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Very, very, very unhappy cat!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have a semi-feral cat Fluffs (not very original I know but she is -). She has an eleven week old kitten that was born in our house.

Before she had the kitten we had been feeding her on and off for a year but regularly for about 3 months. It a long time to earn her trust but she came round and now really enjoys being stroked although she won't tolerate being picked up. Up until she had the kitten she didn't really spend much time in the house, just to be fed and occasionally for longer if it was cold (we live in Greece so the weather is quite kind here).

After she had the kitten she was in most of the time apart from bathroom breaks because she wouldn't use the litter tray. Then she started to disappear for up to 2 days at a time and after posting on here people said she was probably on heat and that I should keep her in. I did manage to keep her in for a week but it seems to have seriously affected her personality. She was so stressed about being kept in, she constantly cried, scratched at the door and the screens, was terribly restless pacing up and down and wouldn't let the kitten nurse. Eventually we gave in and let her out.

She comes in and out of the house now but only really to try to drag the kitten outside. She'll only eat inside if I leave the door open, she does sleep inside at night but only because I force her to. When she is inside she literally screams, she paces, she tries to drag the kitten away from us, she scratches at the doors and is generally a pain. She will relax if you stroke her but the minute you stop she starts up again. When she is outside she is constantly crying outside the door. She seems like she wants to come in but actually she is trying to insist that we give her kitten to her so she can take him away.

We had her spayed 3 weeks ago and I was hoping that this might calm her down (she was pregnant again) but once she recovered from the operation she was back to being the same again.

I just don't know what to do and my husband is getting really fed up with it. I know he is getting to the point where he wants both her and the kitten gone.
post #2 of 12
I know this sounds terribly mean, but you need to separate the kitten from her mama. Some cats, especially feral, will never be the indoor kitty all the time. You can turn the kitten into one though. By separating them it will give the kitten a chance to be more independant and mama will eventually quit stressing over the "power struggle" The kitten should be old enough soon to get spayed herself and vaccinated. Do spay the kitten, if you spay her before she has her first heat, there are 7 known cancers that she won't ever get. Once the mama knows she can come and go she will stop screaming all the time. As she gets older you might find that she will stay inside more and more. Also, if you haven't done so already, get mama vaccinated. Feline lukemia can be deadly and mama can bring it into the house and infect her baby. Cats can be very stubborn, but also very loving when they learn their boundaries.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I honestly would like to separate them but I don't think I can. We live in a small one storey house and there is nowhere I can put the kitten where the mother can't see him from outside. Also he starts to cry when he hears her and also tries to rip the screens to get out. I'm afraid it's not an option to keep the windows closed because we live in a country with a very hot climate. My husband is getting quite annoyed about how the cat's are affecting his life already so I don't think he will put up with no open windows when it's over 30 degrees C (86F) at night. The mother very rarely leaves our garden and I can't keep her inside.

It's such a shame because the mother was such a lovely, sweet cat before all this started and my husband was quite happy to have her around (I'm a cat lover - he's not). I know that she is much better off since we had her spayed and even if we can't keep her I would always feed her even if it's outside. I will try to get her vaccinated but I'm afraid that money is very tight for us at the moment and we can't afford it after just having had her spayed. Also my husband was in favour of the spaying because we guessed that she was pregnant again and he didn't want her having more kittens on our house but he's not prepared to spend more money than necessary at the moment.

Do you think she will stop screaming in time? So far this behaviour has been going on for about 6 weeks.

The kitten is male and the vet said that she won't neuter him before he is 6 months old. I have read that in some countries they will do it much earlier but I'm not sure about here, Veterinary care is not very advanced here but I am prepared to take him to another vet and lie about his age if necessary.
post #4 of 12
I found a feral pregnant cat (Easy in my siggy and the rest of the cats are her kittens) Very soon after she gave birth, she was going crazy to go outside, I had her spayed early (her babys were still nursing and around 8 weeks old)

She was getting extremely nervous and howling to go out. You have to be willing to give this several weeks, but what I did was very consistently doing this every single time. I have string toys very near and as soon as she started howling, I woud start playing with her, with the string toys, completely distracting her and doing this every time she hinted to go outside.

It didnt take long at all, maybe a few months at the most, but she stopped asking to go out. During that time, the frequency she screamed to go out lessoned, too.

She has now been inside for over 5 years now, so has her kittens. She has not even asked to go outside in 4+ years.

It seems like it would be difficult, but try to distract her and see how easy it is to distract a cat and just keep doing it making inside life appeal to her more.
post #5 of 12
I understand about the money thing. Spent hundreds over the last two years on kittens. She might and should calm down since she's been spayed. I do know one thing, they do not scream forever (just seems like it). She may be whinning because there are tom cats close by and other females in heat. Do try and get the kitten fixed when the vet allows it, mature tom cats can and will try and kill any younger male in their territory. In the US they have spay/neuter programs that will pay for 1/2 and sometime all of the price, do you have an ASPCA or shelter type there? They might have something similar. Also, they have low cost vaccine programs here, sometime given by pet store chains sometimes by shelter organizations. Check with your vet or local pet store. Make sure to spend lots of social time with the kitten so he will remain tame, males are usually cuddlier so he will probably take to it well. Wouldn't be a bit surprised if you hubby becomes his human. lol Doesn't matter how much time I spend with the kittens, doing all the work, they LOVE my hubby. (he's a dog person). I think they do it to annoy him or they are trying to convert him.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry i don't want to offend anyone and I know that most of you from the US would disagree with this but I do not want to make her an inside cat. I am european and have always had inside/outside cats. The 2 we had when I was growing up both lived to 17 years old and the 2 cats I had when I was in my 20's lived to similar ages. Life is dangerous whether your a cat or a human, I wouldn't live my whole life inside just because I thought I might live longer.

When she does come inside and gets anxious or is outside screaming I do try to distract her but as soon as I stop petting her (she like many ferals is not really interested in playing) she starts up again. I would have to pet her 24/7 to make any difference - although she would like that ;-)
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Kat88947 - I know what you mean about loving hubby more - I clean out the litter tray twice a day, feed them, I am at home all day so I spend lots of time playing with the kitten and petting both of them but they still seem to prefer my husband.
post #8 of 12
I have a cat that spends more time outside than inside, it has always been his preference. My neighbor inherited some ferals next door and he thinks it is his job to protect the mamas and their babies over there. She also has a full blooded timber wolf that thinks all the cats are her babies. I live in northern Nevada and in a small rural area, we have more than our share of predators. My oldest girl and my youngest four have become indoor kitties for this reason. While the wolf next door keeps the coyotes from coming in the neighborhood, we still have hawks and snakes that pose a threat. The biggest threat seems to be the housing boom that has brought in many families that think cats are pests and poison them or worse (believe me it can be worse). I lost a wonderful cat to poison because he trusted everyone and was too social. That is why I sway towards keeping cats indoors. I wish it was still safe to let cats come and go, for my one that still does it, I worry about him. Your mama and her baby sound like they are content and that is what is important.
On the other note, I think they like my hubby best because he bottles milk for a living, talk about comfort smells to a cat.
post #9 of 12
Many of our members are from countries that do not believe that you must always keep cats inside. I have begun letting mine out some and they are much happier, so no one is going to flame you for doing what your culture believes in. In most places it is safer to keep them in, but some places pose very little danger to cats outside. I live in an area like that, but if I were to move, I would reevaluate the situation and if it was dangerous for them, they would stay in. They are mostly supervised, but have shown no interest in leaving the yard.
I hope you can figure out a way to make both of them happy soon, my SO was the one that finally insisted that mine go out a little, and they are much happier.
post #10 of 12
I reread your posts a couple times and I'm still a little bit confused. What do you want the outcome to be? To have the kitten become an indoor cat? To allow the kitten in and out without being adversely affected by his mom's feral traits?

I've been dealing with feral cats for many years now and will say that every one of them has their own personality. There are no guarantees that an indoor former feral will be any more affectionate than one that goes in and out. Mom cats imprint themselves mostly in the first 2-3 months. If you can continue to work with the kitten for a little bit longer without mom taking him away from you, things will work out on their own. Most mom cats tire of their young within the first few months anyway.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
The kitten will be an indoor/outdoor cat if that's what he wants. We do live in a relatively safe rural area without any busy roads so it's about as safe as it can be.

I guess what I was really looking for was some advice on how to deal with the mother or some reassurance that she will eventually give up on her kitten. I'm mainly afraid that if the mother doesn't calm down soon my husband will insist that I get rid of both of them.

What age do feral kittens normally leave their mothers (or vice versa) in the wild?
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by wanderer View Post
What age do feral kittens normally leave their mothers (or vice versa) in the wild?
It's not so much that the kittens leave the mother, it's that mothers get tired of their duties and leave them. And the timeframe will vary by cat.

I had feral moms show up with their kittens at about 8 weeks old, drop them on my doorstep and leave (I acquired 4 of my cats that way). I've seen other feral moms remain close to their daughters for life. Feral colonies in a natural setting are normally mostly females (they bond to care for their young), or all males (driven out at sexual maturity and they form their own pride). These rules start to break when they are all spayed/neutered.

Your mom cat will eventually get tired of her male son, but it is really hard to tell when that will be. Could be next week, could be months from now.
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