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Feral mother is a bad mom to kittens...... need advice, please!!!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have two feral cats who both had litters one day apart. They are both in the same building, but they are fine with that. One mother, however, is a very bad mother. She had a litter of 5, but one was stillborn. She lost another one, because she laid on the poor kitty, and suffocated it to death. She moved them all, and lost one for an entire day, but she managed to survive the cold night by herself. She seems to have a cold, a little sneezing here and there, and she is always HUNGRY! The mother, and yes, it's the mother, not the kittens, pushes her out in some feedings. I put her in position to nurse whenever I see it, and the poor thing is just always hungry. She's laid on all of her kitties since then, and would have suffocated them if I weren't there. She only nurses them on her terms, when she becomes too filled up with milk. She only spends a few hours a day with them. They are a day older than my other feral's kittens, and her kittens have their eyes open, are constantly playing, and she spends a lot of time with her kitties, but Tri-Bi, the momma cat I've been talking about, won't, and her kitties won't play, and the one that has a cold now hasn't opened her eyes. I'm worried about the little black kitty, the one with the cold. I've been watching her closely, and will take her to the vet the moment needed. She seems to be getting a little better, though, except that momma puts her away when momma nurses. I don't understand why she is such a horrible mother!? I have a territorial cat, aggressive, too, and I can't take the kittens in. I don't understand why Tri-Bi is such a horrible mother to her babies! What can I do?
post #2 of 18
If it was me I would take the kittens and bottle feed them and keep them in a warm place. Perhaps too there is something wrong with the kittens and that is why she rejects them. Some momma kitties are just bad mothers. I have had a few of those in my time and I had to intervene if I wanted to save any of them. Some of them died anyway but a few of them survived and are happy and healthy today. I have found it to be a "hit or miss" thing really. We do what we can and the rest is "in God's hands".

Perhaps you could contact Best Friends. I think it is Bestfriends.org. Someone help me here please. They have helped me find help in my area before. Maybe they can help you too. Your momma kitties need to be spayed ASAP(when they are done nursing, of course.)

Much good luck to ya. There are folks here much more qualified to help than me. Hissy???
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan
If it was me I would take the kittens and bottle feed them and keep them in a warm place. Perhaps too there is something wrong with the kittens and that is why she rejects them. Some momma kitties are just bad mothers. I have had a few of those in my time and I had to intervene if I wanted to save any of them. Some of them died anyway but a few of them survived and are happy and healthy today. I have found it to be a "hit or miss" thing really. We do what we can and the rest is "in God's hands".

Perhaps you could contact Best Friends. I think it is Bestfriends.org. Someone help me here please. They have helped me find help in my area before. Maybe they can help you too. Your momma kitties need to be spayed ASAP(when they are done nursing, of course.)

Much good luck to ya. There are folks here much more qualified to help than me. Hissy???
Thank-you so much for your advice! I would love to take the kittens in to bottle feed them, but, as I said above, my cat is territorial, and will become aggressive if he sees or smells any other cat. Thank-you for your advice... I will check out that website.
post #4 of 18
Chances are the mother is ill and she senses the kittens are as well. Feral mom's do not intentionally sit on kittens, they do it deliberately if the kitten is ill and will compromise the group. She didn't lose a kitten, she took a kitten out of the nest (probably the same one that you keep putting to a nipple) because it is ill and she knows the milk is going to be needed by the ones who survive. It is the ugly truth of how colonies survive. It is survival of the fittest. Unless you know how to bottlefeed and care for newborn kittens that are health compromised, you could do more damage. You have to know how to feed, how to not overfeed, and just be alert to the danger signs of a fading kitten Her way is swift and merciliess but it ends the suffering. You would need a special feeder with an elongated tube because of their age

I'm sorry if I sound cruel, but you have bit off more than anyone first timer can handle. IF you take these kittens from her, you have to know what you are doing, how to revive one that stops breathing and feed every hour on the hour for the first weeks at least. You have to supplement them for what they will lack from not having mom's milk. Your little one doesn't have her signature on a nipple. At the first touch of a nipple, the kitten kneads the teat, and leaves its own scent on the nipple. Because they are blind, this is how they find mom's milk when hunger sets in. They will go to the same nipple every t ime. She guides them to her by purring. Keep them warm, leave them be and see if you can find an experienced cat rescuer in your area to intervene

Good luck
post #5 of 18
I agree with Hissy; mom is probably weeding out the weaklings. I don't know what your situation is, if you have time to tend to a baby kitten. I have hand-raised little ones who's eyes weren't opened yet, but you have to "change their diapers" as well as get them to eat from a bottle. you could go to www.Kitten-Rescue.com, for further advice. It can be done, I have raised 2 litter of tiny ones while working 2 jobs, 2 kids, and having a daily commute totalling over 200 miles per day (but I wasn't married at the time). I didn't lose a kitten, but I did get a kidney infection from not taking care of myself (just a warning). I didn't feed the kittens as often as I've read, but mama kitties on their own leave the nest to hunt, too. I would definitely take the sickly kitten to the vet now, and seriously consider a merciful ending for the kitten, if recommended. They may have cat fever or some other illness.Please keep us posted! SusanJandBilly]I have two feral cats who both had litters one day apart. They are both in the same building, but they are fine with that. One mother, however, is a very bad mother. She had a litter of 5, but one was stillborn. She lost another one, because she laid on the poor kitty, and suffocated it to death. She moved them all, and lost one for an entire day, but she managed to survive the cold night by herself. She seems to have a cold, a little sneezing here and there, and she is always HUNGRY! The mother, and yes, it's the mother, not the kittens, pushes her out in some feedings. I put her in position to nurse whenever I see it, and the poor thing is just always hungry. She's laid on all of her kitties since then, and would have suffocated them if I weren't there. She only nurses them on her terms, when she becomes too filled up with milk. She only spends a few hours a day with them. They are a day older than my other feral's kittens, and her kittens have their eyes open, are constantly playing, and she spends a lot of time with her kitties, but Tri-Bi, the momma cat I've been talking about, won't, and her kitties won't play, and the one that has a cold now hasn't opened her eyes. I'm worried about the little black kitty, the one with the cold. I've been watching her closely, and will take her to the vet the moment needed. She seems to be getting a little better, though, except that momma puts her away when she momma nurses. I don't understand why she is such a horrible mother!? I have a territorial cat, aggressive, too, and I can't take the kittens in. I don't understand why Tri-Bi is such a horrible mother to her babies! What can I do? [/quote]
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
Chances are the mother is ill and she senses the kittens are as well. Feral mom's do not intentionally sit on kittens, they do it deliberately if the kitten is ill and will compromise the group. She didn't lose a kitten, she took a kitten out of the nest (probably the same one that you keep putting to a nipple) because it is ill and she knows the milk is going to be needed by the ones who survive. It is the ugly truth of how colonies survive. It is survival of the fittest. Unless you know how to bottlefeed and care for newborn kittens that are health compromised, you could do more damage. You have to know how to feed, how to not overfeed, and just be alert to the danger signs of a fading kitten Her way is swift and merciliess but it ends the suffering. You would need a special feeder with an elongated tube because of their age

I'm sorry if I sound cruel, but you have bit off more than anyone first timer can handle. IF you take these kittens from her, you have to know what you are doing, how to revive one that stops breathing and feed every hour on the hour for the first weeks at least. You have to supplement them for what they will lack from not having mom's milk. Your little one doesn't have her signature on a nipple. At the first touch of a nipple, the kitten kneads the teat, and leaves its own scent on the nipple. Because they are blind, this is how they find mom's milk when hunger sets in. They will go to the same nipple every t ime. She guides them to her by purring. Keep them warm, leave them be and see if you can find an experienced cat rescuer in your area to intervene

Good luck
First off, thank-you so very much for your truthful advice. I would rather hear the bad truth, the a good lie. Thank-you! I am not, by any means, a first timer... I have just never seen a mother so bad to her kittens. I do know how to bottle feed and care for a young kitten. I used to volunteer at a veterinary clinic where there were many abandoned baby kittens, and I learned how to care for them there. I would love to bottle feed them, but one of my other cats, Billy, is territorial, and will become aggressive if he senses another cat in his territory. I was thinking I could bring the little black kitten to a clinic (I know one around here that would do this) and tell them that the mother abandoned it, and they would care for it. I certainly hope they will.
Thank-you so very much for your advice, Hissy. I appreciated it!
post #7 of 18
My guess is that either the mother is an inexperienced first timer, or she is ill herself. There is a brutal reality to this situation - if mom is sick and passed it onto her kittens, even if they survive past weaning they could easily die before they are a year old. That happened to me with a FeLV+ feral mom - mom died after weaning her kittens, but 3 of 4 contracted the disease from her. I have also had nursing moms feed at my place (when I couldn't find the kittens) get ill and die, and am horrified to think about what happened to her kittens.

On the other hand, I had 1 litter where the mom wasn't taking care of the kittens - not that she was sitting on them, she would only spend about an hour a day with them and they were getting seriously underfed. I decided to intervene on their behalf, went to the vets to buy the necessary food and bottles, and when I came back, mom had disappeared. I can only assume she was ill and went off to die in private. In spite of the fact that I had never bottle fed before, the kittens were seriously malnourished (to the point of deformed limbs), and I worked full time, the kittens survived, and none had any bad diseases from their mother (I have Scarlett from that litter and adopted out the rest).

It is truely a crap-shoot when you intervene at this stage. I didn't realize how the odds were stacked against me when I did this that first time and today feel lucky that things worked out the way they did. If you have the resources to effectively intervene then please do so.

Personally, if I know (or are fairly certain) that they will die in their current situation, I will make the attempt to save them even if it doesn't work out. But that is just me - you need to do what you are comfortable with in this situation.

Sorry for the ramble.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
My guess is that either the mother is an inexperienced first timer, or she is ill herself. There is a brutal reality to this situation - if mom is sick and passed it onto her kittens, even if they survive past weaning they could easily die before they are a year old. That happened to me with a FeLV+ feral mom - mom died after weaning her kittens, but 3 of 4 contracted the disease from her. I have also had nursing moms feed at my place (when I couldn't find the kittens) get ill and die, and am horrified to think about what happened to her kittens.

On the other hand, I had 1 litter where the mom wasn't taking care of the kittens - not that she was sitting on them, she would only spend about an hour a day with them and they were getting seriously underfed. I decided to intervene on their behalf, went to the vets to buy the necessary food and bottles, and when I came back, mom had disappeared. I can only assume she was ill and went off to die in private. In spite of the fact that I had never bottle fed before, the kittens were seriously malnourished (to the point of deformed limbs), and I worked full time, the kittens survived, and none had any bad diseases from their mother (I have Scarlett from that litter and adopted out the rest).

It is truely a crap-shoot when you intervene at this stage. I didn't realize how the odds were stacked against me when I did this that first time and today feel lucky that things worked out the way they did. If you have the resources to effectively intervene then please do so.

Personally, if I know (or are fairly certain) that they will die in their current situation, I will make the attempt to save them even if it doesn't work out. But that is just me - you need to do what you are comfortable with in this situation.

Sorry for the ramble.
Thanks for your advice. If it weren't for Billy, I would bottle feed the babies in a heartbeat! I have noticed that since I posted this thread, Tri-Bi has spent a little more time with her kittens. Ironic, eh? She's in there with them more, and they have their eyes open, and are walking around a little, but they are still not as active as Topaz's kittens. They still look like they aren't quite getting enough food, but I am keeping a VERY close eye on them. Do you think I should give her another chance?
post #9 of 18
I know that you are just a young girl. I was brutally honest, because the reality of this situation is that the kitten may die in your arms, or somewhere else. That is a LOT of pain for a young girl to deal with. I'm not up on your history, if you rescue, help out at a clinic, but I would suggest you get the kitten to someone that does rescue health-compromised kittens and then prepare yourself to possibly lose more in that litter. Outside cats typically mate with more than one tomcat. This means not only do they run the risk of getting one disease, but depending on the health of the colony they could get several diseases. Young kittens are very vulnerable and fragile and even with the best intentions, you can lose them. The can also survive, they can beat odds, but it is long hours of care, constant worry, the right conditions that will allow them to live, and then, just when you think you have cleared the mile marker, they die. I just wanted you to be prepared. I've been through it, seen it, cried more tears for the babies lost under my care, and cried more for kittens lost under the care of others. Even the most experienced rescuer sometimes can't pull the miracle through. I know one gal who has been rescueing for over 20 years, just kittens. She recently lost 7 in one day- it about destroyed her heart. It's a lot of energy a lot of love and in the end you want something for it. You want a healthy, happy little kitty biting your toes. It just doesn't always happen that way-
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
I know that you are just a young girl. I was brutally honest, because the reality of this situation is that the kitten may die in your arms, or somewhere else. That is a LOT of pain for a young girl to deal with. I'm not up on your history, if you rescue, help out at a clinic, but I would suggest you get the kitten to someone that does rescue health-compromised kittens and then prepare yourself to possibly lose more in that litter. Outside cats typically mate with more than one tomcat. This means not only do they run the risk of getting one disease, but depending on the health of the colony they could get several diseases. Young kittens are very vulnerable and fragile and even with the best intentions, you can lose them. The can also survive, they can beat odds, but it is long hours of care, constant worry, the right conditions that will allow them to live, and then, just when you think you have cleared the mile marker, they die. I just wanted you to be prepared. I've been through it, seen it, cried more tears for the babies lost under my care, and cried more for kittens lost under the care of others. Even the most experienced rescuer sometimes can't pull the miracle through. I know one gal who has been rescueing for over 20 years, just kittens. She recently lost 7 in one day- it about destroyed her heart. It's a lot of energy a lot of love and in the end you want something for it. You want a healthy, happy little kitty biting your toes. It just doesn't always happen that way-
Thank-you, Hissy, for the sad, hard, awful, but honest truth. I am prepared, if the kittens die. I hope so much that they make it, but, if they do pass on, I will be upset, as I will with any animal under my care, but I know I can carry on. I am going to bring the kittens to a clinic nearby very soon if Tri-Bi continues not to give them the care they need. I have already buried two of her kittens, within 12 days apart. I was sad for both of them, but I carried on. I hope so much that these kittens live, but, at least I can be prepared. Sometimes, just being prepared doesn't help, though. We were prepared for that for my puppy for a long time, and when he did die, it was still really hard. I know they can die. I know they might. But I'm hoping and praying they don't. I will intervene and get them the care they need soon, if Tri-Bi gives up on them, or if they give up on her. Thank-you so very much for your advice, and warning. I appreciated it very much.
post #11 of 18
Honestly? If it were me, I would leave mom one kitten, and take the rest in to be hand raised. You pick the biggest, active kitten of the lot, leave it with mom, and then take the rest in. And I wouldn't wait, I would do it quickly.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
Honestly? If it were me, I would leave mom one kitten, and take the rest in to be hand raised. You pick the biggest, active kitten of the lot, leave it with mom, and then take the rest in. And I wouldn't wait, I would do it quickly.
Why leave her one?
post #13 of 18
So she won't go into mourning- You may think she is a bad mom, but I don't see it that way. Moms have to leave to hunt. Nursing zaps them pretty much and they need food to continue. She will also leave if she senses a predator around, she will try and lead the predator away from her babies, perhaps to many humans are bothering her? Who's to say? I'm not there, I am going by your posts
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
So she won't go into mourning- You may think she is a bad mom, but I don't see it that way. Moms have to leave to hunt. Nursing zaps them pretty much and they need food to continue. She will also leave if she senses a predator around, she will try and lead the predator away from her babies, perhaps to many humans are bothering her? Who's to say? I'm not there, I am going by your posts
That makes sense. Okay... I'll talk to my mother about that tonight. Thanks!
post #15 of 18
aw hissy i love the way you write!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well, I went to check on the kittens today... and it happened. Tri-Bi abandoned the little black girl. We are taking her to a vet, where they will care for her, and find her a home. We have been watching, and Tri-Bi seemed to get better, but, then, this.... she took the other two, and left her. Poor baby. I'm glad the vet is going to take her, though. Thanks for all the advice, everyone!
post #17 of 18
Cassie, your kittens are being left because they are ill. Is it possible you can get all the kittens to the vet?
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
Cassie, your kittens are being left because they are ill. Is it possible you can get all the kittens to the vet?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJandBilly
Well, I went to check on the kittens today... and it happened. Tri-Bi abandoned the little black girl. We are taking her to a vet, where they will care for her, and find her a home. We have been watching, and Tri-Bi seemed to get better, but, then, this.... she took the other two, and left her. Poor baby. I'm glad the vet is going to take her, though. Thanks for all the advice, everyone!
Yes, we are taking her to a vet. They are going to take her in and find her a home.
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