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Foster cat dilemma

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, so here's the story.

We have two resident cats in the house.

The resident cats are:
  • brother and sister,
  • spayed/neutered,
  • generally passive,
  • and get along with other cats as long as they are not aggressive.
A little while ago we took in a mother/son combination for fostering until they become adoptable by the SPCA.

The mom is:
  • a little over a year old,
  • NOT spayed,
  • and currently in heat.
The son is:
  • somewhere around 9 weeks old,
  • eating solid food,
  • and overall healthy.
After keeping them separated for awhile we've tried to introduce them a few times, but with generally poor results, especially with the mom. She has been at times aggressive, and has tried to genuinely attack/swat our resident cats. Our cats have become fearful of her and will hide under the bed if they see her. What with her being a mom and in heat, we've become resigned to the fact that we will have to keep her separated in another room. Every so often we will lock our cats in the bedroom, open the mom's door, and let her loose just so she isn't cooped up 24/7. Does that sound reasonable?

The baby son is a different story. In general our cats just ignore or avoid the baby as he romps around the house (and vice versa). We've heard a few hisses here and there, but nothing major. My question is, would it be better to:
  • Keep the baby with the mother in the other room, letting him out only when the mom gets lets out.
  • Keep only the mother separated, letting the baby roam the house with our cats as long as there are no problems.
Thanks for any help.
post #2 of 13
What age does your rescue adopt kittens out? I Tend to keep mums and kittens in a separate room at all times, and mums are generally only allowed loose once they have been spayed and babies have been rehomed. Things might be a lot better between the mum cat and your cats once she has been spayed.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I don't think the shelter has any hard rules regarding age, but they do wait until the kitten has been spayed/neutered. For that to happen, they wait until it has reached a certain size and weight. The little kitten we have is kind of a runt, so it's taking a little while longer for it to reach the necessary size.

Truthfully, they are almost ready to go back I would think. The baby is getting bigger, and is eating solid food now so the mom no longer nurses. I was just looking for some general advice for any future cats and kittens we may foster.

Thanks!
post #4 of 13
You are doing what I would be doing.

The first sounds reasonable to me.

Keep only the mother separated, letting the baby roam the house with our cats as long as there are no problems - this seems the best option right now.

Is Mom feral? You didn't mention anything, so I assume not. And I agree that Mom will be better-tempered after spaying. Make that a priority.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PintaMeez View Post
Is Mom feral? You didn't mention anything, so I assume not.
We assume not as well, though I guess we can't know for sure. She's extremely good around people, and the rest of her behavior is very normal, so we suspect she was previously owned by someone and she got out.

Also, I should probably mention that she came in after being sprayed by a skunk. She has been bathed a couple times since then, but once in awhile we can still catch a tiny whiff of that scent. I imagine that's not helping the situation with the other cats. If we can smell even a tiny hint of it, the cats can probably notice it right away.
post #6 of 13
Its possible its the smell. When one of my guys got out of the house (they are all strictly indoor cats) I got him back in but some of my other cats were hissing and spitting at him. They also spit and hiss and swat when one of them come home from the Vets office.
post #7 of 13
I had the same situation and did the same thing you are doing. So thumbs up from me.
post #8 of 13
The kitten probably doesn't threaten your cats like the mom does. I had that happen - mom sent waves of hisses throughout my house, yet her kitten was groomed and played with like a family member. I ended up doing what you're doing - keep mom separate and let the kitten get used to the other cats.

And - mom may feel more comfortable staying in her own "territory," anyway.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmarcello View Post
Also, I should probably mention that she came in after being sprayed by a skunk. She has been bathed a couple times since then, but once in awhile we can still catch a tiny whiff of that scent. I imagine that's not helping the situation with the other cats. If we can smell even a tiny hint of it, the cats can probably notice it right away.
Ah, yes... I would bathe her again a few times to be certain you get that smell off her fur. That is probably causing alot of fear aggression in your household right now. I'm sure you could ask around at the local pet stores & see if they can offer you a skunk-bath of some kind ... alot of animals get sprayed by skunks, there must be some type of product out there that would be safe for use ON cats (which lick their own fur and will ingest some of it).
post #10 of 13
the de-stunking recipes i found online all had dish soap, baking soda & hydrogen peroxide... not sure if i'd want to use that combo, altho the dish soap + baking soda would be ok.
post #11 of 13
Tomato juice is supposed to neutralize skunk smell in people. Wonder if it would work for a cat?
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
Tomato juice is supposed to neutralize skunk smell in people. Wonder if it would work for a cat?
She's been bathed in tomato juice twice (once at the shelter and once by us). I've been told that you're only suppose to bathe a cat so often, so she hasn't gotten one in awhile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ondine View Post
The kitten probably doesn't threaten your cats like the mom does. I had that happen - mom sent waves of hisses throughout my house, yet her kitten was groomed and played with like a family member. I ended up doing what you're doing - keep mom separate and let the kitten get used to the other cats.
Keeping them separate has been working quite well. A few times a day we'll lock up our own kitties for a half-hour or so and let the other two romp. Sometimes we'll leave the kitten out for longer, sometimes not. The kitten doesn't seem to care either way, and the mom is usually quieter when the kitten is with her.
post #13 of 13
I also had the same problem. I found a mom cat that was very sick and was pregnant in my garage. I got her to the Vet took care of her medically, brought her into a nice sized room in my basement and she had the litter there. She did not get along with any of my resident cats. She always went after them to fight them. After the kittens were weaned from her, which was her idea, she had enough of them, they were a little on the wild side and she was tired after all her toubles, she would growl and hiss. I introduced the kittens to the other cats I had originally. Mom is still in the basement very content. She wants nothing to do with her kittens or the other cats. Good luck.
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