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Mama/kittens separating

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
What happens when Mama suddenly has no kittens? Will she wander around crying for them? How distressed will she be and is there anything I can do at all, other than giving her lots of TLC???? What do I do with my guilt?

I took in a one-eyed pregnant waif in January and her 6 kittens are now weaned, litter trained, socialized and ready to go to a shelter. I have been unsuccessful in adopting them out. The shelter has a very high success rate with finding homes for kittens, and it is my only choice. (I already have 6 cats from a rescue a year ago, and I just cannot have any more. It is just too much responsibility and I have limited finances. I barely feed my own 6 cats, and owe the vet now for antibiotics and eye drops for the tiny ones who all had eye infections.)

The shelter has said that my little one-eyed mother probably will not be taken, so I will probably keep her.

This is breaking my heart to do, but it has to be done.

Thank you to anyone who has been through this who will post a reply! I cried after talking to the shelter and get teary-eyed just writing about it. Hope to hear from some who have "been there/had to do that." Leann in Kansas, USA
post #2 of 9
She will greive I am sure of it... But she will soon go back in to heat and lose it...
post #3 of 9
Please don't feel guilty. What you are doing is the right thing.

Actually, giving them to a shelter is the best thing you can do, in my opinion, better than trying yourself. They have a much larger group of people they can target, and they investigate potential homes very thoroughly, making sure both the family and kittens are right for each other. Personally, I have always preferred going through a rescue group or shelter rather than trying myself. They will also make sure they all have their shots and spay/neuter, or arrange to make sure the owners do.

I also learned that the rescue groups actually insist on adoption contracts, and most of them even have the legal right to go into a home and remove a kitten or cat they have placed if they feel it is not being treated right. And I know the rescue I work with has no problem doing just that if it is necessary. We as individual cannot even come close to protecting our babies that way.

Also, don't feel guilty about taking her babies. In the wild, it is the way of life for the kittens to go off on their own once they are weaned and ready to take care of themselves, and the mother goes off on her own life. You are doing nothing that would not happen naturally, except that you have given a cat a safe, secure place to have her babies, and allowed them to live when they might have otherwise suffered.

For the first few days, yes, the mother will go around calling for her kittens. This is nothing that is not natural, and she is not upset in the way you would be. You can't put your own thoughts and values onto a cat, they are different, think differently. Mother cats will actually kill their kittens in some instances that to us seem unbelievable, but in their world it makes sense.

I think the fact you are keeping her and giving her a loving home when she would not be able to find that anywhere else is something you should take comfort in and feel good about. In the wild, her kittens would go off on their own (the ones who lived, that is) and she'd be left to starve and fight for survival. Instead, her kittens thrived, will be cared for their whole lives in good homes, and Mom after she completely forgets about them in a few days, will be happy and secure the rest of her life with you.

There is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. I hope you take this to heart.

You should feel good about what you've done. I give you a lot of credit, you've done more than I think I would have.
post #4 of 9
Leann, you have done a wonderful thing helping out this mama cat and offering her a wonderful home with you!

More often than not, the mama cat will push her own kittens away - as she would in the wild - so depending on when they are taken from her, she should be okay!

It mush be such a difficult thing to do though! But I know that you will handle it all amazingly!
post #5 of 9
I have fostered 4 litters in the past 2 years. If I had kept everyone, I would have 21 more cats right now! That is WAY TOO MANY FOR ME!

My agency likes taking away 1/2 the litter, then take away the rest a week later. This gives Momma a chance for her milk to finish drying up, and lets her adjust to the loss of the kittens. Some Momma cats actually seem very relieved to say good bye to their babies, others miss them for a few days, but seem to adjust. Most people recommend waiting until 10-12 weeks to adopt out the babies. Momma is more ready to give them up at that age than if they are younger.

Sometimes we project human feelings onto our pets. As others have posted, in nature many of a cats kittens would be run off by her, so she could have another litter. (Speaking of another litter, you will spay Momma, right?!?)

Also, often people come looking to take in a hard to adopt kitty. Is there any way the shelter could offer your one eyed Momma on their web site, while you kept her at your home? Then she has a chance of being adopted, but gets to stay with you until it happens.

Best of luck with your kitties. Remember, you have a houseful of kitten love. It is generous to share that love with other families!
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for writing--all of you! It made me feel better to know that in the wild the mother pushes them out of the nest eventually to make their own way in the world. And yes, I will have her spayed as soon as the kitties are gone from the nest. I actually had a fright tonight when she stayed out longer than usual, and once again thought of the rather urgent need to get her spayed soon.

I appreciated the advice about giving the kittens away in two stages. The little ones now have the run of our house, but at night stay in the back (I can shut off two rooms, my bedroom and my office. Their world has expanded. I just have got to stop projecting my feelings onto them--aboiut how frightened they will be in a cage with mama not there. they will be 7 weeks old tomorrow, and maybe I will wait another week or two. I can't wait too long, because kittens are the first ones to be adopted. The older they are, the less chance they have.

I think I have committed to keeping little One Eyed Black Kitty. I need to find a good name for her. Pirate? Also, another quetion: will my own cats always just tolerate her and occasionally hiss at her? They really shun her. I wish they could accept her. that is why I consider keeping a kitten for her companionship.

Thanks agin for your replies! Leann
post #7 of 9
Keeping a kitten won't necessarily help, as neither of them will remember the connection within a few months, if that, and may well turn into rivals at some point - another sad but true cat fact. But if you bring momma and your others together some day and put vanilla extract on All their chins and base of their tails so they all smell the same, they might start getting along better. The other might also have been jealous of the babies, but won't be once they're gone.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi, first of all I haven't had time to get back here for awhile, and once again thanks for all your replies.

I'm not sure Larke, about Mama and kittens not remembering each other. My own brood (as verses the new brood from Little One-Eyed Black Kitty) is really connected to the five kittens she had. They are now one year olds, and though they go their own separate ways, when they are in the house or near the house, they are loving on one another, Mama still grooms them from time to time, and they still jump, play, and climb trees together. Their mama, Little Grey, still initiates play with them in the yeard--holding races and running around. That is not to sday that they also don't lead their own lives! Occasionally one or two will not be there at evening feeding time and after a while, I do fret a bit. In one year, there were three times when I actually got in the car and cruised around the nighborhood.

I am lucky to be in a small rural town of a little under 300 people with at least 3-4 properties in the block for them to play in. Anyway, I had a separation "test" just inthe past few days. The new mama went into heat and went immediately to the vet to be spayed. The kittens were weaned (of course they were still wanting to suckle, but were on solid food) and they were fine without mama. I think SHE missed them more than they missed her! She is back today, just 15 minutes ago, and I have her in here with me. I did observe their interaction, and fed them immediately upon my return. So far they have smelled her underside, but haven't really attempted to nurse. I had the vet keep her an extra day because I was worried about that. I'll keep them separated when I am not here to watch.

I had let mama outside and two males followed her home--that is when I called the vet. He doesn't like to do spaying when they are in heat, but it can be done and he thought it was best--just much more difficult for him, avoiding mammary glands, and then the uterus being iiiiiiian altered state. But it is done.

I think I have one adopted for sure, and this weekend someone is coming to look. On Monday they are going to a shelter. I still am tempted to keep one in particular, but economics might nix that idea if I have any good sense left at all! Thanks again for your support.

post #9 of 9
It is HARD to give up those babies! They are so very sweet. But as you said, having the money for vet care and food for that many kitties is a challenge. Your new kitty will incorporate with your other kitties more as time goes on. The hissing will pass, just give it time.

You might want to look for a rescue near you...I foster kittens for a rescue. They cover all the vet costs, and give me free food and litter sometimes, too. And there is always another litter needing a home. Just a way to keep having kittens since they are kind of fun!
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