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looking for help

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I seem to have become a cat magnet. I have never considered myself a cat person but recently I've become a magnet for them. My sister took a stray home from an apartment complex after the owner moved out leaving their six month old kitten "Jaida" behind. My sister discovered the cat was pregnant and was going to return it to continue living on its own at the apartment complex I scolded her for her callousness and took the cat in on a temporary basis until I found suitable homes for mother and kittens. 10 weeks and six kittens later I was going to be in a cat free home but my husband got attatched to the last kitten so we kept her. I had her spayed at four months at which time I found out she was in heat. We love her. On the night before halloween a kitten about 3 or four months old showed up on our doorstep. Cold and very hungry I tried desperately to find her a home without any luck. I posted pictures and placed ad in local papers but she remained unclaimed. One week later a cat arrived on my doorstep. This time an older male, so sweet and loving and thin. I brought him in fed him and also tried to find him a home although not as hard because I instantly took to him. Here I am in a rented house not allowed to have any other animals but my one dog and I have three cats. Christmas hits and I have no money for spaying and neutering but think because kitten shows no signs of heat I should be able to get away with one or two months. In December Kitten escapes outside several times. January notice kitten is gaining weight, maybe age, maybe regular feedings, maybe PREGNANT... Yep Two weeks later no doubt in my mind kitten is pregnant, can feel kittens moving inside her. Eviction notice arrives. So here's the mutitude of problems I need help with. Will be Moving within next two weeks to home we Purchased. Kittens probably due any day now at latest two weeks from now. How do I handle moving cats to new location? Its only 9 houses down from where we are now. I'm afraid cats will sneak out and if so will keep returning to old house. Not to mention will mom freak with new surroundings and how should I handle things if she has not delivered by the time we move? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I had appointment for spaying kitten on 29th but looks like that will wait until kittens are gone. It just seems neverending.
post #2 of 9
First of all, you are an absolute angel for helping these cats!!!!! And I'm so sorry - but I had to laugh. We started with one stray we decided to feed last Winter. Now we have three cats that are "family" members, we've adopted out several, have one in boarding because he's too small to handle the cold and the no-kill shelters around here are full with many months-long waiting lists, we have three "kittens" (6 - 8 monhts) outside for whom we created almost heated shelters and we feed and provide them water multiple times a day, we care for a feral colony with roughly 7 (plus the three kittens), and we worked with Maine Coon Rescue to find the original stray a home - in Portland, OR (we're in New Jersey). Hubby has become an expert trapper, and we've had all but one cat that we know of around here spayed and neutered (we can't seem to trap her). So - once you start, it's kind of like you put out a neon sign, and you DO become a cat magnet!!!

How wonderful you are for caring - and spending money on these "forgotten" ones!!!!

OK. Moving. It would probably be best if Mom hasn't had the kittens by the time you move, but there is nothing you can do about that one way or another. There are people here experienced with moving - I'll see if I can track them down, because they'll have a much better idea of how to move mum if she's had the litter. If she hasn't, here's what to do:

First of all, ALL the cats will freak. As I'm sure you know by now, cats are territorial, and moving is difficult for them. If they're all getting along, the best thing to do while moving is keep them in one room with the door closed where there is little to no activity. They are going to stress out - make sure they have lots of water available and lots of toys to bat around to work out stress. Move their litterboxes in there. You can also get Pet Nutridrops - I do not know if these can be used on a pregnant cat - but they are a very safe, herbal anxiety remedy that is often used by breeders when shipping cats. I'll see if I can find the link to where these can be purchased on-line. If you don't have enough time, check your local pet store for HERBAL anxiety remedies.

You may want to consider moving the cats into one room while you are packing the current place as well.

Next, when you are ready to "move into" (i.e. will be sleeping) in the new home, move the cats in crates to prevent escape from the car. If you had one or two cats, I'd recommend putting them in a bathroom with litter, food, water, etc. for as many days as they want to stay in there. A friend just moved with two cats, and he left the bathroom door cracked after day one in there - but they stayed in there for over a week before they got to exploring the rest of the house.

The key here is to make them feel safe. A dark (with nite lite) place, with maybe a radio playing classical music to help calm them, a relatively small space - one room - and frequent checks by you or hubby. If they have their own beds, put them in there. If not - maybe consider a few empty boxes with holes cut in them - unless, like our cats, their crates are their "safe" spaces. You and/or hubby should DEFINITELY sweat up a T-shirt or sweat shirt and leave it with them for comfort.

If your cats are indoor/outdoor cats, DO NOT LET THEM OUT for several weeks, at least. Either way, make sure they are in a CLOSED room while moving is going on. Their stress at not being sure what is going on will be much less than being certain that drastic changes are taking place - and in a closed room, they can't escape.

Now - all of this works if mum hasn't made a nest in which to have the kittens. So I'll go in search of who moved to find out what advice can be given if mum has had her babies.

If you have any other questions, PLEASE ask, and while we're not on-line all the time, we'll catch up with you!!!!

Oh - one last thought, and I've never heard this from anyone other than our Vet, so I pass it along to you, too. Everyone says kittens should be spayed between 4 and 6 months. Our Vet uses this simple guideline as to actually choose when: When their first baby tooth falls out. And that is between 4 and 6 months!

Also - I don't know if you are aware of them, but there are low-cost spay/neuter programs in many places, and if not, often there are certificates available to help defray the cost of the operation(s). There is a link in my signature line to resources.

Good Luck - and we know it'll be nutty for you while moving - but if you could let us know how it goes, I'm sure there are others besides me who would love to hear!!!!!!

post #3 of 9
Laurie gives great advice.......

I can add a few things. If mom has had her kittens before you move, you will need to keep her and the kittens in a room away from the other cats. Honestly? In this situation, she would feel safer in a large cage (german shepherd size) and so would you. You can pad the cage up so they have a wonderful soft bed to lie on, you can cover it for warmth, she is going to want her kittens right by her and no one else animal or human near. I would set it up so the area she is in is contained, and the litterbox is to the back of the area with a board so the mom can hop over the barrier to use it, but the kittens won't be able to (not that they can in the early days, but they grow quickly) Leave clothing with your scent on it in the rooms where the cats are, and honestly, even if mom hasn't delivered when you move I would still put her in a separate room in case she pops while you are busy unpacking.

You are not a cat magnet, you are a cat angel! Here's the link to the nutri drops.

Oh, and i would keep the cats contained in the house for at least a month maybe longer.

Revival Animal
post #4 of 9
Thanks for posting that link, Mary Anne!

I haven't been able to find a thread talking about moving with a pregnant cat, so maybe I'm just not remembering correctly.

But Mary Anne has far more experience with cats than I do, and the advice about what to do with Mama sounds great.

Did we get all your questions? Feel free to post more!

...and Good Luck!!!!!

post #5 of 9
Hi from another magnet! You have already received excellent advice. Mother cat will be happy in a darkened area, as Laurie and Hissy told you. I can do nothing but agree with keeping cats in for at least three weeks after moving, encourage any questions you have, and to commend you for being so kind. Check the papers for the low cost spay/neuter programs. You might also get some information from the local animal rescue people. You have a good heart!
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. I have a huge cage for Mewpurr its the same one I used when Jayda was born. I just found out the closing on my house won't be until Feb. 28th so it looks like the kittens will be about three to four weeks old. I'm still trying to figure out Mewpurr's due date. From things I've read I'm guessing she'll be due the first few days of Feb. These are things that make me think any time now: I can feel the babies moving inside her, can even see them move when watching her (which I heard happens at 7 weeks gestation), her tet has the hair receeding (which I heard happens at 4 weeks gestation), she's uncomfortable, acts anxious, and searching for something unknown (which I read happens during last week of gestation) She looks like she swallowed a softball. I read that usually about two days before giving birth she will begin lactating. I keep looking at her nipples and I'm not sure but they don't seem to be very large. Don't they usually swell up? Sorry to be so graphic. Her belly is not as big as my other cat. She looked like she swallowed a cantelope but she had six kittens. I'm thinking from all indications Mewpurr only has 3 kittens at most. I have an appointment to have her spayed on the 29th maybe I'll make it a pre-natal visit instead of just canceling it. Any input as to figuring due dates would be greatly appreciated. Money is tight and these animals are all breaking me at a financially tight time. I'm trying to avoid vet fees until I'm settled in my new home. March would be fine but till then things are too tight unless its an emergency. Thanks for any pointers you can offer.
Oh, one more question. Jaspurr and Mewpurr are very close. They clean eachother, sleep near one another and often play together. Jayda is a bit of a loner. I'm a little concerned about Jaspurr invading Mewpurr's space during labor and mothering of the kittens. Is this something I should be concerned with? I'm not sure how to provide Mewpurr with privacy and freedom at the same time. I know she hates being locked in the cage so I leave the door open which would allow the other cats access to Mom and babies. Any suggestions?
post #7 of 9
When her kittens arrive, she will feel more comfortable keeping them close, so keeping her in a large cage,will not bother her much at all. Having the other cat near her will cause problems for her, so you need to keep them away from each other until the kittens eyes open at at least. For the pregnant rescues that come here, I have a small closet at the foot of the stairs that is blocked by barriers of wood and that is where the females always give birth.
post #8 of 9
Hi! All the cats showed up for us at a time when we were financially strapped. We simply explained the situation to the Vet, who then allowed us to pay off each bill over several months. Think it might be worth talking to your Vet's office to see if you can work out a similar arrangement? I think it might have been a different story if the cats were pets that we bought intentionally - but as they were feral rescues, they were very gracious.

post #9 of 9
If you have a rectal thermometer, check her temperature now. Have someone hold her, and use vaseline. It will be between 101 and 102. When it drops a degree, she will have the kittens within 24 hours. She will also cry for attention, want you with her at all times. Have her bed ready and she will start tearing it up. I gave my Siamese layers of paper to tear. She will arrange things to suit herself, and will spend more time in the box when she is close to delivery. The box should be in a warm, secluded place which is dimly lit. Mother will seek out a closet if you don't give her a place she approves.

Unlike dogs, she will not drop all the fur around her nipples. The kittens moving visibly usually happens the last week, although you can feel them move before that if you rest your hand on her tummy gently. Don't palpate the kittens in order to find out how many there are.
In case of emergency:
Have the vet's number handy.
I kept sterilized scizzors and alcohol close by in case she has the kittens one right after another, and doesn't have time to take the baby out of the sac or cut the cord. The sack should be removed only with your fingers!

I rub the kittens to get them dry and squeaking. If there's a problem clean out their mouths with a dropper, or hold them very securely with a towel and shake them down to dislodge liquid. Often this isn't necessary, but be prepared. Mother cat will eat the afterbirth and clean up every bit of evidence she can. That's fine, because it's nourishing, and it's nature's way. Have several clean towels ready to rub the kittens, if necessary, and lots of comfortable bedding for mommy and kittens when the job is done.

Sometimes there is as much as an hour between kittens. If too much more time elapses, call the vet. He'll advise you. So jot down his number.
Mother cat might need no help, but my mother cat did not want me to leave. I just gave her love and waited with her in case of an emergency. Do not allow the other cats near her. Keep her in a separate, dimly lit room. Some toms will kill the kittens, and females fear that. She'll need some "soupy" wet food when her job is done. She will not want to leave them at all the first 12 hours, so take everything to her. Be sure the kittens get used to your scent before their eyes open. You can touch them gently, and sex them (!=boy, :=girl) but don't pick them up constantly. The eyes will open in 5-7 days, and they should get to know you from the beginning. They will hiss at you as early as 2 weeks if they have never seen
or been handled by a human being.
Don't take them from mother too soon. Twelve weeks is best. A handbook will be useful from pregnancy through homing the kittens.
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