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Need advice - feral cat had kittens on my patio!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello all, I am new here and looking for advice.

We have a feral kitty that has been hanging around for several months now. I have been putting food out for her, and she is friends with my domestic male cat - he is neutered. She is skittish around people, though she is not mean just runs away - just far enough to stay out of reach. She has, however, let my 5 year old daughter pet her, and even rubs her head up against her on the occasions she does allow my daughter near her.

A few weeks ago we had a blizzard, and I noticed her huddling and shivering under our BBQ grill, so I put a box outside with some old towels in it. Since then she still comes around to eat and visit my cat, but I have never seen her go in the box at all, and it has just sat there ever since. Last night was another windy snowstorm, and I noticed she was huddled in the box. This morning she was still there, and it turns out she has had 5 adorable kittens there! I have been out to visit her a few times this morning, and she has allowed me to pet her and has even purred, although I suspect she was purring for the kittens, not me.

Here's where I am unsure what to do. I would hope that she will stick around and keep her litter here so that the kittens can be socialized. I am more than willing to care for them as much as she will allow, and hope to find them good homes. I do worry, though, that she will move the kittens back to the field where she usually hangs out and they will grow up feral as well. So I had this crazy idea of possibly bringing the mother and litter inside - keeping them separate from our male cat for now, of course. Am I asking for trouble for even considering this? I was thinking of putting some old towels and blankets in our second bathroom - probably the tub as it would keep the kittens contained for awhile. I have an extra litter box that's not being used, and food and water are no problem. The door would be kept shut, so the bathroom would become their "room" for the next 6-8 weeks. I'm not worried so much about the kittens as the mother - I don't want her to freak out! Like I said, she has allowed some petting and has never been mean (no hissing, biting, scratching, etc), but I don't want her to be traumatized by being cooped up inside. Is this something to consider, or should I leave them out on the patio and let nature take it's course? I am also hoping to have her spayed once the kittens are old enough, and then will just let her go outside again.

Also, we had weather in the 70s last week, but it snowed yesterday and another snowstorm is forecast for tomorrow night. I do worry about them being out in the cold, too.

Sorry, this is longer than planned. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
post #2 of 14
That idea isnt bad at all.
The cat mothers are like human mothers: the most important for them is not "freedom" but the welfare of their children.
As soon she recognizes the dangers for her childrens are lesser with you then outside - she will accept the situation and copy.

Her choosing THIS place for giving birth shows clearly she do accepts, even wants - your support for raising of her children.
So you DO have the mandate.

So. The plan as such isnt not bad at all - you can do it, you are planning well.
Probably you dont even need to isolate them from your friendly resident. As they are good friends. Do it at first, so the mom will not have any extra stress. But with time, try out and let them meet. If she accepts him near, fine. With any luck, he will be an helping mom or at least a friendly uncle.

No, the real problem is the stressful moment of moving them inside, and perhaps also immediately after. If you have maximal unluck there may be problems: she can freak out and even hurt the babies. Or she can run away...

Do you have possibility to get Feliway, or better still, Felifriend for the transport??

Good luck, and here comes some of the vibes!
post #3 of 14
That sounds like a great idea .And bless your heart for helping her and her kittens
post #4 of 14
Sounds like a good plan, especially with the cold weather. How big is the bathroom? Does it have a window? Make sure there are enough vertical climbing places for mom so she can take a break from the kittens when she needs it.

To make the transition easier, carry the mother cat and kittens all together in the box. That way you're not changing their entire environment. You can leave the box in the bathroom, in the tub if it fits, and let the kitties come out on their own when they're ready.

Check with your vet about getting her spayed after the kittens are weaned. Then it's up to you whether you release her outdoors again or keep her in the house. Or wait! It's probably up to her whether she stays in or goes out.

Can you get pictures? We love baby pictures.
post #5 of 14
That sounds like a very good plan, as long as you can spare the bathroom. Or if you have a spare bed or other room... you can always set up a little "house" in there for her to retreat to with the kittens. Has she allowed you to pick up the kittens?

I agree the toughest part might be getting them inside initially. Do a search on this site -- there should be lots of advice. You would be saving their lives and very likely hers.

And yes, keep your resident cat away from her initially... b/c she might fear that he would harm her babies.

I think... not absolutely sure ... that you should start by gathering up the kittens... and mom will want to come along.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the helpful advice and encouragement! I am proud to announce that I have a wild mama cat and her litter now resting happily in my bathtub!

The actual move was kind of stressful, as most of you suggested it would be. I got everything ready in the bathroom, and then just carried the whole box in from outside, with mama and kittens inside. My daughter had instructions to close the bathroom door immediately behind me after I went in with the box, but the mother wrestled her way out and bolted while my daughter stood there frozen. The mom ran through the house and straight out the still-open patio door. I got the kittens all settled in and then started to panic that the mother would not come back. Within about 2 minutes, the mother had come back into the house (I couldn't believe it - she just came right in!), and was going from room to room meowing for her babies. She made her way to the bathroom and jumped right into the tub with them, where they have been resting ever since.

The mother does not seem the least bit concerned when I go in to visit. She purrs when I pet her, and rubs her head into my hand. She let me help adjust the kittens around her, and so far doesn't seem to be bothered that she is in a new place.

The next few weeks will be an adventure for sure, but I am excited! Thank you again for the encouragement and advice. I will check in later and post some pictures - they are SO cute!
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by troutorama View Post
Thank you all for the helpful advice and encouragement! I am proud to announce that I have a wild mama cat and her litter now resting happily in my bathtub!

The actual move was kind of stressful, as most of you suggested it would be. I got everything ready in the bathroom, and then just carried the whole box in from outside, with mama and kittens inside. My daughter had instructions to close the bathroom door immediately behind me after I went in with the box, but the mother wrestled her way out and bolted while my daughter stood there frozen. The mom ran through the house and straight out the still-open patio door. I got the kittens all settled in and then started to panic that the mother would not come back. Within about 2 minutes, the mother had come back into the house (I couldn't believe it - she just came right in!), and was going from room to room meowing for her babies. She made her way to the bathroom and jumped right into the tub with them, where they have been resting ever since.

The mother does not seem the least bit concerned when I go in to visit. She purrs when I pet her, and rubs her head into my hand. She let me help adjust the kittens around her, and so far doesn't seem to be bothered that she is in a new place.

The next few weeks will be an adventure for sure, but I am excited! Thank you again for the encouragement and advice. I will check in later and post some pictures - they are SO cute!
Whew!! That's a relief! That's a strong maternal bond on her part. If she is that friendlyso quickly, she might have been someone's pet at one time. I think ... her initial fright aside - that she knows you are trying to help her.

Good luck and post back often to let us know how it's going and if you need any advice.

And of course - when you can - post some pics!!!
post #8 of 14
Mom feral cats are amazing - as Stefan pointed out, they just want to take care of their babies, and because you've been feeding them and she befriended your daughter - she knows you're helping them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bless your heart for doing this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLEASE keep us updated!



Laurie
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by troutorama View Post
I am proud to announce that I have a wild mama cat and her litter now resting happily in my bathtub!

The actual move was kind of stressful, as most of you suggested it would be. I got everything ready in the bathroom, and then just carried the whole box in from outside, with mama and kittens inside. My daughter had instructions to close the bathroom door immediately behind me after I went in with the box, but the mother wrestled her way out and bolted while my daughter stood there frozen. The mom ran through the house and straight out the still-open patio door. I got the kittens all settled in and then started to panic that the mother would not come back. Within about 2 minutes, the mother had come back into the house (I couldn't believe it - she just came right in!), and was going from room to room meowing for her babies. She made her way to the bathroom and jumped right into the tub with them, where they have been resting ever since.

The mother does not seem the least bit concerned when I go in to visit. She purrs when I pet her, and rubs her head into my hand. She let me help adjust the kittens around her, and so far doesn't seem to be bothered that she is in a new place.
Wow! WHAT A STORY about the strengh of a mothers love and determination! Making the impossible a factum.

"The cat family kidnapped by 2 TERRYFYING giants into theirs evil den. Our good mother managed to run away from BOTH of them! But the babies!? She embraced herself, collected all her courage and determination, and went back into the big giants horryfying den. Did bravely searched thorough the complicated labyrinth in there, with all these unnatural pecular smells and dangers. At at last, she did found her little ones. Yet unharmed, uneaten and still healthy. She immediately nursed them and protected.

The biggest of the giants come in. She immediately sang her big holy Song of Friendship and Love, also purring aloud. The Song was so strong that even the big giants heart weakened and it get enchanted by this, and become entirely docile, yes, even friendly.

And thus, this cat mother won safety for her children and herself, achieving the impossible: friendship with these peculiar giants, not longer any terrible."


Now somebody perhaps says these giants werent at all hostile or terrible? They were also friends with the male cat the mother was pal with??
I say: Dont destroy a good story!

The legend of Morpheus and Eurydyke is only a shallow echo from this story here.... This story which happened now in our days, and surely happened before time and again... The never ending story of a mother´s - or sometimes fathers - strong love and determination overcoming all difficulties.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Wow! WHAT A STORY about the strengh of a mothers love and determination! Making the impossible a factum.

"The cat family kidnapped by 2 TERRYFYING giants into theirs evil den. Our good mother managed to run away from BOTH of them! But the babies!? She embraced herself, collected all her courage and determination, and went back into the big giants horryfying den. Did bravely searched thorough the complicated labyrinth in there, with all these unnatural pecular smells and dangers. At at last, she did found her little ones. Yet unharmed, uneaten and still healthy. She immediately nursed them and protected.

The biggest of the giants come in. She immediately sang her big holy Song of Friendship and Love, also purring aloud. The Song was so strong that even the big giants heart weakened and it get enchanted by this, and become entirely docile, yes, even friendly.

And thus, this cat mother won safety for her children and herself, achieving the impossible: friendship with these peculiar giants, not longer any terrible."


Now somebody perhaps says these giants werent at all hostile or terrible? They were also friends with the male cat the mother was pal with??
I say: Dont destroy a good story!

The legend of Morpheus and Eurydyke is only a shallow echo from this story here.... This story which happened now in our days, and surely happened before time and again... The never ending story of a mother´s - or sometimes fathers - strong love and determination overcoming all difficulties.
Oh, Stefan, you are a big softie!
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
Oh, Stefan, you are a big softie!
Stefan, you've been found out! TCS will keep your secret.

Laurie
post #12 of 14
StefanZ you are a poet, a teller of skalds!
post #13 of 14
Correction, StefanZ you ARE a Skald. The tale you tell is skaldic poetry
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by troutorama View Post
...
The mother does not seem the least bit concerned when I go in to visit. She purrs when I pet her, and rubs her head into my hand. ..

Thanks for the kind reactions to my try of poetic rewriting.


One big reason why I wrote what I wrote, is, I dont think she purrs and rubs because she was once a homepet - although she perhaps WAS a homepet.

This here purring and rubbing is very typical and symptomatical of cats who tryies to pleases themselves in.

A homecat wanting more food...
A stray trying to find a new home and trying on with every human who seems friendly, or at least, not openly hostile.
Often a newbuyed kitty to the resident.
And as here, a semiferal mom trying to get protection for her children.


I become aware of this behaviour-tactics when I read a forumist on my history-forum tell:
"Im not a cat-person. Im a dog-person and owner. Yet it happened four times stray cats did come to our place. Did pleased themselves in with the dogs - and after it was done - stayed which was OK also for me...."

This was a real eye-opener for me!
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