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Unhappy mother cat

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

About 3 and a half weeks ago a stray cat set herself up under our spare room bed with five kittens that looked a couple of days old. She chose our place as we have two cats of our own and she had been coming in through the cat flap and eating their food, we believe. The mother looks very young, definitely under a year old.

We tried a couple of shelters but they had no space, then decided we would look after them until they were ready for rehoming and possibly keep the mother. We just didn't have any other options that we thought were good enough for them - didn't really like the idea of them spending their first weeks in a cage getting impersonal care.

We kept them all shut in the spare room to stop the mother getting outside and to keep her separate from our two adult cats. They have been to the vet as they all had cat flu when they arrived, which we treated them for and they appear to have recovered from. The vet is now happy with their health and says we are doing everything right by keeping them in the spare room with a comfortable bed under a table, no passing traffic, plenty of food and water and a litter tray at a reasonable distance. We go in every couple of hours (when we're not at work) to check on them and spend a bit of time giving the mother attention and, in the last week, handling the kittens a bit as they've become interested in us.

The 3 to 4-week-old kittens are doing great, running around and exploring and even starting to try some of mum's dry food (she has of course been eating only kitten food). The mother, however, has started going crazy in the last few days. She cries most of the time and batters against the spare room door trying to get out. Once or twice a day when our cats are safely out in the garden we let her out to stretch her legs around the house (as she seems so desperate to) and she wanders around still crying and has tried to move the kittens into the living room. We can't let her do that as our cats use that area. Nothing seems to make her happy now. We can't spay her until the kittens are weaned in a few weeks. I'm worried for her, the kittens and our cats as they hear the noise she makes and get stressed out themselves. It seems like for some reason she wants to move them out that room but the room is perfect and quiet and there is nowhere else they could go! Not in our house, anyway. And she was fine until a few days ago.

Does anybody have any advice? We would be so grateful as we want them all to be healthy and happy and would like also to get a full night's sleep!

Thank you!
post #2 of 12
There's a good chance that she's coming into season again even if she's nursing. You can't explain to her that she has to stay in there. I'd just try and keep her company and give as much attention as you can. But keep everyone together in the room.
post #3 of 12
It does sound like she is going into heat again. Whatever you do you cannot let her outside, she will mate again and will get pregnant and it is too soon after her first litter, it will not be safe for her at all.

I feel for you, I really do, my rescued mother cat did that too when her babies were 2 weeks old, so we had her spayed when her kittens were 8 weeks old because the stress was just too much for her to deal with.

Much luck to you.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies, I feared that she was coming into heat but thought surely not while she's still nursing!

I guess we can just hope they wean in the next couple of weeks and we can get her booked in. Poor thing, she's so young herself and she's done really well with her babies, she is still feeding and washing them.

Thanks again!
post #5 of 12
I would agree about her being in heat, either that or for some reason she doesn't like the room anymore. I can pm you a list of shelters in SCotland if you like, in case there are some you didn't know about?
post #6 of 12
The room may simply be too small a space for mom and all the kittens. Does she have any place she can climb to get away from the babies? My little stray (also under a year old) is a very good mother but seems to need more and more time away from the kittens as they get older. They're 6 weeks old now and very active.

It never occurred to me to keep the stray kitty separated from my other two, so she has the run of the house. She especially likes being able to climb up the cat tree. The babies can't quite manage that yet.
post #7 of 12
Wow- I think it's so wonderful that you'd do that for a stray. There are hardly any stray cats around here, but when I do see them my heart goes out to them. Poor things.

I agree with other people- it sounds like she's going into heat. My aunts breed Siamese and their breeding queen often goes into heat while she's still nursing. It could also be that she just can't stand her babies, and needs some down time. XD They are so tiring when they've started to explore, aren't they?

Do you have any pics?
post #8 of 12
I totally agree with everyone else. She sounds like she is going into heat, and possibly needs a break from her kittens more often. It sounds like you have a bed in that room though, that she can jump on? She might just be a social little thing too, and wants to be around you guys. She did pick YOU to help her take care of her babies.

We took in a stray that a co-worker of my husband's dumped on their job site. Her kittens are like yours, 3 weeks old now. Like your momma, ours is VERY young. Come to find out, she was turned out on her first heat because the owner was ANNOYED with her crying. She was 6 months old. She had a litter of 6, then went into heat again while nursing. The owner turned her out AGAIN, and she got pregnant AGAIN. He dumped while she was pregnant, when the last 3 kittens wouldn't "use the litter box". We found a home for the 3 kittens and brought momma into our home. She is less than 9 months old and just had her second litter, 7 beautiful kittens. Her name is Mia, and I have lots of pics posted if you want to see.

She does the same thing, she's in a large closet and is tearing up the carpet and banging on the door to get our attention. lol I told hubby, we need to put the bed on the floor and let everyone into the bedroom soon, it's getting too small in there! She does NOT get along with our other two, so we have to be careful when we let her out into the general population. She is never alone with them.

Keep loving her! That is the best thing for her. Enjoy the kittens and around 8 week old, you can spay mom. Bless your heart for taking in this momma. My heart is with you!
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everyone who has replied.

She is in a double bedroom, same size as ours, I'm sure it's big enough for them. And she can get onto the sofa bed and the windowsill to get a break from the kittens.

I've been leaving them in the dark more since last night (there is still some light from the garden) in case the light was too bright, and paying her extra attention and she seems a bit calmer. She's only rattled the door a few times today! We don't like the thought of sending them to the shelter now, we've really bonded with them all and want to see the kittens into their permanent homes ourselves.

Fingers crossed she stays a bit more chilled out like she is just now!

The pictures we have are a bit dark (had to turn the flash off for the kittens' eyes!) but I just put a video here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq2DOFsJqMs

They are incredibly cute!

post #10 of 12
Oh wow what an adorable pile of kittens. I LOVE their markings.
post #11 of 12
They are cute - love the one that has the half black/half white back leg You shouldn't have to worry about the lights now - they are big enough to not be affected by the flash.

When taking newborn pictures, I put a tissue over the flash if their faces are towards the camera.
post #12 of 12
I was actually thinking that a rescue may be able to help you out with finding homes, as they know what to screen for, and also, have people ringing up - we constantly have people wanting kittens, but dont always have them in, so in times like that would be able to screen and then pass onto someone else.
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