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Help with lost pregnant feral cat!

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Long story short. We recently trapped a mama cat about 10 days ago who was very pregnant then. I brought her into my home to try to domesticate prior to delivering. She was doing well, I could pick her up, carry her, and pet her. She looked like she was becoming more comfortable. Well...today she scratched through the screen and jumped out the window. We found her in a pile of wood, tried to get her and she took off.. Now she is in an area she does not know, far from where we rescued her. She is hungry, has no food source, and is very wild and very pregnant. We have called for her all day and contacted neighbors and looked under decks. Now it is night and dark, and still no sign of her. We put out her blankets near my home and one near a set trap, with her food bowls. What else can we do? My first fear is we won't find her-she could be anywhere. My next fear is she will have the babies and we won't know where they are either? My third fear is she is starving and has no water. She drank alot of water here so I know she needs it. Has this happened to anyone here? What else can we do? She doesn't know the area at all, the roads are dangerous, and there are alot of dogs around. She had it made here, so I don't understand why she had to jump out of the window after being here 10 days and appearing to be more comfortable. Any thoughts, similar experiences, or advice PLEASE respond. I don't know what to do and I am terrified for her and very guilty that I did not watch her more carefully with the window open. She would sit there basically good. And I have domesticated other ferals and none tried to jump out the window...But this mama went for it...
post #2 of 30
Other people have had that happen. I believe it was Belongs to Evie who was fostering a feral mother who did the same thing. Only she left her kittens.

Set a trap with her favorite foods. I believe she will come back. Ferals love their own territories and will die trying to get back to it. She is scared and hiding but she will come back. Keep leaving food out for her.

I sometimes think the call of the wild is too much for them to resist and they run away for no good reason except that it is still in their nature.
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
Day #2: No sign of Mama cat at all. Have had the trap set all night and day and she is no where to be seen. Have no idea where she is. Am feeling pretty despairing at this point. It does not look good. Even if she had the babies, she has no food source. She is not safe. This area is not good. Have food out, the trap, and her blankets with her sent. I feel absolutely terrible about this. What else can I do?? Thanks!
post #4 of 30
Yup, that was me! You totally have my sympathy, it can happen. I was completely panicked when our feral mom escaped, as CC12 said, she left her 3 week old kittens! Which isn't good, but I sure hope your mom doesn't have her kittens out there!!

How do you have the trap set? I did everything I could possibly find to catch our girl. I set a regular trap with her favorite, really stinky food. I also put KFC in it. Then I put blankets over the wires (under the food) that smelled like her, and some of her used litter. Like CC12 said, they want their teritory. Even it smells like her, she will be more comfortable (so I assume anyway, and it worked!).

No matter what, please keep her food and water out near where she got out! Food that she can get to not in the trap. If she is trap shy, she still needs access to food and water. If you haven't done that already start NOW. Just put the yummier stuff and more in the trap. Like you said, she has no food. She will wander to find something and her territory. If you give her both- food and something with her scent- she is likely to hang around long enough for you to get a trap and catch her.

Please don't give up on her!! They usually hang close by if there is food, water and shelter. Even if you don't see her and / or it takes a few days, there is still hope!

It is so great you are trying to help her and her kittens. Thank you for what you are doing!!

If you want to see what I went through:


Good luck! Please keep us updated!
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response BelongstoEvie! It helps to hear someone with a very similar situation. That was the case in the room too-I normally kept the window low. Mama cat looked content, one night she was even sleeping at the window while I was in there, so I figured she was doing okay. So yesterday morning I went in there quick, opened the window to air things out, and let her out to have a minute in the window. Walked out of the room and went back in, she was gone. I ran outside and saw her near below the window. She ran and hid-the first time we found her. The next time she ran, no sign since (now 36 hours later). Trust me, I will NEVER leave a window open with her if I can get her back. We went to the screen place today and replaced it immediately with the cat screen material. I do have a trap out, with her blankets, and her food bowls. Have can food in the trap (figuring she loved having her can every day) but will try tuna tomorrow morning maybe. She has food out of the trap and in the trap. As for now, it feels like she is nowhere nearby. There is no sign of her. And as time passes the horrible feeling of her gone only gets worse. But it is good to hear that you were able to get your mama back. So I am HOPING somehow she will surface. Only problem, if we manage to see her, and she has had the babies, that will be a whole other issue. Please, everyone, continue to send the Good vibes, because it is gonna take a miracle!! Thanks again BelongstoEvie for sharing your story, letting me know the task is possible and that someone has been through it before.
post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Am at about 40 hours. Still feels like she is nowhere near. Is it common to see NO sign of her at all? Could she still be near?
post #7 of 30
Originally Posted by nowonder View Post
Am at about 40 hours. Still feels like she is nowhere near. Is it common to see NO sign of her at all? Could she still be near?
Yes. They usually do not go very far. Don't give up hope.
post #8 of 30
If it's possible, what I would do is put out food and water near where she escaped - AND where you originally trapped her just in case she tries to make it back to where she was (there are some amazing stories of cats traveling back to their own territories).

I don't know that I'd leave the food in the trap at first. She may be afraid of it, and she needs the food. Maybe have the trap there, but not right next to the food. See if you can get her coming for the food, then worry about the trap. In fact - maybe don't put the trap out. Put food and water out. If she comes back to eat the food or drink the water, maybe once you're sure she's coming, use a drop trap.

I am SO sorry! I know how much heartache this is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

she hasn't gone far, and comes back for food!

post #9 of 30
Have you tried looking for her after dark? Maybe take a flashlight and look for her eyes. There easy to spot! How about puttng up lost signs with your phone # on it. Even if someone spots her and she runs, you'll at least know the area she's hanging in.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Still have not found her. No sign of her anywhere. Trouble with neighbors-no one wants to help and are annoyed we are looking for her-a couple have been pretty nasty. So even if she found her way into someone's yard-there are alot of people who are unwilling to cooperate. It is now dark out. I have a small light on my fence with some food, water, and tuna to see if she will surface for the night. I removed the trap last night. She probably has had her babies, so trapping her won't be beneficial at this point until we can locate the babies as well. It has now been about 78 hours since even spotting her. Each day it feels more despairing, but I had spent months and months and months gaining her trust, so I am HOPING she will surface still...I guess I need a lot of patience and to keep hoping for the best.
post #11 of 30
Oh no! I was so hoping this would be a good-news update.

The time we lost our mommy, she was found in 48 hours, but the groups I'm with, others have lost them and re-caught them in 2 weeks, 5 weeks, and 6. So don't give up! Hope your neighbors come around...

post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Well, have been watching still for the last 5 hours or so. Nothing. It really feels like she is not near. I keep thinking that maybe she will appear, but the other side of me feels like I won't see her ever again. Again, just waiting for a miracle. In the meantime, doing everything else I can hoping that somehow this situation will turn around for the better.
post #13 of 30

Just keep putting the food and water out, and we'll keep up the vibes.

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Please do continue the good vibes. Day #6 and no sign of her. Searching everywhere and watching all night. Still feels like she absolutely has disappeared. I feel very depressed and despaired about her missing. Each day I feel worse and worse as the time passes...
post #15 of 30
I am thinking of you and praying for you also. I have a similar situation. I have been caring for a feral too. I found her wandering around my yard one afternoon, realized she had just had a litter of kittens so I took a plate of food to her. She gobbled it up, I fed her some more and realized she did not belong to anyone in my neighborhood. I started to call some neighbors and found out that one of them found 2 kittens in her woodpile. Sadly she took the kittens a shelter where they were euthanized. I was so sick at the thought of this cat looking for her kittens. A few nights later my daughter heard crying on our porch, the mom and 1 kitten were there. We could not catch either so we put food on the porch for the mom. I then put a shelter on my porch for her, the porch is covered and gated so I know that my dogs or other larger animals can't get to the food. For about a month she would come and eat about 3 or 4 times a day, then down to 2, early morning and early evening. I want to trap her but I am not sure where the kitten is hidden. Now I leave food and water out for her but she comes somewhere between midnight and dawn. I can honestly say that I am not even sure it is her, but I hope so. I would love to take care of her, have her spayed, but without a trap, I am not sure I will ever even see her. The plates are empty every morning, but no sign of her or her kitten. I may just stay on the porch all night long, but I don't want to scare her off from her only food source. Maybe when the weather changes she may realize it may be smart for her to stick around. I can only imagine the worry you feel for your cat. I will be thinking of you and her and hope she returns.
post #16 of 30
Iam betting that she had her kittens somewhere, and that after they are a little older she will start to venture back out and you will see her. Ferals are usually hidden during the day, and active at night-probably why you haven't seen her too. Just have comfort knowing that she is indead feral and knows how to take care of herself, she's done it before. I have faith that you will see her again in about a week or two. Just keep setting out fresh food for her. You may already realize this but if you do see her, and she has had her kittens, do NOT set the trap until you have located the kittens. If you see her and she hasn't had her kittens go ahead and set the trap, but check it frequently. If you don't see her don't set the trap, you could trap her and her kittens would be without milk for however long she is in the trap, annnd you probably won't find her kittens.

Good Luck!

***You might try sprinkling cat nip all around your yard, it has a sort of calming effect to cats, she might come to it. Another good trick is to get tuna in water and heat it up enough that you can smell it, but not enough to burn kitty and set it out at night-the smell will travel farther with it warmed up (works best on a windy night). When my cat got out I warmed up tuna until is was burning hot and set it out(the smell travels farther the hotter it is)-BUT I watched the whole time to see my cat come up to the plate and snatched him up before he ate it (was too hot, gave his some that was not hot when we got in the house as a treat)
post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 
KRZ thank you for the thoughts and prayers, we still need it. I have been where you are as far as trying to spot a feral cat and then trying to find a way to catch them. All along I used a cat carry case with a string and caught any cats I couldn't just grab with it. However, once I started using the trap, I found it is soo much easier. And especially, for the cats that are difficult to find or see. I would say your best bet is to get a trap and try to catch the mother and baby. Is the baby old enough now that if you happened to catch the mother first that, just in case it takes a couple days longer, he could be okay on his own? It is best if you can catch the baby first, though you won't be able to guarantee that. One option is set the trap, if you catch the mother first, place her in a carry case or keep her in the trap (if she is not able to be moved or handled and is too scared), and then set a second trap directly in front of the mother, so that the baby will have to go into the trap to get to the mother. And then you would have both. Take it one step at a time. Be patient. And say alot of prayers that you can catch both mother and baby! It is possible, that when it is colder out the cats will come more often for food, but if it can be avoided and you are willing to take them in, it is best to get them sooner than later. One of the last groups I caught was a mother and three babies that were dumped. Each day another baby came out and went right into the trap. On the last day, the mother and baby came out simultaneously and walked in the trap, literally, together. I would never ever think I could trap both together, but miraculously they went in together perfectly...So anything is possible when trapping these ferals and strays!! Good luck to you too!!
post #18 of 30
With Lucia I observed her for awhile first to make sure she only had 4 kittens. When I put food out the kittens would come too. They were hungry. The more I left them alone. The more they came and the closer they came. I was only able to catch two and I had to grab her because she was pregnant and I didn't want another litter born outside left to the elements. I had to risk two to save 11.
Keep leaving food and water out. Leave wet food out. She will come back and most likely bring her babies along after a few weeks.

post #19 of 30
Thanks nowonder, for the great advice. I am not sure where the kitten is or even if the kitten is with her. No one in the neighborhood has seen her but every morning the plate on my front porch is empty. It is left neatly so I know that it is not a raccoon and nothing large could fit under the gates. There are not many cat lovers in this neighborhood so I rarely see any cats that are pets. I think she was in the process of moving her kittens when another neighbor and her dogs found 2 of them. I will continue to put food and water out every night and I keep dry food out during the day just in case she comes along. I saw her on the porch eating but the kitten was no where to be seen so I didn't approach her, I did not want to scare her from a food source and I was worried about the kitten being left stranded. I am at the point of just staying on the porch one night to make sure that it is her and if it is I would gladly trap them and take them in. It is so heartbreaking to see so many homeless cats and kittens. I will also keep praying your mommy feral cat comes home--with a litter of new kitties!!
post #20 of 30
Thread Starter 
I am going to THANK EVERYONE here for the positive vibes, thoughts, and prayers!! No one would believe this story. This has been a horrible week waiting for mama to come around. As you know we had done everything to try to get her to surface so by yesterday and today the feeling of despair and hopelessness was increasing more and more. So, we were driving home from the usual rounds to feed the feral cats and on the way back out of no where I see a cat go across the street. Now I am thinking, probably not her but am always hoping. So I look, and IT IS HER! So now I am thinking well okay is she pregnant or not? And now what do I do? So she goes into the yard with a vacant house and sits there. I'm calling to her and trying to see if she first recognizes me, especially since it was dark. I get out the carry case open a can and pour some dry food in a bowl like usual. I set the case out, and she's just sitting there in the corner of the yard not budging. I won't approach her, I could tell she would take off if I did. So, I was with my mother, and she watched the cat while I went home to grab the trap and some string for the carry case. In the meantime, the owner across the street let out his large great dane, and I am thinking he is going to let him go after the cat. We made some noise to make it obvious that we were looking for an animal and he retreated. I took out the food from the case and made like I was putting it down again, but this time in the trap. Set the trap. (When initially caught, I got her in the carry case so she did not know what the trap was). She went to the trap, looked around and in a few minutes went in. Ok. So now we caught her. Now what? Couldn't tell if she was pregnant or not. But could tell if we let her go, we wouldn't see her again. So we called a rescue lady, and we decided take her home, check her, and search around for any babies. So we took her home (about 4 houses away). I checked her. Still pregnant!!! Now we aren't a 100% sure she didn't have any, but somehow she is as round in her belly as she was 6 days ago. She did however, lose alot of weight-I first noticed her tail bone was bony and then saw her back bone was sticking out. So even with all the food we put out, she never went to it. I let her walk around the room for a few minutes (ALL WINDOWS SHUT AND LOCKED!!!!) and then she sat under a chair and began grooming. I gave her a few minutes, and then picked her up and put her back into her crate, with food and water. As soon as we stepped back, she went for the can and finished it up. We went back to the area and looked and listened for any babies. Don't see anything-and will go back again to check. In the meantime, somehow miraculously we got mama back and she appears to be in the same pregnant state as when she left. If this is the case, I could not have asked for anything more at all!!!! As I am writing this, I just went back again with my brother and a dog to check for any possible babies - still nothing appears to be there. Anyway, Mama cat is now in the crate, relaxing. We will see if she will soon give birth. This whole story seems impossible, and it has been a horrible week searching for her. From my perspective, there is no way she could still have been pregnant, but it seems so. I am thinking that between her being so hungry, and that when she heard our truck coming down the road, she got startled. She knew the sound of our truck everytime we went to feed her. So I think between her hearing the sound and us coming down the road at the exact time she was crossing, would have been the only way we would ever find her. Everything was set up-and the fact that she went into the trap was a good thing also. I think we are just in shock that she is here. After all of that-she is BACK!! And, she didn't forget me! My mother noticed how mama cat was watching and looking at me-so I think she is grateful to some extent that I have helped her all along and she remembers. I am so happy and grateful for everyone here, all of the support and feedback! And I am beyond grateful that I have Mama cat here again!! Now will just watch and hopefully she will have safely and comfortably have her babies. And trust me, I am NOT leaving her around any open windows!!!!! I am glad I can remedy the mistake I made from my own negligence of leaving her unattended. I will learn to not be so trusting of comfortable-looking ferals and not multi-task when watching them! Thank you so much everyone!! To me this ending is unbelievable-in a very good way!!
post #21 of 30
I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR MOMMA CAT!!! I also bet by now she may just realize how nice life is with you, safety, warmth, and food. It is also so nice to know how much you care for her and her kittens. Best of luck!!
post #22 of 30
Yeah!!! I just read whole thread & when I saw that you had found her I was almost in tears!! Keep us updated on her progress & pics of kitties when they arrive.
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
Just an update at this point. She appears to still be as pregnant as she was, if not more. It is hard to tell because she really did lose a lot of weight over the 6 days. She must not have found any food. We are wondering if she wasn't just hiding for the whole time, too scared to even move. She is now in her crate, relaxing. I opened up the crate to move her dishes and she was smelling for the open window. Even as weak as she is from not eating and as pregnant as she is, she still would try to leave if she could. I have other cats and kittens in the room seperate, from her so I wanted to try to leave the windows up even a little for them. But I don't trust mama-even in her crate. I ended up buying two small locks to make sure the crate stays shut tight and that there is no way for her to even move the latch. (I do have another cat that does know how to open latches so at this point I wouldn't put anything past mama.) I feel like she could get through the crate itself at this point I think I will just leave the windows low, and when I am in there watching I will open them for the others. But the moment she is out, no windows for her for now. The big thing now is just waiting for her to have her babies. She is panting a bit and her body looks like it may be contracting, so I would think it should be soon. Am just hoping everything on her is okay internally and that the babies will be able to come out okay without complications after all of the stress her body has gone through. Will just continue to give her her food and help her gain back some weight. It is a miracle that she is here at home and that her belly is still full. And it is such a relief to not have to go out and look at all the places she "could" be or "might" be and know that she is safe again, even more so, before the holiday weekend! Again, everyone thank you. I think this was a group effort-we would never have gotten her back without the prayers and vibes from everyone! The way things turned out with this situation surpassed anything I could imagine. Thank you!!!!
post #24 of 30

I am so thrilled that you caught her!!! I was worried about Mama.
TCS vibes have worked miracles before.

I hope you stay around to let us know how she is doing. You can even ask questions or share on the Pregnant and kitten section. I hang out there a lot as do others with Mamas and babies.
post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 
We will probably be naming Mama cat more officially "Rebecca." Today she had her babies! So, we are now sure she did not have any babies outside. We trapped her on Wednesday night, she had Thursday to rest and try to restore from her week of being outside starving, and then today she had them. We were starting to worry because she was still getting bigger and since she hadn't had them when she escaped, we started to worry she might have needed a c-section. But she was okay. When everyone was out of the room for a few hours, and I checked in I saw them. She had 5 babies, and they are just like their older brother and sister that we caught in early July. So now, hopefully, mama cat will now have had her final litter. And all the worries of last week are now over and everything did work out, despite how bad it looked a week ago. These babies are acting a bit advanced already. They aren't really staying in one place-they seem to pretty mobile-one baby was climbing all over mama, you wouldn't think they are only a few hours old. Mama is very protective of the babies, however, when I let her out of the crate and she sat at the (closed) window, she was still looking for an escape. I can try to add some pictures here of them. If this will work, I will post two pictures of mama and her two babies from her previous litter. And then when I can get a picture of the newborns I will add that also.

Mama sitting at the slightly open window prior to her escape:

Bipper (Billy) took 2 days to domesticate, was very feral initially, but is now very good and sweet:

Sissy (Beatrice) still a bit wild, very fiesty, likes to hissy, spit, and growl (learned well from her mama), is very scared but is learning to begin to trust people:

post #26 of 30

WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so glad she's back and had her kittens in safety! I am just beaming this morning. What a relief!

....and what gorgeous pictures of all of them! Momma is really beautiful!

I am just so happy for all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #27 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I am soo glad also, especially that she did not have the babies out there and that she is in for this holiday weekend. Thought I wouldn't even see her ever again, so am very grateful things worked out. Also, this morning Mama had one more baby. So now there are six!! She's being a very good mother. Very protective. I wanted to let her out for a few minutes for a break while I gave her food and everything, but she just wanted to eat. She has her spot to sit at, and then in the litter box with newspaper, are all of her babies. Now we just pray that they will all be healthy and okay. But she is doing well right now.
post #28 of 30
She'll probably just want to be near her kittens for the next few weeks. Some moms get really protective - others don't. You'll just have to see how it plays out.

post #29 of 30
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
She'll probably just want to be near her kittens for the next few weeks. Some moms get really protective - others don't. You'll just have to see how it plays out.

I agree. She is not spayed yet so that could also contribute a little to her desire to get out. The great thing is that these babies will be socialized from the start and ready for a furever home. Catching her before she gave birth is wonderful!
post #30 of 30
Oh congratulations!!! I am so glad to hear you caught her again!! What a happy thing to come back to! This is the first thread I checked.

Aw, and you caught her before she gave birth and everything! I am SO happy!! It's those TCS vibes, I tell you, it's the only way I caught ours when she escaped! Congratulations again!

PS- in payment for all those vibes that helped you catch her, you know we expect a lot of pictures and updates. (Of course, you may have already, off to go check the rest of the forums now! )
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