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post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi, everyone, I have been reading things on the site for about a week now, and I finally decided to become a member. Well, I am the mom of 5 kitties! One of them came with me when I moved here, but the 4 others I have adopted from outside. Their names are Snowball, Marshmellow, Cookie, Jinx, and Friendly.

Well anyways I will get to my question, cuz it is sort of complicated. I have a big heart and there are a lot of strays in my neighborhood, and I try and find what kittens I can tame and find a good home. Well this mama cat known around here as the trash cat had 3 kittens under my house. So I was feeding her and keeping an eye on the kittens. When they were old enough I started feeding them, and every once in a while could pick them up and pet them. (Never with the mom) Well there were 2 girl kittens and a boy kitten, and last Wednesday morning around 8AM I went to feed them, and my favorite girl was missing. I saw the mom and fed her a couple hours later. Well later that day around 5 PM I went out to check on them, and my heart just broke! there in the grass lay the boy kitten dead. I didn't know what to do, so I burried the poor thing.

I guess my question is, what could have killed this poor kitten? The dad cat had been around quite often too, and with the kittens at times. So, I don't know if it would have been him, and I have not seen anything of the other kittens or mom in over a week. So if you could help me figure this out, it would help to put my mind at ease, I don't want to have to see this kind of thing again.

Thanks for any help...
post #2 of 8
Welcome to TCS!
post #3 of 8
It could be anything really. But the most common cause of feral kitten death after disease has been ruled out is that a tomcat killed it. They can actually do this without leaving a mark on the kitten. I have seen a Tom take a kitten in his mouth and smother it, then leave it laying on the grass. That would be my guess. And I am moving this to the feral forum for you where we have plenty of knowledgeable people to help you.
post #4 of 8
I'm so sorry! You try so hard to help these little ones!!

I agree with Hissy. Tom cats will kill other Tom's kittens to force the female back into heat. If he looked otherwise healthy (good coat of fur, normal size, no parasites or running eyes/nose), then there is that chance that another Tom did this, or perhaps a wandering dog. I saw a dog "shake" a kitten once and broke its spine - no apparant bite marks on the kitten from that either.

Can you bring the mom and her kittens into a quarantined room in your house until they are old enough to adopt out? Not knowing their history or if they are healthy or not, you would need to keep them separated from your babies. Ideally, you should have the mom spayed so that this can't happen again.
post #5 of 8
Welcome to TCS, and I'm glad this thread found it's way to the feral forum. I'm so sorry to hear about the deaths of these little kitties. It can be so difficult to rescue sometimes.

Since there is just one kitten left and it doesn't seem very safe there for it, is there any way you can take on the responsibility of fostering it?

It seems to me like the best thing to do at this point is to have the "trash" kitty ( ) spayed and foster the little one. I would normally recommend letting mom raise it - but it doesn't seem like it has much of a chance of surviving. Indiana has a number of low cost spay/neuter clinics, though of course I don't know if any are near you.

If you need help searching for one, or with ideas for where to borrow a trap, we can help.

You're an angel for caring for these kitties, and I'm so sorry two of them have died.

If you have any questions about trapping, where to turn for help, no kill shelters, etc., please feel free to ask. Or just click on any of the links in my signature line, and they'll help you find resources you need.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of your replies. I haven't seen the mother cat or the kitten since this happened. There is a chance that the second kitten is alive even though I didn't see her that morning, I don't know for sure. The only Tom cat that had been around was the father of the kittens. Do you think that he could/would have killed his own kitten/kittens? And if the Tom did kill the kitten, do you think that would have made the mom disappear also?

I don't know if you would like to know any details, but I will post them any way and see what you think...

When I found the kitten, it looked to me like somehow he had gotten wet and tossed into the dry dirt under my house, but I found him laying on his side in the grass, his neck looked very uncomfortable, facing down into the grass. (So maybe he died from a broken neck?) And the side of him that was facing up looked like it had dried mud on him. I turned him over to check for marks, more dirt, etc. And the other side was just as black as normal. That really confused me. Thought maybe the grass kept dirt from drying. Not sure. But it really seemed like something got his other side wet, chased him under the house, he fell/rolled in the dirt, ran out from under and was killed in the grass... Also out of the three kittens, he was the biggest, fastest and most jumpy at any movements or noises. So it must have been something really sneaky or fast.

A few nights before this I had seen an opposum out there, but I thought they were night animals, and this happened during the day.
post #7 of 8
I'm sorry that you had to witness that! From what you described, it sounds more like a roaming dog or coyote. The mom probably moved the remaining kitten when she realized your house wasn't a safe place. Do you have dogs that run loose in your neighborhood?
post #8 of 8
The toms do not have any sort of attachment to the kittens. It is entirely possible the dad killed the kitten. If a coyote or fox got the kitten you wouldn't find anything left. They take all their kill and run off with it, so do stray dogs. My bet is on the dad- it would be wise to get him trapped and neutered. If you can bring the mom and the rest of the kittens inside, that would be safest. If you can't for whatever reason, he may kill another kitten. I know it sounds harsh, but it is nature's way in a feral group.
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