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pregnant schedule of cats in the wild

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have posted about my grandmother's cats. I have questions also about a feral cat at my work place.

People have been feeding her for about 1 year now. About 3 months ago she looked pregnant. She has obviously had kittens somewhere in the woods. We cannot find the kittens and someone said that a male feral cat in the area is trying to get her pregnant again. I would like to try to trap her (and I suppose her kittens eventually) but would not want to leave her kittens vulnerable. If cats are feral do they have a certain pregnancy schedule? When is it safe to trap her? Is there anyway to find out where she has her kittens.

She was coming to eat in the day but since she's had the kittens she only comes when no one is around.

Thanks so much!
post #2 of 4
Without knowing when she mated, it would be hard to tell how old her kittens are now. I would continue to feed her and when the kittens get old enough, she will bring them to the food source. Momcats are quite adept in protecting their young kittens from tomcats and other predators. Once the kittens are old enough you can trap both mom and kittens, and take mom in to be spayed. If she is pregnant the vet will abort the kittens. It is a sad thing to do, but unless there is someone who is available right away to take the whole family, it is usually the best course of action.
post #3 of 4
Depending upon how comfortable she is where you feed her, she'll probably bring the kittens with her when they're somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks old. In other envrionments, it's best to allow the kittens to remain with mom until they're 12 weeks old. But if it's not a quiet or wooded area, it's probably best to trap them all soon after they show up. Kittens are very adoptable at that age.

When you do trap the mom, the kittens, of course, should immediately be trapped and taken to a vet for vaccinations and spaying/neutering. Most vets advise spaying/neutering at 4 - 6 months old (when they loose their baby teeth and get their adult teeth). It is safe to re-release the mom without the kittens. We have lots of suggestions for helping you to find homes for the kittens - and brochures and articles for the adoptive parents, to help them ease the transition of those kittens from ferals to pets.

If you plan to re-release the kittens as well, then I'm not sure...but I think I'd consider waiting a few weeks after they turn up to trap them all. Then they'll have had the chance to learn everything they need from mum to survive.

Please note, there have been studies conducted on early age spaying/neutering, and it has been proven safe. Here is one such study: Early Spay/Neuter in the Cat by the Winn Feline Foundation

Laura - you GO girl! Once you find yourself in the world of ferals, it just keeps expanding, doesn't it? You're doing such a wonderful thing!

For now, just keep putting the food out for mom at regular times. Like MA says, mom will bring them to it. Somehow, it seems to me, feral moms seem to know when people are helping. We ended up adopting 4 of 5 kittens, adopted out 1, and adopted out 3 from a different litter. The moms disappeared after being spayed, vaccinated and released, but I really feel like they "gave" us their kittens, wanting better lives for them.

Keep up the good work!!!!

post #4 of 4
Oh. Just thought of something else you can consider. Our feral kittens turned up at our home - but other than two of them, we did re-release the others after being spayed/neutered. We continued to put out food and water for them, and hang out with them as much as possible so that they would become as socialized as possible. They did come to trust us, though not other people. But it did make them adoptable, despite being outside.

Also - mom will take the kittens on excursions, so don't worry too much if you see the kittens and then don't see any of them for a day or two. Just keep putting out the food - they'll come back.

Also, it's best not to go looking for the kittens. Mom has them where she feels safe. If you try to track her/them down, she'll probably just move them.

And one last sad fact... in the wild, males will try to kill the kittens in order to send the mom cat back into heat. If you never see any kittens, this may be what happened.
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