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Caring for pregnent feral

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I need advice on fostering a pregnant feral. In the past I have fostered feral mothers and there kittens, but I have never had a cat delivery under my care. Actually I have no experience with any type of deliver cats, dogs or people. How do I know everything is ok? What should I put in the cage? What type of litter? I could use any advice for before, during and after delivery.

post #2 of 17
Hey Fern...have you visited this awesome kitten site:

post #3 of 17
Fern....I tried to do a search on pregnant ferals and came across all the familiar literature on having the cat spayed (since there are soo many feral cats as is). I would suggest you do a search under pregnant cats...I believe there have been a few posts under Breeders Corner.

post #4 of 17
Depending on the age of the mom-cat, will depend on how the pregnancy goes. Young cats have more problems with delivery than older cats do. But usually the mom cat can do everything right. Instead of a cage, if you can use a small room, that would be better. Give her a choice of where she wants to have her kittens, because she is a stray or feral the cage will just tend to stress her out. Even if you can clear out a small closet for her, that will work. She will start nesting soon, become really vocal or quiet, start eating or stop- LOL No pregnant cat reacts the same way- when it is time, have your vet's phone number handy just in case. Really everything should be fine, it isn't often that there are problems with delivery.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Katie thanks for the kitty site it will come in handy

Hissy this is what I know:
The person whose yard the pregnant cat is in is helping with the trapping, is paying the vet bills and will continue to feed this cat when she is returned. This person feels strongly about not spaying a very pregnant cat. The cat will be spayed before returned. Since she is doing so much we are willing to work with her.

The pregnant cat is about 1-2 years old and she has had a healthy litter before.

I’m in an apt and do not have a spare room or closet, the cage is all I have to offer. In the past I fostered a feral mother and her kittens. Those kittens were about a week old when I got them. The cage is about 2’ x 3.5’ I will put it in a quiet place, put a sheet over part of it and block it from my cats. I have a network of cat rescuers to help me but since we rarely let cats go full term with their pregnancy they don’t have much information for me. I have Vets I can call in case of an emergency.

My questions are:
1. How do I know the delivery is going ok? When should I call a Vet?
2. Before delivery what should I include in her cage?
3. Any advice on the delivery – before, during and after.
post #6 of 17
Fern, I found this at (Of course, not all of it applies to a feral)

Labor and Delivery

Labor in dogs and cats is divided into three stages. The second and third stages are repeated with the birth of each puppy or kitten.

Stage 1. The mother will seem restless and may seek seclusion. She may nest in the whelping box. This stage lasts 6 to 24 hours. There will be uterine contractions and the cervix (opening to the utuerus) will dilate, but these are not visible to the owner.

Stage 2.Stronger uterine contractions are accompanied by abdominal contractions and expulsion of the puppies or kittens. A small, greenish sac is visible at the vulva, followed by the puppy or kitten. The placenta is still attached to the puppy or kitten and will follow each birth. The mother will open the sac over the puppy or kitten by licking and biting it. She will then clean off the newborn and sever the umbilical cord. Sometimes the owner will need to assist the mother in removing the fetal membranes and cleaning the puppy or kitten by rubbing it with a clean towel. If a puppy or kitten is lodged for more than 10 minutes in the birth canal, try grasping it gently with a clean towel and applying gentle traction while rocking the body slightly back and forth. Do not grasp the newborn by the legs. After delivery, if the mother does not sever the umbilical cord, tie find thread around the cord about an inch from the newborn's body. Cut the cord on the side of the knot away from the body. Dip the end of the cord in a small amount of idodine.

Stage 3. After each puppy or kitten, the placenta is expelled and the mother takes a short rest, usually 10 to 30 minutes. Cats sometimes take a longer rest between births.

Seek veterinary care if any of the following occur:
  • The pregnancy lasts more than 65 days.
  • A puppy or kitten is lodged in the birth canal and you can not gently remove it.
  • The mother shows stage-II labor with abdominal contractions but no young are born for more than 4 hours.
  • More than 2 hours lapse between puppies or 4 hours between kittens.
  • The mother has a greenish-black or bloody vaginal discharge with no labor or delivery for 3 to 4 hours
  • The mother appears weak or sick.
  • A placenta is not seen for each birth.
  • A puppy or kitten dies.
post #7 of 17
Also here.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Kumkulu thanks I'm printing out this info to keep on hand for her labor. They have been trying to trap her hopefully she will be trapped before the kittens are born
post #9 of 17
Also, from

The normal gestation time for cats is 64 to 69 days, roughly two months. Around the time for delivery (queening), the female will seek out a secluded nest. It may be in a closet, under the shrubs, in the hayloft, or in the center of your bed. There will usually be little fuss or bother, but a few pregnant queens will stay close to the owner. Cats can delay the onset of labor or halt the delivery process if the nest is disturbed. Just prior to delivery, her body temperature will drop to under 37C.

Kittens are usually delivered after a few strong contractions that look like waves across her abdomen, with the entire litter being born in just a few hours. Some cats deliver part of the litter and then go out of labor for up to 24 hours before delivering the remaining kittens. This could be due to a lack of privacy during delivery, or because the kittens were conceived at different matings (which means the kittens in a single litter could be fathered by different toms). Pauses in the delivery process are perfectly fine, but if your queen is in active labor and straining for more than 45 minutes without producing a kitten, you should call your veterinarian.

A placenta is usually passed immediately after each kitten is born. The female will lick each newborn to clean off the translucent membranes covering their bodies. She will chew the umbilical cord to separate the placenta and unless you intervene, she will more than likely eat it

Most mother cats stay with the kitten except for very short periods of time to eat and eliminate. NOTE: Female cats can and do go into heat and can become pregnant as little as 48 hours after delivering a litter. Mothers will move the litter to a more secluded nest if the kittens are handled too often.

Mother cats rarely require assistance in the delivery of their kittens. Your most significant contribution to the birth will be to provide appropriate prenatal care to the mother. This should include immunizations and attention to her nutrition.

Pregnant cats should be fed a high-quality diet formulated specifically for kittens beginning in the last third of the pregnancy when the fetuses are in their rapid growth stage. Continue to feed the mother this food until the kittens are weaned. The nutritional requirements for energy and protein for pregnant and nursing cats are about double those of a healthy nonpregnant cat. A diet formulated to support nonpregnant adult cats may be inadequate in energy, protein, and minerals for the pregnant or nursing queen.

Although problems related to queening (the delivery of kittens) are rare, there are a few precautions you should take. If you know the breeding dates for the mother, calculate the approximate delivery date on your calendar. Watch for any subtle signs of nesting behavior as this date approaches. You can check her body temperature, but this intrusion may delay delivery. Once labor has started, it is a good idea to call your veterinarian's office to let the staff know that the kittens are arriving, just in case of a problem.

Under no circumstances should you intervene in the delivery unless a problem arises.Have some soft hand towels ready to help the mother remove the fetal membranes and dry off the kittens if problems do arise. If you need to tie off a kitten's umbilical cord, use thread or dental floss and a pair of scissors. The mother will clean the kitten and detach the umbilical cord from the placenta in plenty of time, unless two kittens are born in quick succession. In this case, you can wipe the kittens' noses and mouths free from fluid and membranes, watch for breathing, and let the mother contine with her thing.

Problems with Delivery: Dystocia

Beware of the few signs that could indicate a potential problem with the births. If you see any of the signs in the table below, you should immediately consult your veterinarian.

Kittens are born covered by a set of thin, transparent membranes. Before birth, the kittens were suspended in a fluid enclosed by these membranes inside the uterus. A beltlike mass of blood vessels encircled the kitten's abdomen. This is the placenta. As a kitten passes through the birth canal, these membranes break and partially slide off. The mother licks the remnants of the membranes from around the kitten's face and body. The action of her tongue helps stimulate the kitten to breathe. There will be some initial gasps through the tiny mouth. Within seconds, the kitten will begin shallow, rapid respirations.

As the mother licks the kitten's body and encounters the umbilical cord, she chews it and frees the kitten from the placenta, the pulplike mass included with the fetal membranes. Soon after birth, check each kitten's umbilicus to make sure that the mother has not severed the cord too closely, creating a hole in the abdomen. Should this happen, don't panic. Contact your veterinarian right away. Despite the high risk of infection or chance that a loop of intestine may drop through the hole, the kitten may do very well if the defect is closed surgically as soon as possible.

Sometimes the kittens come in such quick succession that the mother won't have time to attend to both. Two possible problems can occur. First, the membranes may not be cleared away from around the mouth and nose and the air passages may stay blocked. As the mother is busy alternating licking and cleaning each kitten, one may not receive enough stimulation to make him breathe on his own. This is a life-threatening problem. The second problem related to rapid births could be a failure of the mother to detach the placenta. This, however, is not a life-threatening problem.

Attend to the first problem: the kitten's breathing. Gently wipe the kitten's face with your finger wrapped in a soft towel. In most cases, simply handling the kitten will stimulate him to breathe. Wipe the kitten dry very carefully. It's very easy to tear a newborn's skin, especially around the flank folds and inner thighs. If the kitten doesn't start breathing, cradle him in a towel in the palms of your hands. Put him on his back with the hind feet toward you and gently swing the kitten downward toward the floor. This causes the fluid in the airways to flow upward and out the nose and mouth. Be especially careful not to fling the kitten out of your hands. Hold the kitten properly and do not swing aggressively.

If you are confident that a kitten is breathing but his attachment to the placenta is still intact, tie the umbilical cord off tightly with a piece of thread or dental floss. Place one knot about an inch from the kitten's abdomen and a second one just a little bit beyond. Sever the cord between the two. Do not tie the cord if it is thick or irregular in diameter. A loop of intestine may have herniated through the abdominal wall and may still be inside the umbilical cord. If you're not sure, call your veterinarian rather than make a serious misjudgment.
post #10 of 17
Fern - how're things going? Was she trapped? Is she inside? Did she give birth?

Just FYI, hubby and I live in an RV, and we can't foster pregnant moms. What we actually did when there was a pregnant mom (although I would have a pregnant female spayed now that I've learned all I have about cats, ferals, and the homeless problem) was to let her make her own nest outside and have the kittens herself. We provided food and water. Once they were weaned, she'd let the kittens eat before she did. The kittens got used to having us around, and when they were about 10 - 12 weeks old, we adopted them or worked on having them adopted out. We trapped & spayed mom after 12 weeks. So if she wasn't trapped but had her litter outside, she'll be fine, the kittens will be fine, and the plan to have her trapped and spayed can (and should) wait (at least) until the kittens are completely weaned. I'd even recommend waiting until they're 8 or 10 weeks old before adopting them out and trapping mom.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
LDG - no luck trapping her yesterday, they are trying again today. I'm thinking she went off to have her babies. I'll keep you updated when I both hear something and have time. Right now I'm fostering 3 sick kittens. One wasn't eating and became dehydrated. Last night I gave him homemade cat pedialyte and nose drops so he could smell the food. This morning he ate a ½ a jar of baby food and some dry. Normally I foster and socialize the nasty but healthy feral, so this has been little scary. He is still very sick but least he’s eating.

post #12 of 17
I really admire your ability to foster. We've found it to be one of the toughest things ever to do. Living in an RV with five rescued ferals as pets, we really don't have room to foster, and now, thank god, we've found a network of people who will. But giving up the one kitty we did adopt out - having raised her from three weeks old - was heart-wrenching - despite the fact she was adopted out to another TCS Mod! Kudos to you for what you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope mom and kitties are healthy, if that's what's happened.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I just heard from the trapper she didn't get the pregnant cat but she did trap 2 others

Laurie Thanks for the compliment it’s nice to hear. All aspects of rescue are important and we all do what we can.
post #14 of 17
Good news about the other two Fern. Hopefully the mom-cat will be OK and bring the kittens to eat when they are ready for solid food.
post #15 of 17
So I gave an update on the pregnant cat Feral is talking about
in SOS. See my post. Anyway, the short of it is that I have
caught other cats that I am getting fixed but did not catch
her and I finally saw her today and it does not look like
she is pregnant any more. oh well, I will try to figure out where
she has her babies but I don't want to spook her. If she found
a good nesting place, I want her to stay put.
Feral, don't give back that pen/cage too soon, if I catch a very
pregant cat I will be happy to take you up on your offer !
You have been great Fern. Thanks for all your support and help.
I will talk to you soon ! Janet/Prettyboy
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Janet/Prettyboy I think you're doing a great job trapping even if the pregnant one is allusive. I know I should not say this but I’m looking forward to having a cat give birth here.

post #17 of 17
And you have been a great support Fern !
And don't worry about your wish...hee...hee...
at the rate these feral cats multiply I am sure that won't
be a hard wish to grant you. I'll see what I can do...haha....
I will keep in touch and let you know how I progress. I start
trapping again on Tuesday. I have to pick the male cat up
tomorrow. Have a great holiday weekend !
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