten canned food, and I"ve also (just to entice them) have mixed a tiny bit of milk replacement with kitten dry food to soften it. You can't leave this type of mixture out for long though because of the milk replacement, but it helps get them use to the dry food, then over time I slowly swap it to a tiny bit of water to keep it soft, then back the water off. I also leave down a bowl of just dry kitten food as well for both mom and kittens all day and they will begin munching on this as well. They might start looking for food as early as the next week or so. I've had kittens start eating at around 4 wks of age and some not until they are 6-7 wks. Just be a little careful of the baby food. Make sure it's the stage 1 food and it's 100% chicken. Also watch for diarreah. I've had some small problems with diarreah in kittens with this food, so I try not to give them a lot of it.
I wouldn't worry too much about them wandering around a small room as long as there are no dangers. They are quite good about finding their way back and mom will move them back if she feels the need to. I've also had mom just flop down on the ground in the middle of the room wherever the babies are and just nurse them there.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
THANK YOU for the wonderful advice! They're all out of the box now, roaming around the office, climbing over my legs...SO CUTE! One was even licking my toes! They're 3 1/2 weeks old now.

When do they start using the litter box? We made one for them out of a cardboard box that's much lower than Katie's, but I haven't put any litter in it yet.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamiDNYC View Post
THANK YOU for the wonderful advice! They're all out of the box now, roaming around the office, climbing over my legs...SO CUTE! One was even licking my toes! They're 3 1/2 weeks old now.

When do they start using the litter box? We made one for them out of a cardboard box that's much lower than Katie's, but I haven't put any litter in it yet.
They actually should start using the litter box very soon as well. Make sure it's nice and low. They do have kitten ones, or the box should work (just might get messy after a while). Go ahead and add some litter to it. Mom will teach them how to use it. I usually have 2 boxes - one for the babies and one for mom. They will also use moms box too. Just make sure you DO NOT use any kind of clumping litter! Kittens tend to experiment and eat the litter a bit at first. Just like any baby, they're unsure what it is and put pretty much anything in their mouths. Clumping litter will turn basically to concrete in their tiny stomachs and in some cases can result in death. Just use a decent litter that does NOT clump in both boxes.
Just be patient with them too. They are babies and babies attention span is just like that of a human baby or toddler. If the litter box is too far away or not within site, they might just do their doody where they are. You probably will have a few accidents. Just make sure you clean them up right away and if possible, put the accident into the box so they can smell it there. Also, if they are in a room with a rug....you might have a messy rug as well. Again - they're babies. I try to keep mine in a room with linoleum only so the litter is more inviting. If this isn't possible, I've even bought scraps of linoleum at Home Depot for like $5-$10 and just roll it out over the rug trying to cover as much of the rug as possible. They might be fine, but I've had a few "lazy" litters that just got preoccupied with playing and the rug was obviously more inviting then their litter box.
You will also see them "ambushing" each other in the litter box (as I call it). Sometimes one of them scratching around in there is an instant pull for the others to see what it's playing with. I try to discourage this by removing the other kittens if one is going and one is obviously playing or ambushing the poor baby going to the bathroom. It's not important to do, but I still stick my hands in where they don't belong to discourage it.
You also might want to get a small scratching post now too because they will be learning that soon as well and you want them to learn to use the proper tools.
Also, try to handle them as much as possible. There is such a huge difference in litters that are handled frequently while growing up and those that are not. We currently have 2 litters that are virtually unadoptable because everyone that comes to hold one, the kitten freaks out on them. Their foster homes never really held them. They were afraid too when they were so young. I handle mine as much as I can. Touching every part of them - feet, belly, tails, just petting. I also like to craddle mine on their backs in my palms. Cat's don't really like to be on their backs, but the babies sometimes don't mind and what a difference in handling it makes come adoption time. You can pretty much do anything you want with them and they are comfortable which is important to potential families.
(sorry this is so long. Just trying to help you out a bit! )
Good luck with them!
Enjoy the scampering. They are soooooo cute when they are little like this!!!
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Karen,

Thank you SO MUCh for taking the time to write such informative information. I really appreciate it!

The litter box I made for the kittens is about 12" x 30", and I made the front entrance (lengthwise) very low. I put non-clumping litter in it. Katie's litter box has clumping litter, but it's a very high box, impossible for the kittens to enter...do I still need to switch her litter to non-clumping?

I have to go back to New York, and my partner, Sherrie, will be back Friday night. In the meantime, we will have a friend coming over twice a day to feed Katie, clean the litterbox, and I told her to sit on the floor and play as much as she can with all of the kittens.

I've been doing that, and I'm doing my best to pick them all up, pet them, etc. They're very rarely awake all at the same time, so I go in SEVERAL times a day. It is SOOOO hot here right now (East Stroudsburg, PA), so it's just a big sweat box in there (no A/C), so I don't stay in there for too, too long.

FOOD - we're giving Katie 2 jars of Beechnut Chicken/Turkey/Beef and Broth (stage 1) plus 2 cans of Iams Kitten food, and we have a bowl of dry food that's actually been out for a long time. Is that enough food for her each day? I haven't seen the kittens try to eat her food yet.
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Thank you!!
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamiDNYC View Post
Karen,

Thank you SO MUCh for taking the time to write such informative information. I really appreciate it!

The litter box I made for the kittens is about 12" x 30", and I made the front entrance (lengthwise) very low. I put non-clumping litter in it. Katie's litter box has clumping litter, but it's a very high box, impossible for the kittens to enter...do I still need to switch her litter to non-clumping?

I have to go back to New York, and my partner, Sherrie, will be back Friday night. In the meantime, we will have a friend coming over twice a day to feed Katie, clean the litterbox, and I told her to sit on the floor and play as much as she can with all of the kittens.

I've been doing that, and I'm doing my best to pick them all up, pet them, etc. They're very rarely awake all at the same time, so I go in SEVERAL times a day. It is SOOOO hot here right now (East Stroudsburg, PA), so it's just a big sweat box in there (no A/C), so I don't stay in there for too, too long.

FOOD - we're giving Katie 2 jars of Beechnut Chicken/Turkey/Beef and Broth (stage 1) plus 2 cans of Iams Kitten food, and we have a bowl of dry food that's actually been out for a long time. Is that enough food for her each day? I haven't seen the kittens try to eat her food yet.
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Thank you!!
Yes, I would switch the clumping litter in moms to non- clumping. I had my father make an enclosure for my kittens that was 18 inches high and they still all managed to get out, so at this age it may be safe, but very shortly it won't be. They're active climbing little buggers.

Sounds like what you've got down for food is just fine. The babies will start to experiment on their own. Once you notice them eating with mom though you will need to up the portions probably since you've got so many babies.

Good luck to you and your babies! Let me know if you need anything else!
I'm about to go pick up my next foster litter - a litter of 5 "cowkitties". They all look like little cows.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
OK, it's FRIDAY now, and she hasn't had a bowel movement since Monday. How is that possible? Do we need to take her to the vet? We'd have to find one that's open on Saturdays since we're not there until tomorrow. Please advise!!
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Never mind. It turns out she was going in a plant on the other side of the house.

I had noticed that her kittens liked to sleep next to the litter box, so I suppose it's possible she didn't want to "do her business" there? So we moved the box into another room (where it used to be). The kittens' box is still in the office, so how will they learn to use it now that Katie's box isn't in there? Or am I just being stupid, and they will learn by instinct?
post #16 of 18
You're getting great advice! I don't have much to add except instead of a cardboard litter box (nothing wrong with that, except what happens when cardboard gets wet...or when kittens decide it's a toy) you may want to think about using a low sided casserole dish for the kitten's litter. Not use one of your own, but see if you can pick one up at a yard sale for $0.50 or a buck. Their not disposible like a box, but are sturdier.

Wow...9 kittens. I can't even imagine! You both are angels for taking her in. And, I'm sorry about Fred. At least you were highlights in his life.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamiDNYC View Post
Never mind. It turns out she was going in a plant on the other side of the house.

I had noticed that her kittens liked to sleep next to the litter box, so I suppose it's possible she didn't want to "do her business" there? So we moved the box into another room (where it used to be). The kittens' box is still in the office, so how will they learn to use it now that Katie's box isn't in there? Or am I just being stupid, and they will learn by instinct?
They will learn, but my advice would be to try to keep them together or what's might happen is mom will start using the kittens box if it's closer or maybe the kittens will be following her to the other box in the other room. Is there anyway you can move the litter boxes close to the plant she was going in? Or remove the plant and put the litter boxes there instead? You're right, she probably doesn't want to do her business near her babies. They will learn though, it is instinct and teachings. Mom just might use theirs as well.

As for what calico2222 said, they're right and that was the point I was kinda tryin to make too - it's eventually going to get wet and not very easy to deal with. Another option you can use is those disposable aluminum baking pans they sell in the grocery stores. I usually buy the 13x9 and they come as a set of two for only a few dollars. Sides are only about an 1" or 2" high and just put enough litter to cover the bottom. As I said though, if mom starts using theirs (like I've had mom's do when I foster), you could have some very big "things" in a very small container.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
For the litter box, my partner had a brilliant idea...she bought one of those long plastic containers - the kind you would put stuff in and store under your bed...and we threw away the lid, cut off one of the sides except for a little bit of a lip so they can just walk into it. PERFECT for NINE kittens!! We're using World's Best, and we're not having any problems except an occasional "stray poo." Genius!

They're 5 1/2 weeks old now and taking over the office! It's so cute hearing their scampering while I'm working at my desk.

I posted some new questions today. http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=136555
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