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Outdoor cat pregnancy

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Last November, a small stray adopted our front porch. Though she wouldn't let me get too close to her for some time, in an attempt to be a responsible critter landlord, I did my best to try to gauge her health and guess her age. The first thing I noticed about her were unusual and striking BROWN eyes, which I had never seen a cat have before. Some internet research led me to believe that meant her age was somewhere between 10 weeks and 4 months -- not old enough to reproduce. Because we were having a difficult time financially after the deaths of both my mother's parents within just over a month of each other, what with funeral costs and travel, we put off trying to catch the cat to take her to be fixed. Since she was at the time also one of only two stray cats we had EVER seen near our house, we also assumed there would be little danger of her becoming pregnant.

 

We realized she WAS pregnant this March. We realized it... all of five days before she gave birth. Whether I was right in my guess of her age when she arrived here, she "grew up" to be such a small cat, we never saw her in heat and only caught a couple of fleeting glimpses of what must have been the responsible tom, who is so feral he only comes around when there are no people outside and runs like the wind at the first sight or sound of anyone.

 

Anyway, our porch-cat, Ernie, gave birth to a litter of 4 healthy kittens. She behaved like a perfect mother even after they were weaned. The same week we took three of the kittens to the shelter (I adopted the fourth), she carried two of them off lord-knows-where to keep them protected from a storm, since apparently she thought the shelter boxes we had constructed for her and the other porch-cat and kittens were not adequate.

 

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNFORTUNATELY... since none of the 8 permanent and semi-permanent residents of this house had ever dealt with taking ownership of a cat with kitten-bearing abilities, we apparently took a little too long trying to figure out how soon we could get her spayed and where to take her and how it would be paid for, because sometime between teaching her babies to catch shrews in the garden and keeping them away from the street, she found time to go trysting with that tom again.

 

She's very clearly due to give birth any day now. The problem is... we think she's decided to nest somewhere on an unknown neighbor's property. She still shows up at LEAST twice each day to be fed, and the last few days she's let us bring her inside out of the heat and just napped in a yarn drawer all day. Come night, though, sooner or later she goes absolutely mad to get out of the house. I've been reluctant to let her leave since she's so close to giving birth. We've put together a number of boxes and hidden spots in places we can shut out the other cats, but she seems absolutely DETERMINED not to be forced to stay inside and will not accept any of the nests we've offered her... so I guess that means she's already picked a specific one somewhere else? The other thing is that in the last 4 days or so, she won't let Nemo (her daughter from the first litter) come near her -- she growls and hisses and will even give a warning swat. After the last time Ernie stayed and rested in the yarn drawer until she decided it was time to disappear (the day before yesterday), despite having received that treatment, Nemo still sat next to the drawer for several hours mewing occasionally as if she was wondering where her mama went. I know that's just nature doing its thing, but it still made me a little sad to see.

 

ANYWAY, right, so, I was thinking of handing out a photo of Ernie and just asking our neighbors on the block to keep an eye out for her and call us if they see her or know where she's nesting. My questions, then, are these:

 

If she IS nesting on a neighbor's property and doesn't return to any of the boxes we've left out for her, can we and SHOULD we move her and the kittens back under our direct care? Would it upset her too much to have her nest disturbed like that, and would she even keep the kittens in the vicinity of where we put them, or would she simply scoop them up and disappear again as soon as she can? Has she gone away to nest because she doesn't want to be too close to her first site?

 

And how soon after giving birth can we get Ernie spayed? Part of the reason it took us so long to figure out what to do with her and the kittens is that several of us called different organizations/animal hospitals and we all got conflicting answers. :P

post #2 of 6
It would be best to keep her inside until the kittens are weaned and off to good homes and she's spayed. She won't abandon the kittens if you bring them inside--maternal instinct is very strong. So if you do find where she had them, tote them inside right away.

She can get pregnant again right after giving birth, though she may wait a month or so like last time. No way to know for sure. So if you can't keep her inside, just have her spayed AS SOON AS the kittens are weaned (my vet says 9 weeks), even if this means aborting the litter inside of her frown.gif. It's sad, but it's really the only way--once a cat is of age, she's pretty much constantly pregnant. Although they usually take a couple months off in midwinter unless you live somewhere tropical (In general, in temperate climates cats aren't pregnant in November and December, making those months the safest time to do TNR if you don't want to be aborting a lot of pregnancies).

Kittens can go into heat as early as 4 months. . .actually, the youngest I've heard of was 14 weeks. So, basically, unless a cat is just a tiny baby, it's best to assume she can get pregnant. And it doesn't matter if you see any toms around or not--they'll come from 5 miles away in the middle of the night and bam! she's pregnant by a male you didn't even know was there! Even if you never noticed she was in heat! Cats are amazing at reproduction, as you've found out the hard way.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
It would be best to keep her inside until the kittens are weaned and off to good homes and she's spayed. She won't abandon the kittens if you bring them inside--maternal instinct is very strong. So if you do find where she had them, tote them inside right away.

 

If we can find her before she gives birth, I'll try to convince the other people I live with to keep her indoors. Part of the other problem with doing that is that we do have an indoor cat who gets stressed very easily and for some reason, while he likes the little girl from her first litter I adopted, and he'll tolerate our other adopted stray who's a crippled old lady, he HAAAAAAAATES Ernie. Otherwise... I was really mainly concerned that moving a nest of newborns could harm them or stress the mother out enough that it would be harmful to HER.

 

 

 

Quote:
She can get pregnant again right after giving birth, though she may wait a month or so like last time. No way to know for sure. So if you can't keep her inside, just have her spayed AS SOON AS the kittens are weaned (my vet says 9 weeks), even if this means aborting the litter inside of her frown.gif. It's sad, but it's really the only way--once a cat is of age, she's pretty much constantly pregnant. Although they usually take a couple months off in midwinter unless you live somewhere tropical (In general, in temperate climates cats aren't pregnant in November and December, making those months the safest time to do TNR if you don't want to be aborting a lot of pregnancies).

Kittens can go into heat as early as 4 months. . .actually, the youngest I've heard of was 14 weeks. So, basically, unless a cat is just a tiny baby, it's best to assume she can get pregnant. And it doesn't matter if you see any toms around or not--they'll come from 5 miles away in the middle of the night and bam! she's pregnant by a male you didn't even know was there! Even if you never noticed she was in heat! Cats are amazing at reproduction, as you've found out the hard way.
 

 

....and after reading those two paragraphs I had to go find my babygirl and give her a hug. Because..... lord, that sounds SO SO unpleasant for the female cat. I mean... I'll totally look this up on google later but it makes me think... can she carry a second litter to term and feed them before the first is even weaned? Or that soon afterwards? Lord, but that'd be hell. Nature really is a bitch sometimes, isn't she? :\

 

Ernie's first litter IS long since weaned and the only one still here is my girl, who is about 4 and a half months old now and getting her appointment to get spayed scheduled TOMORROW. It's probably too late to abort the litter Ernie is carrying now, given she's so close to term I'm virtually positive she'll have given birth within the next 2 or 3 days, if she isn't already in labor wherever she's hiding. As soon as we know she's given birth, I plan to make it very, very, VERY clear to the people I live with that this cat need to be spayed PRONTO and they'll have to figure out how they're going to split the cost. Foot-putting-down time, we loved having kittens around to raise, we all learned from it, but all of us put together barely have the time or money to keep providing food and shelter and medical care and whatnot to new litters of kittens every 3 or 4 months, and I imagine that HAS to be hard on mama-kitty's body to do that, which doesn't seem at all fair to her even if that is what nature designed her to do. It'd be fair if she were feral and any given litter of hers had a minimal chance of survival, but as a pet, even one who likes to wander the neighbors' yards a ways, I don't think there's any good reason to allow her to continue to take that kind of strain.

 

...and man that's just making me bite my nails more waiting for the clinic to open to I can schedule an appointment for my Nemo, which has been driving me nuts since I HAD to wait until my pay came through on Friday but I couldn't get a break to make the call from work until 20 minutes after the medical center closed.

post #4 of 6

Willowy gave excellent advices. I want add, if necessary the surgery may be done while the kittens are still getting milk.  It is often seen when moms got emergency surgery. She returns, rests several hours, and proceeds. Especially if the vet has made the flank incission.

We dont recommend it normally, the normal recommendation is to wait after the kittens are weaned.

But if you must - its ok to consider. Talk with the vet too.

 

The best is, as said, to have them insside. It the mom is a good mom, will follow the kittens.

Once inside she will find herself in the situation and copy.  (let her cool down the first several hours, so she realizes for sure nobody threatens her.

You DO have right, it IS stressful, esp if she is semiferal and catched by trap. But the trick is to release her in her safe room, and leave her be to cool down.

In your case, she knows you somewhat, knows you are friendly and humble for a human, it will get much easier for you than for a typical rescuer who tries to help a feral mom with her kittens.

 

Good luck!

post #5 of 6

Hi, this has been my experience as I was taking care of an abandoned cat for 6 weeks.For the first two weeks I put out flyers,posted signs,got on tabby tracker,filled out info at humane society etc.Owner never came forward.I have two dogs and two cats and one of my dogs chased her off several times,so I fed her in my yard but she stayed on the neighbors porch.She told me that I need to find a home for the cat,and I told her that I had just put an ad out on craigslist.Two days later and as I was driving into my driveway,animal control was there picking up the cat.I was furious that she had done this behind my back so I went into the house and said nothing because I was afraid that I was going to make a big scene .Next day I called animal control and they said that he had given it to another police officer,he was a smart Ellic accusing me of irresponsible pet owner and among other things.Next day I called his boss told him that by law they had to hold the cat for five days and if the owner did not come forward I had rights to the animal.Next thing you know animal control showed up on my porch apologizing for the lies they told me,they said that the cat got away and was lost.Lie number 3.He did go into a lengthy discussion about how difficult the cat was to handle and that he got bitten.Go figure.It is my belief that the cat was considered unadoptable and put to sleep immediately.So I guess what I am trying to tell you is you need to take those kittens and cat inside because animal control and the humane society are not the tooth fairies that protect animals,what they did to me,they do it all the time.Its called a buisness transaction.So we all need to be very clear about how we feel about this,euthanize is a medical term for sick suffering animals that need to be put down.A young healthy cat will bite if they know they are in danger.Make no mistake, this is cold blooded murder and they should be convicted of murder,so I am tired of hearing about irresponsible pet owners when these people who are obviously in bed together murder thousands of animals every year.We need to talk to people and make it easier for them to keep their pets.How easy do we make that when vet bills are astronomical,fences have to be built,and if you move many places do not allow pets.and yes there is always one in every crowd that just is a bad pet owner and how many of us lost our jobs due to what wall street did?Can you say the word corporate communism?Follow the paper trail,thats what any private investigator would do and at the heart of so many crimes.

post #6 of 6
The same thing happened to me. Except we found out about two or three weeks ago. Now she has a very large belly and when she was asleep last night I felt at least two different kittens. I am just worried about when she will have kittens. When it is cold at night she sleeps in the house and she loves being inside. But when I go to work she has to go out. My husband said that she can come in all the time when she really starts showing badly. But we need to get her used to a box where she can have the kittens and litter training at the same time. What is the best round about way of doing this. And after she has the kittens how long does it have to be untill we can get her spayed and how long will she need to be inside afterword? I really need an answer soon I am not shure when she will give birth. Please help. She is a Tuxedo Tabby and is about a year or so old. And a first time mom.
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