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In a Sticky Situation

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hello, long time lurker, first time poster (hence just making the Screen name).

I've been thinking about getting a furry friend for awhile, as I see them everyday wandering about my apartment complex. As far as I know, these cats have "owners", but are outdoor cats. Anyhow, my car has been letting grass grow under it for about a week now, with a transmission fluid leak. The driver's side window is also permanently down.

Today I went to take the care to Autozone, but noticed a kitty riding shotgun (cats have been known to visit every once and awhile). After shoo-ing the kitty out of the car, I noticed 5 little, squeaking furballs lying where Momma cat just was. Unfortunately one didn't survive the previous night.

I then looked up and down the complex for the new mommy, but couldn't find her. Being in Phoenix, and knowing it was well over 90F at 11am, I scooped em up, and put them in a box with a towel on the bottom in the hope that they don't get baked out in the car. I then went on a quest to Wal-Mart, where I got four newborn bottles, and an 8oz tub of 'Hartz' Milk replacement for kittens (Powdered),as that's all they had.

After getting back, I boiled the bottles, and prepared the formula as the instructions described, and attempted to feed the little guys. After holding them for awhile, and stroking their backs for awhile, three of the four took to drinking about 10ml each. The fourth was in a continual "I got to get away!", and not wanting to cause harm by stressing him, I left him for awhile. Three hours after, I tried again, and got everyone to drink about another 10 ml (Which seems like nothing).

Between feedings, I called the AZ Humane society, and other No-Kill Shelters. According to them, Cats are "Free-roaming" animals in Maricopa county, and therefore they won't come and collect them. They recommended that I put them in a box with a blanket, and set it by a tree for momma to find. This wasn't an option in my eyes, as the area is plagued by toddlers and little kids. I can see them going "OOooh Kitty!" *shake* *shake*. I then decided i'd do whatever is necessary to keep the little guys alive and happy.

Do you guys recommend I try keeping them on my porch (like a first story balcony), just in case she comes looking for them, or go gung-ho and take full parental duties? I've done quite a bit of reading up, but any tips would be helpful for someone who hasn't raised kittens by hand.

I imagine they are no more than a day or two old. Here is a picture.
post #2 of 22
Well, I don't have much advice to offer, but can tell you that they are so beautiful and you saved them. You may want to watch for the next couple of days to see if the mother is around and looking for them, and then possibly take her in as well.

Susan
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've seen the cat around several times before, and she always runs away. I don't approach her, but when we make eye contact,she bolts. Infact, the longest she's stayed around was this morning with her young.

Any tips on gaining trust with her, when I see her again? The toddlers/kids around here chase the cats with sticks, which is probably why she isn't keen on confrontation. Maybe it's time to wear the kevlar "Kitty-Proof" suit, and gently 'Snag' her?
post #4 of 22
Ok, taking care of newborn kittens is VERY hard, and sometimes even with our best efforts things do not go well.

I would suggest leaving them on your front porch and seeing if mom cat comes looking for them. But you might want to try trapping her then bringing her in kittens in. Or keep an eye out for her returning. She might decide your porch is a good place and not leave. She cant carry all the kittens at once...

However, you said your car was leaking tranny fluid. It is well known that antifreeze is toxic to cats, and tranny fluid can make cats sick as well... I hope the mom cat is still around.

If the mom doesnt come back... it is possible to raise these babies, but it is a round the clock duty. Literally. You will need to set your alarm to feed these babies every couple hours. If you work, you will need to come home to feed them, or bring them with you, or find someone willing to take over a feeding or two.

I assume you read up on the care a little, as you referred to wiping their butts or abdomen to induce potty-time.

Number one thing - KEEP THEM WARM

never feed a cold kitten.

I'm guessing that's not a problem in Arizona this time of year, but I also dont know how it gets at night.

I think you're better off if you can find the mom... but I also think they would be better off if you took them in (with their mom)

Hope any of that makes sense... it's getting late here and I am heading for bed soon

Good luck and please keep us posted! B\\Love the pictures by-the-way! We love pictures here!!!
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
My goal was to have her set up shop on my porch area. It gets down to about 70 at night, and close to 95 in the shade during the day. How are the odds of her staying with the kittens, or taking them with her, if she is taken to them, then left alone?

As for feeding and such, I'm prepared to do the feeding/other necessities every 2-3 hours.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eowomyr View Post
I've seen the cat around several times before, and she always runs away. I don't approach her, but when we make eye contact,she bolts. Infact, the longest she's stayed around was this morning with her young.

Any tips on gaining trust with her, when I see her again? The toddlers/kids around here chase the cats with sticks, which is probably why she isn't keen on confrontation. Maybe it's time to wear the kevlar "Kitty-Proof" suit, and gently 'Snag' her?
Perhaps one of those shelters you called (or a vet even) will have a trap they will lend you? Usually food is placed in the trap and when the mom cat enters she steps on a lever that releases the door. But in this case, the kittens would be the bait!

You could always do the box/stick on a string thing... but you have to watch the box constantly... and you have to figure out how to get the mom out of the box after you've scared her half to death

I think if you see the mom, you definitely would be better off catching her if you can. She may not like it at first, but they will definitely be better off in the long run!

I mean, thank goodness the kittens were in your back seat and not under your hood!
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eowomyr View Post
My goal was to have her set up shop on my porch area. It gets down to about 70 at night, and close to 95 in the shade during the day. How are the odds of her staying with the kittens, or taking them with her, if she is taken to them, then left alone?

As for feeding and such, I'm prepared to do the feeding/other necessities every 2-3 hours.
I would think the odds of her leaving them on your porch are slim. Even if you are feeding her. Especially with the activity you explain.

Even a mom cat that is in a house confined to a single bedroom will move her kittens if she feels threatened.

I imagine your porch is open and you cant close her in. If you leave them on the porch, you are likely to go out there in the morning to an empty box, or to a box with only one kitten if she is still in the middle of moving them...

About 3 years ago, my neighbor found a single kitten in their garage. They gave it to a lady down the street who left it on the porch. She reported that a mom cat was visiting it and taking care of it, but then stopped. I was in the hospital with my son at this time, and my brother was taking care of my house. He left my basement window open and my cat (who I adopted pregnant from the pound) who had a litter of 6 week old kittens, went out and STOLE the kitten. Imagine my surprise when I came home that night to find this tiny tiny kitten!

It turned out the kitten was sick and she had abandoned it in the garage on purpose, then decided to take care of it when she seen in on the porch, but then abandoned it again. After my cat brought it home... my cat eventually abandoned it too and try as I may... the little thing didnt make it past 3 days.

Long story - confusing - weird... but just wanted to give you an idea.

But you never know. If you dont have any other options, your porch is better than someone's car, and taking a chance is better than nothing especially since there is no shelter in your area willing to help.

You never know - and kudos to you for trying to help at all and not giving up already!!!
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well there is a high wall on one of the sides (Other three go up to ceiling). The kittens seem to be taking to the bottle alot easier than before. I'm pretty sure I saw momma snooping around in the bushes awhile back, but i only saw the tail end as she ran away. I'll set some food/water out there, with a towel the kittens have been on. Hopefully the other cats don't scare her away.

Looks like it's the first of many all-nighters.

Thanks,
Eowomyr

[Edit: Well, everyone made it through the night, and I found momma back in the car this morning. I tried to back away unnoticed, but it wouldn't be so easy. I was able to follow her, and from across the parking lot, did the whole "Come 'ere", and pat on the leg. For whatever reason, she walked right on over, and let me pet her. The attempt to carry her to her babies about ten minutes later was unfruitful. I got her to the porch, but I think the cacti spooked her before I could bring out the babies (Didn't have time before, given the pursuit and all). I do know where she's most likely going to hang out for awhile, and with any luck should be able to pair them up.

Seems she isn't fond of being held, even held close to the body in a supportive, un-constraining position (as-in if she blew a gasket, and flipped out, she'd be able to jump right down.). I've got a good feeling that she knows i'm trying to help, as she was purring alot, and stopped wagging her tail when I crouched and held out my hand (Wagging tail tends to mean 'I'm about to pounce!", right?). seems cats are much smarter than I thought, even newborn kittens.]
post #9 of 22
I noticed in one of your previous posts that you said something about making eye contact with the momma. You probably already know this, but that is considered by cats to be aggressive and unfriendly. If you do make eye contact, blink slowly at her, as this is a friendly gesture. It sounds like you are doing a great job and a huge effort in helping these babies and in trying to reunite the little family. It is a wonderful thing you are doing.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
That's a helpful tidbit of info. I figured so long as I don't approach them, and try to stay semi-low (crouching), all should be good. But now thinking more into it, that's also how i'd get a dog to trust me (Now realizing how they are almost the polar opposite of each other).

Thanks for the tip,
Eowomyr
post #11 of 22
If you managed to pick her up once, you can almost certainly catch her. Though I can't promise it will be easy. If you have a pet crate of some sort, the way I eventually snagged Ms Friskers was to lure her over with promises of food and love, and then grab her HARD on her scruff. I also tossed a blanket over her, while I was holding her, to keep her from slashing me up too much with her ridiculously sharp claws. Tip the crate up on its end, so gravity will be working against any escape attempts, and then gently drop kitty in and shut the door VERY FAST.

She will probably really hate you for doing this, at least for a little while, but Ms Friskers forgave me in about 10 minutes, when she realized I had brought her into a safe, warm place with food and a snuggly box for her and the kittens she was pregnant with.

I had tried just carrying her inside, and she would never have any of it. I don't think she *really* wanted any of the being shoved in the crate, but she had less choice in the matter.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, I've discovered most of the 'community' cats' lairs. Momma cat is still walking up to me, but gets spooked before I can pet her (Usually me crouched there, holding out my hand in a hopefully non-threatening manner. I am fairly confident I will get her with her kittens tonight, hopefully.

Here's a quick question. Of the four, two eat every time I offer, One about every other time, and the last is still in the "I Gots To Get Away!" mode, and man oh man can these little guy travel. S/He has eaten every few times, and everyone is urinating on command. Should I be worried about the Stingy one? He doesn't seem smaller than the others, he's just got lots of fight in him (More the reason to get momma).
post #13 of 22
Just FYI - be prepared for momma to reject the kittens.

It's important to get the stingy kitten to eat at least a little something each feeding. Check out this website for more info:

www.kitten-rescue.com
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
I somehow got momma to follow me, and then gave her a bowl of kitty food. After luring her to the door, and keeping the others wanting free food at bay, I was able to pick her up and carry her to a spare bathroom with the box-o-kitties. I gave her the food again, and some water, and tried to calm her down. About thirty minutes after trying to get her to notice the babies, she started bathing them (mainly licking their little bottoms). A few minutes after that she climbed into the box, and I slipped out.

Does this behavior seem common for a situation like this? I don't want to disturb them, to check for nursing (she jumps up when I crack the door). She's been in the box for over an hour with her kittens, and everyone is still alive and kicking. I read that momma cat could benefit from the Kitten Formula, is this true? How should I check to see if the kittens are nursing, as momma jumps up? This is going to sound a bit odd, but should the light be off,and replaced with a night-lite? No Night-lite? Keep Light on?

Thanks for you help so far, this has been an odd experience,
Eowomyr

[Edit: She's on night-lite mode. I went in to fetch my shoes, and waited for her to get back in the box. Looked to me like she was scooting them close/under her. I was trying to put some shirts under the door, so I can release the roommate's dog. Cats are one of my new favorite animals (Oh boy are they smart.). She's now pulling guard duty by the door (Dog hasn't gone near, and the door is blocked off so no way they can interact.). I know this isn't the best set-up with the dog, but I feel it's better than setting them outside (They'd probably not make it too long, or wind up back in the car.).

Momma cat is very friendly, although she is quite upset at being stuck indoors for now (But she does seem to be caring for babies.)]
post #15 of 22
You DO have a litter box in there for her, right? Others are more expert, but I would give her kitten food (more calories, etc.) and plenty of water to drink in a non-tippable bowl.

Put a sweaty T-shirt with your smell in the room or even in the box with the kittens, so she can get used to your smell.

And keep the dog as far away as possible. If she hears him out there, she may panic and try to escape or hide the kittens.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
You DO have a litter box in there for her, right? Others are more expert, but I would give her kitten food (more calories, etc.) and plenty of water to drink in a non-tippable bowl.

Put a sweaty T-shirt with your smell in the room or even in the box with the kittens, so she can get used to your smell.

And keep the dog as far away as possible. If she hears him out there, she may panic and try to escape or hide the kittens.
i agree completely w/every part of this post! exactly my thoughts!
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yep, she's got a litter box. She has plenty of water, and regular cat food (Can't exactly make it to the store with much haste, with the car K.O.ed. I am under the impression the kitten formula can't hurt, so i'll get some of that in there for her too. The dog doesn't know momma cat is still in the apartment, as she hasn't been near the door (it's blocked off, trying to secure the kitties as much as possible.).

Sadly, I'm going to have to move her to a walk in closet, as the person who's bathroom she is in will be getting home within a few days hopefully (she's in the hospital, and is disabled.) Seeing as this momma cat is in the only handicap friendly bathroom, hopefully I can find a appropriate spot for her.
post #18 of 22
Everyone has given such wonderful advice, and it sounds as if you've done everything you possibly can.

I really don't have any advice to offer myself, but just wanted to say that you're doing a wonderful thing by giving momma cat & her babies a safe place to live. Kudos to you!

~KK~
post #19 of 22
YAY! I'm so glad you caught her and got her inside!

It sounds like you're doing the best you can -- like you said, having the dog around is hardly ideal, but it's definitely better than being outdoors!

I've been giving Ms Friskers kitten formula, which our vet said is good and will help her with milk production. I also figure, honestly, she's nursing the little tykes, she deserves a treat! She really enjoys it, that's for sure.

And the walk-in closet is probably just fine, if it's about the same size as mine, there's PLENTY of space. Mommy will want to come out and such, but it's really best to have the babies as confined as humanly possible... for their safety and your sanity.

Oh good luck! This is such a happy little story.
post #20 of 22
Good luck with them! Are you going to get momma cat spayed? I am raising 2 litters of kittens in the house with 3 dogs so it can be done you just have to be very careful especially when they are tiny like that.
post #21 of 22
Yay! I'm glad you lured the mom in!

I actually think the walk-in closet might help relax mom. As your room will act as an extra barrier from the dog. Just a word of caution though, you will want to make sure she cant jump up on any shelves. She might try to move the kittens and if she gets them up there, you can imagine the outcome.

Anyway, good luck with these guys and congratulations! You're doing a great job!
post #22 of 22
Those babies are so cute!
Good job getting the mom! Hope everything goes well.
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