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Stray cat, her kittens, and biting

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok. Just a little background. I have 3 cats and a dog (all female and all spayed). Just recently (last 3 months), I have started feeding a stray cat. At first, she didn't trust me. I would set food out for her and she would only eat when I went back in the house. Eventually, she came to trust me and let me pet her and was just generally very affectionate. She was obviously owned by someone in her lifetime.

Now to my first problem - she was very pregnant, so I fixed up the back bedroom for her (to keep her away from my pets and vice versa), so she could have her kittens in a safe, warm, dry place. Yesterday, she had 6 kittens. Realistically, what are my chances of finding them good homes. I know that it is "kitten season", so there are going to be tons of free kittens in the paper. I mentioned to some friends that I was going to charge an adoption fee, and they told me that no one would pay to take one of mine when they could get a free one out of the paper. I don't want to give them to just anyone, but I can't keep 7 more cats in addition to the 3 that I have. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The only shelters around here are high kill.

Second problem. She has bitten me 5 times. The first two were warning bites when I was petting her. The other 3 times involved her grabbing my leg and biting it. The first time that she did it was the night before she had her kittens, so I thought that maybe she was just in pain. I could tell she was in labor. She did it when I turned to leave the room. The second time was right after she had her kittens - again when I turned to leave the room. The last time was this morning. I had petted her and she had even rubbed against my legs. I was just looking down at her. The next thing I know, she jumped up on the calf of my leg, dug her claws in and bit my thigh (hard enough to leave a bruise). I shouted no and she just looked up at me like, "What?" Again, any advice?

I have a vet appt. for her for next week (earliest I can get in) even though I can't really afford it. (due to car repairs) Please - any advice that you could offer would be great. Not all of my family and friends understand why I took her in, even though they know I have a great compassion for animals.
post #2 of 8
Bravo to you for taking care of this momma cat and her kittens!

First....If the skin was broken when she bit you, please go get a tetnus (spelling?) shot immediately!

Her biting is likely due to needing to keep her babies safe. You should leave her and her kittens completely alone for a while. Hissy will be able to give you good advice on caring for the momma and kittens when she checks in.

Regarding what to do with the kittens, the best thing to do would be to keep them for a couple of months and then see if your vet would be willing to do an early spay/neuter (which is completely safe if the vet is trained to do the procedure on kittens). By having them spayed/neutered they will be more desirable for adoption AND you will be certain that their new humans don't "forget" to have it done. Although keeping the kittens this extra amount of time will be a pain, it will be the best thing in the long run.

Finally, you will need to have momma cat spayed as soon as the kittens can eat food. I can't remember how old they will be at that point (I haven't had kittens to care for), but I'm sure some others will write in with a good time-frame for you.

Thanks for caring for these cats!

Good luck!
post #3 of 8
That's wonderful that you took her in! You may want to look for a shelter or rescue group with help in placing mom and kittens. Most will help you but you have to give them a little time for a spot to open up. Just start looking now and get on a list (or two) hopefully a spot will open up soon. Since it's still early in the season you'll have a good chance of not having to wait very long.

Good luck.


PS. If you need help finding a shelter let me know.
post #4 of 8
She is protecting her kittens which is why she is biting you. It is instinct. Stop touching her for awhile, and unless you see that a kitten is in trouble, leave them alone as well. Simply sit near her, read to her quietly out loud and just let her get used to you being a part of the family. When you change the bedding, do so as gently and as unobtrusive as possible. I usually make a huge mound of bedding material, and then just start peeling off layer by layer checking for wetness and soiled material, then stopping when I don't see any more.

Petting her at this stage will just over stimulate you, so again just stop touching her for awhile until she gets used to the new family and can relax. I know it is tempting to want to pick up the kittens and cuddle them, but the minute you do she will nail you. It is again, her instinct.

I would charge for the kittens- at least this way you know that the people taking them will have a vested interest in them and will hopefully follow through with spay and neuters
post #5 of 8
Is there a way that you can work with a rescue to have the kittens fixed "prior" to being adopted...that way you will KNOW these kittens will not potentially get pregnant or impregnate another cat when they get older.

post #6 of 8
It's not true that no one will pay an adoption fee. Peopl pay for all the cats we adopt out, and that is a lot of cats! Our adopters like knowing they are getting healthy and sweet cats who we can tell them all about.

Contact a local rescue group who has a site on Petfinder, and ask them to list the kittens for you as a courtesy. Print up papers with a pic and and eye-catching and cute/funny description of all of them and put one up in every place you can think of. Mention that they will go to "Approved homes only."

About the biting - we had a Manx cat and her 7 kittens in our rescue. She would VICIOUSLY attack people while her kittens were with her, so badly that the foster had to wear protective gear to enter the room. Once her kittens were all gone, she never showed aggression again.

Thanks for saving this momma and her babies!!!
post #7 of 8
Thank you for taking in this momma in need!

1) I'm so sorry there aren't any no-kill shelters near you! Bravo to you for rescuing this momma despite the lack of understanding from some family members. We're here for support, because many of us have faced that emotional hurdle!

2) It is safe to spay/neuter kittens as early as seven weeks, though many vets do not have experience sterilizing animals this small. Here's a link about that: http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/repo...ly-neuter.html. It'll be expensive to spay the kitties, and hopefully you can work out a payment arrangement with your vet. You can also search for low-cost spay neuter services through a link in my signature line. You can also contact SpayUSA, and they may be able to find a low-cost vet in your area or help you negotiate with yours if you're unable to do so on your own.

3) When adopting, please use an adoption agreement! There is one available through the adoption agreement link in my signature line.

4) DO charge for your kitties! If you explain to people that you are simply trying to recoup or offset the cost of raising them, vaccinating them and/or spaying and neutering them, any reasonable potential owner will certainly understand.

5) Are there any local papers where there are journalists that are into animals or human interest type articles? Try contacting them to see if they'll help give you a little press for your "do-good" activities. Maybe a little blurb in the paper will help find those kitties homes.

Hope this has been of some help, and if you have more questions, please feel free to post!

post #8 of 8
Are there any local papers where there are journalists that are into animals or human interest type articles?
That is an excellent idea. We DO have a cat-loving contact at our local paper,and she often puts stories about our cats in the paper. This is one of the best ways to get them adopted, other than adoption clinics!
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