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How Old For Kitten Vet Visits?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have these four kittens from a feral mom. Once they are old enough we are taking them from mom. I am wondering when I should get them all checked out by a vet? How do I know if they have worms or some other disease? They are two weeks old now and we take them out when we can to handle them. Probably about once a day if we are lucky and mom cat lets us! I was concered since mom cat has not been tested for any diseases yet so we have no idea about her or the kittens. Should I be worried that my kids or I can get something from handling these little ones? Mom cat looks healthy and so do the babies but you never know. Any advice? Thanks!!!

post #2 of 20
Becki..did you visit this site:

post #3 of 20
It's a great site - but I didn't see anything about vet visits on it. I'd just call the vet and ask. It's also possible to just take in stool samples to test for worms.
post #4 of 20
Hi Becki, I got your e-mail and if it's OK, I'd like to answer your questions here so that others in the same situation as you can get the info as well.

Basically, if the kittens look healthy, are putting on weight and don't show any signs of illness or parasites (worms, fleas, ringworm, ear-mites etc.), you don't need to take them to a vet just yet. At almost 3 weeks, a vet visit would only be in order if they are ill, as the visit can cause anxiety and upset for them and mom-cat. There's advice on when to take kittens to the vet on the very first page and then throughout the web site as well.

If you go to, there's a section called Sick Kittens. In there, in a section called Parasites, you'll find all the information you need regarding what to look for in kittens if you suspect parasites.

They are in your garage at the moment and you'd like to move mom-cat and the kittens. The best place for them in your house is a kitty-proof bathroom. Have a box with soft bedding in the bottom for the nest as well as the mom-cat's food and water bowl. Elevate the water bowl on a small table or box so the kittens, as they start moving around more, don't fall into the water and drown. Keep the litter-box as far away from the food as you can as cats dislike eating near where they eliminate.

Yes, the kittens will be safe in the bathroom with mom-cat. She will make sure they don't get 'lost' in the room and will bring them back to the nest if they wander too far. You will notice the kittens showing an interest in her litter-box at around 3 1/2 to 4 weeks. This is the time you'll need to add a small litter-box for the kittens. Click here to find out how. As these kittens have their mom, she will teach them how to use it, you don't need to do anything.

At around 4 weeks, the kittens will start showing an interest in food. As you know, the mom-cat will be eating kitten food as she's still nursing, so it's OK for the kittens to begin to experiment with tasting this food. Put a very small bowl or jar lid of water down for the kittens so they start learning about lapping water.

post #5 of 20
Also, with the bathroom, either keep the window closed or make sure the screen is very, very sturdy. Other members have found that ferals have broken out of bathroom windows that they thought were cat-proof. As this is a mom-cat with kittens, her instinct to stay with her kittens should override her want to be outside, although she still may attempt an escape.

With the move, set up everything in the bathroom before moving anyone. You'll want to move all the kittens first and place them in the nesting box in the bathroom. I know the cage you have in the garage is very large so place a carrier in the cage and see if you can coax mom-cat into that. Once she's in the carrier or smaller box, take her into the bathroom, set the box down (making sure she can get out when she's ready) and leave mom-cat and the kittens to settle in without disturbing them for at least 3-4 hours. The move will be upsetting for all so it's important that the room is quiet. Play some classical music very softly in the room, as this has a calming effect on mom-cat and the kittens.
post #6 of 20
About handling the kittens, yes, it's possible for the kittens to pass on parasites to you and your children. The best thing to do is wash your hands very well with an antibacterial soap once you've finished handling the kittens. This will also stop them passing on anything to your other cats. It's rare for worms to be passed on but ringworm is much more easily transmitted.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it! I'm going to see if we can get her moved. Wish us luck! I'm not sure if it is going to be possible to move mom cat or not. Right now she won't even let me close enough to get the box out that the kittens are in. Everytime I come into the room that they are in she gets up and climbs in with her babies and won't move. It is very frustrating but I know that she is just being a good mom.

Also I am getting a lot of pressure from my local vet in my town to take them away from there mom in a week. I know most everyone online say no don't do this but I'm really torn. I know she is doing a great job taking care of them but I can't get in and handle them everyday. It is extremely difficult with her being so feral. They are already hissing and spitting at me when I get ahold of there box and one little one actually tried taking a swipe at me! I just don't want to have to deal with four babies like there mommy! Also once they start moving around the cage I am concerned that they might be able to sqeeze through the bars and Mom cat will not let me reach in there to help the kittens if they get into trouble. I am very tempted to follow there advice. It just seems easier to take them in a week and take over until they are weaned and on solid food. Any ideas on what I could do? Thanks.

post #8 of 20
Becki, even in a week, it is too early to take these little ones from mom. I know you're worried about them being feral like their mom but if you take them from mom when the time is right, it will literally only take them a few days to settle down once they know you aren't a threat and you're the person the food and cuddles come from.
post #9 of 20
Becki, hissy is one of the feral experts here and I will ask her to post about how to deal with mom-cat.
post #10 of 20
Becki- PLEASE do not move the kittens, nor take them away from the mom. They are not going to be wild little things, especially because you are handling them so much. They are getting used to humans just by your handling them, though if it were me, I wouldn't be handling them for a couple of weeks yet. Mom could strike out at any time at you, and moving her kittens is a really bad idea. You can stress mom cat out immensely. Taking her kittens away will drop mom into a bad mourning period and is entirely unnecessary. I want to slap your vet for even suggesting it! They need mom at least until they are 12 weeks old. By then she has taught them everything they need to know to be well-rounded kittens, including litter pan manners. Please leave them in there with her. Sit close and talk to them, sing to them, take your sweaty shirt and put it with them. But please leave them with mom.
post #11 of 20
MA, are they OK to be moved because they are outgrowing the cage they're in? Becki sent me an e-mail wanting to know if it was OK for mom and the kittens to be moved from a cage in her garage (she trapped the mom before the birth) to her bathroom.
post #12 of 20
Moving the kittens is going to be risky. Mom is going to want to stay in the same area she gave birth to them in, especially if she feels safe. If there is anyway to just make available a a larger birthing box or huge cardboard box or something like that in the garage where she is now, that would be best. Just be sure the box stays warm enough and is out of any drafts. if she is a true feral, moving the kittens inside could stress her out immensely. If she is an abandoned pet, or a stray it might be easier. But you won't know until you move them, and then it might be to late by then. The family is so new, mom needs to stay calm and keep feeding and protecting them.
post #13 of 20
I only moved a feral litter once. The mom had them in the rafters of my garage and I put them in a box for safety. Once they learned to climb out of the box, I built a bigger enclosure for them on the floor. Mom wasn't happy, but the kittens would have fallen 12 feet to the ground had I left them. Once I moved them, I gave mom canned food in the new enclosure to encourage her to stay there and not try to move them back. I took them from mom as soon as they were weaned as she had a history of moving her kittens away from the colony shortly after weaning and her kittens returned as feral adult cats. I would normally leave them with mom longer.

If they've outgrown their current cage, you need to get them more space. Since you have mom captive and don't want to release her, can you get her a much larger cage and place it in the same area? I think she would get greatly stressed by moving her to a totally new location. If large enough, you could put the current cage in the larger one and simply open the door for the transfer? Just throwing out ideas here.
post #14 of 20
Becki, how big is the cage they're in?
post #15 of 20
Can you invest in a large dog kennel - the size that you would use in your back yard?
post #16 of 20
Becki you need to provide a place in the bathroom where mom can stretch out and not be enclosed- the bathtub with bedding would be the perfect place if there is more than one bathroom in your home. You need to move the cage unopened into the bathroom, then prop open the door of the cage, so mom can come out if she wants and bring the kittens out. Take blankets or rags and place them in the far corners of the bathroom as mom may move the kittens elsewhere in the room. Even emptying out the cupboard under the sink and putting bedding in there for the mom and kittens and keeping the door propped open will work. Cut down the wattage in the bathroom to dim the lights, or burn a nightlight to keep mom calm.

You should get the bathroom ready in advance and then carry the cage in, shut the bathroom door, open the cage, keep it propped open and leave. Be very careful going into the bathroom for mom will bolt. If there are windows in the bathroom, be sure mom can’t get outside, because she will try. Feral instinct is quite strong especially because mom is not going to like being moved at all.

Good luck!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
The cage they are all in is a big dog kennel cage. It is plenty big enough for them all to move around in. It is so big that I can't drag it through the door. The only way I could move mom cat is if I release her back into the garage and trap her again like I did before. I don't think I can coax her in a smaller cage. She must have been really tramatized by people or something. I sit with her everyday and if I am really still she will relax a little but she won't take any food from me and if I move she is allert and ready to attack. I have seen little progress since we have had her. I am concerned with the kittens being able to get through the bars. Mom cat cannot get out but they might. I could put some kind of chicken wire or something around the sides so they can't squeeze through maybe....I will have to brain storm the ideas. Basically what I am worried about is that Mom won't let me get to the kittens. We were getting lucky and were able to get them out at least once a day but now everytime I go in the garage to see them she immediatly gets up and sits on her kittens so I can't get the box out that they are in. Also, now that they are starting to move around more they are going to be falling out of there box bed soon and I'm worried that they may get cold outside of the box. Will Mom cat get them and put them back? She didn't do this last time when one fell out at a week old. I had to reach in and get him and put him back. If there is a problem like this I won't be able to reach in and get one of the babies to help put him back in the box without getting bit or scratched by mom. Any ideas? Thanks.
post #18 of 20
Becki, don't despair, she is just being a feral mom. You are right, she was probably traumatized by people when she was living in the outside. You can get some loose screening from the hardware store, and just wrap it around the outside of the cage and secure it with duct tape tight enough so it doesn't slip, or use chicken wire, though the kittens will get stuck in between the bars and the holes in the chicken wire, so the screen is a better idea. You just need to put it up as high as you can, not completely cover the cage.

Sit with mom quietly during the day. Sing to her softly or read out loud to her. Take a shortened broomstick, and an old heavy leather glove. Put the glove on one end of the stick and secure it with duct tape. Use this to gently touch her, be careful not to jam her with the stick, come in low in front of her, and gradually move it up to the center of her back and stroke her. If she grabs at it, don't scream or anything, expect it. Just let her have it, then gently withdraw it and work with her gradually to accept you.

If you are making eye contact with her, she will consider that a threat, so you either need to look above her, or blink slowly as you stare at her, that will relax her. If she is sitting on her kittens when you are there, you need to leave and quickly. She will smother them rather than let a human have them.

Just keep working with her, keep the lights dim, the cage covered, and the room quiet. Feed her at specific times of the day, establish a routine and you will break ground with her-

good luck!
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi! Thank you for the advice. I was really getting discouraged. I will go get that screen today when I pick up the kids from school. We will give that a try. That was my biggest concern. If I know the kittens are safe and can't get out and get lost I will feel much better. I already have a pvc pipe I was using to pull and push boxes inside the cage towards me if I need them. She lets me pet her with that sometimes but I was worried about poking her by mistake. I'm scrounging around the house for a glove now and I'm going to work with her. About the kittens turning feral....once they are walking around will they come up to me and let me pick them up and pet them? Or are they going to stay around mom and be afraid? Thank you again. I will keep everyone informed.

post #20 of 20
Becki, the kittens learn every behaviour from mom-cat so if she becomes tense and hisses at you, so will the kittens. However, once you remove them from mom at 12 weeks, you'll be amazed at how quickly they will come to love human contact. Because you're already holding and cuddling with them sometimes, you're well on the way.
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