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Outside kittens are now inside kittens

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A little about me - I like cats a lot and have had cats before but currently don't have one - although that may be changing.

The mother is a stray calico that I have fed all winter. She became pregnant in Feb. (when she was still too wild to catch and neuter). She had the kittens outside and moved them around several times (including into a neighbors attic via climbing a tree!). She remained affectionate to me though and still came here to eat. I started leaving the door open hoping to encourage her to come inside and look around which she eventually started doing. I prepared a closet and left food and water there and every time she came to eat she came inside and made the rounds. Sure enough, at just about exactly 6 weeks she brought 4 kittens to the house one by one and led them right to the closet. So mother and kittens have a small room and closet to themselves. The mom goes outside several times a day so I have a 26 inch high barrier blocking the door to the cat room so she can jump over but the kittens can't - yet.

I want to get the kittens used to people and to find homes for them. I've been picking them up and cuddling them once or twice every day with some success - they only hiss at me sometimes now and they don't run into the closet anymore when I come in to the room.

The immediate problem is this. The mother sometimes sits outside the barrier and calls them in an attempt to get them to jump over. I figure she is giving them a 'training lesson' so I haven't been interfering but they will be over the barrier any time now. When they do, should I just go ahead and let them into the rest of the house or should I put them back in the 'cat' room with a higher barrier blocking the door? They are 7 1/2 weeks old now and are good at using the litter box - but if they are exploring in the far end of the house I wonder if they will go all the way back to use it? Judging by the amount of litter that I take out of the box every day they are peeing very regularly!

Thanks so much and I hope this wasn't too long,
Bill Moon

I'll put some pictures here but I can't figure out how to do it yet. If the picture is in my computer how do I get a url for it?
post #2 of 11
The best way to get a url for your pictures is to upload them to a free site like once uploaded there you can resize them then put them on here...To do that you use the URL that has IMG in front of it copy the whole url into your reply box and that will post the picture on this site.

The kittens may not go back to the litter box once they start exploring the house especially being so young the best thing to do is to confine them to one room. Also mom could already be pregnant again...Most vets will not spay mom until 8 weeks after birth. It would be best if you can keep mom inside only until she is spayed.
post #3 of 11
You've done everything right so far But my concern with mom is her calling the kittens. Does she try to get outside? If so, you don't want her to call the kittens and start trying to take them back outside. If she is content to stay inside (and you get her spayed now) then I don't see any reason for the kittens to not explore the rest of the house.

But you may want to put a few other pans around till the kittens know they can get there in time. How many are you planning on keeping from the litter?
post #4 of 11
Welcome to TheCatSite.
I sent a private message (PM) to you about how to post your photos.
I will look forward to seeing your sweetie pie's pictures.

Members are giving you some excellent feedback...
be sure to keep us updated.
Make yourself at home.
post #5 of 11
Hello & welcome to tcs. I wish you well with looking after the kittens.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the replies. I will try to cover all the comments that were made. First of all, I raised the height of the barrier to the cat room so that should hold them in a while longer before they are allowed to explore the rest of the house. I called the vet about spaying and I was told that I could do it any time from here on out so I will try to schedule it next week.

Regarding the concern for mom's calling the kittens, she might indeed have it in her mind to try to take them back outside but that won't happen as I have to open the door to let her out. Although she is becoming more affectionate, she still has some of her wild instincts. She has brought several dead gophers in for the kittens to play with. I let them have it for an hour or so and then throw it out. (Fleas don't seem to be a problem around here.)

Regarding whether the mom wants to go outside, she does indeed go out several times a day - for longer and longer periods lately. I actually have been relieved as these are the times when I can go in and handle the kittens in my effort to get them to forget their 'wild upbringing'. Your point is well taken that this might give the mom a chance to get pregnant again before I can get her to the vet but she has been an outdoor cat for 100% of the time until a week and a half ago and I just don't see how I can keep her in all the time against her will. I guess I just have to hope for the best - the vet did say that if she were pregnant when she comes in for spaying they could take care of that at the same time.

I haven't actually picked up a kitten in the presence of the mom yet but I want to try this soon. When I'm in the 'nursery' in her presence, they will actually come up and lick my feet but when I go in when she is not there I get some hisses (not kisses!) - although they settle down somewhat once they are picked up and petted. The neighbor lady across the street came over for a kitten petting session today and I do think that hearing a female voice made a difference to the kittens.

So right now, that is the main challenge - to get them comfortable around people. Any tips along that line would definitely be appreciated.

There are 4 kittens but I could not get them all in the same photo so here are two photos. I will try to get some more uploaded tomorrow.

post #7 of 11
Originally Posted by moonb View Post
The neighbor lady across the street came over for a kitten petting session today and I do think that hearing a female voice made a difference to the kittens.
awww! calico Mama has a tortie daughter!
they do seem to prefer higher voices... maybe try talking in a falsetto?
post #8 of 11
Oh my goodness those babies and Mom are just beautiful

As long as Mom will handle it well, keep petting and holding the kittens. This is a very important stage in their socialization. Do it as often as you possibly can. Do it in front of Mom, too, she obviously trusts you or she would not have brought her baby's from outside in with you.

The cat in my signature named Easy was found pregnant feral and the rest of the cats are her 4 babys that I kept
post #9 of 11
The main reason mom is trying to be outside and staying out longer, is she may be in heat and will mate again. So so your best to keep her in as much as you can. Even if she is pregnant by the time you get her spayed next week, its better to do it anyway then to let her have another litter on top of the one she has.

Cats can mate within weeks of giving birth!

I love the little cream and white one
post #10 of 11
very very cute!
post #11 of 11

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