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Story of my babies (advice needed also)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well, this is the story....

One of the cats who hangs around sometimes, and will disappear for months at a time, decided my barn would be a good place to have her babies.
I finally found them, and had been visiting them regularly, and grown quite attached to them, especially one I had named Opie. The moma cat was okay with me playing with them, she doesn't seem to mind me as long as I don't try to pick her up.

Well, disaster struck on Thursday.
About a month ago, someone had dumped this little dog out, and I
had taken him in, rather than see him starving, or killed.
He seemed to get along okay with the cats at first, so I thought it would be okay.

He just recently started chasing some of my cats!! He didn't hurt them, just chased them up a tree, or into the brush. I would yell at him, and tell him NO, but he doesn't listen very well.
I thought he was just playing, but I did not like my cats to be terrorized, and not sure what to do about this situation at all!!!!
Hubby says we can't tie him up...he won't have a dog tied up. ( he also nixed the idea of a kennel)

So Thursday I get home...and my husband says, there are two dead kittens in the yard....I went running out, and looked, and sure enough....one of them was Opie.

I just sat down in the middle of the yard, clutching these two dead kittens, and bawling my eyes out. I kept telling them how sorry I was.

I feel like it is all my fault. I know it was the new dog, the other two NEVER bother kittens. EVER!
And I'm the one who brought this dog home, thinking I was doing a good thing, rescuing him from the streets....and it has turned into something horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am sure I will get flamed by someone, and told how stupid it was of me to bring a strange dog home, with all my cats around, but I just didn't want to see him starve to death, and I kept such a close eye on him the first few weeks, and it seemed like everything was going okay.

Anyway.....I went and got the remaining three kittens, and brought them in the house. They are about 5 or 6 weeks old, I am guessing.

I put them in a big rabbit cage, and I managed to get the moma into the house to nurse them....then I put her back out. She comes up to the door now, since she knows where her babies are, and I let her in and she feeds them, then she starts whining to go outside, so I put her back out. If I kept her in the cage for longer than it takes to feed her babies, she would go nuts and I'm afraid maybe harm her babies. She does not like the cage at all. But she will stay in it long enough to nurse them.
I also got them to eat some canned cat food....so I think they will be okay. They are using the litterpan, and their bellies are full and round, and eyes very bright and alert, very healthy.

I sure as heck was not going to leave them out there for that dog to pick off one at a time.

I want to make an appointment for the moma to be spayed, if she doesn't run off again.

But what am I going to do about this dog???? There are other feral cats in the neighborhood, that may have kitties here, and I don't want them killed!!! And I don't like him chasing my other cats!!!
But noone wants him, I have tried to give him a good home, but no takers....and I hate to have him put to sleep....he is a sweet little dog...just not good with cats.

Anyway, the three kitties I have, two are long haired dark grey, and one is a light grey striped. (that one looks just like the pictures Vader posted of her new baby)

I will take some pictures, and try to scan them once they are developed...I have a scanner, but haven't used it yet.

Thanks for letting me tell my story, and sorry it is so long.
post #2 of 23
Debby, I'm sorry, I don't think I can offer any advice as to what you should do... All I can think of is finding a rescue that would take the dog, and I'm sure you've thought of that.

I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you lost the 2 kittens, and that it's not your fault. I don't understand how anyone can fault you for just wanting to help. It sounds to me like you're doing the best you can for all the animals involved. I hope you find a viable solution for you and the animals.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your post. I did think of taking him to a rescue shelter, but the only one we have near here is not a no kill shelter, and after awhile, if noone takes him, they would put him to sleep.

I know if it wasn't for me, he would be dead already, because the local guy who takes the strays off the street (who is a real jerk, by the way) keeps them in cages for a couple days then shoots them. He had told me that is what he was going to do with this one if someone didn't take it. But I just can't bring myself to take him to a shelter where he will probably be put down...although at least there they would put him to sleep, not shoot him, but I can't have my cats terrorized either!!!!! I am having a real hard time deciding what to do.
post #4 of 23
Your story is really sad. I'm certainly not going to flame you becauselllllllllllllpo;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;p (Snowball's helping me type) you took in an abandoned dog who might have died horribly otherwise. Animals can be so unpredictable, there's no way you could have foreseen this tragedy, and the dog really can't be blamed either. The person who is stupid and deserves criticism is the dog's former owner.

Maybe your husband will allow you to fence in your yard or build a large kennel for the dog? If he won't allow this, maybe you could make a large cat enclosure to protect the most vulnerable cats?
post #5 of 23
I forgot to add this to my post. I recently read somewhere that newborn kittens smell like mice to a tom, and this is part of the reason some toms attack and kill kittens. Maybe there is a similiar explaination for the dog's attack.
post #6 of 23
Hi Debby,

I am sorry you have had to go through this, but I wouldn't blame yourself. Do you know for a fact that the dog killed these kittens? But then, even if there were other contributing factors to their deaths, there is nothing you could of done to prevent it. I agree that having a dog tied up is not a good thing. But is there anyway ( I don't know what your weather is like right now) but can you put the cage somewhere outside (high enough so the dog can't reach the kittens, but the mom can? If the weather is warm enough, or you have an outbuilding that has enough shelter, that would be my suggestion. I would put the cage up high, and take a short piece of wood and insert it into the opening of the cage so the door can stay opened ( I would wire it opened) and mom cat can get in, and kitties won't fall out. Since babies need it really warm, I would insulate the bottom of the cage with straw, put some old towels or blankets over the straw, and perhaps a hot water bottle or two at night to keep them warm. I would also cover the cage to keep it dark and snug. But mom needs to be able to get to her kitties, and they need her body for warmth and protection.

People suck that just dump off animals, and this little dog needs another home, or at the very least obedience lessons so he can learn to not chase or terrorize cats, but I also understand that may not be possible right now. If he is some sort of terrier mix or something, his instinct will be to root out small critters and rid his new place of them. He might of done that, or a tom could of come in and killed the kits to mate with mom again. Good luck, but I just wanted to let you know what i would try to do to keep the family together.
post #7 of 23
Debby - you did what you thought was best for all animals concerned. You couldn't have forseen what the dog would do. Even though it was heartbreaking you cannot take the blame. Unfortunately I don't have any helpful suggestions what to do now, but my thought are with you.
post #8 of 23
Debbie, I was thinking the same thing Hissy suggested. It is just as likely that a tom killed them. When I was a little girl a tom cat got into our house and killed our kittens. Animals are unpredictableas someone has already said, so it could be either the dog or a tom cat. It would be easier to contain the dog than the cat, in my opinion.
As far as blaming you, how could anyone be that cruel? Your heart is broken, and that's obvious. My heart aches for you. I just wish I had better advice. I assume you are afraid that the dog will hurt your adult cats also, or I would just raise the kittens until they were ready to go to their own homes.
post #9 of 23
Debby-I'm so sorry to hear about the 2 kittens that died. You are such a nice person to have taken the poor dog in. Like the others said, it might have been a Tom cat, but theres really no way to ever know. That stinks that there isn't a no kill shelter that you can take the dog to. Maybe you can fence off a part of your yard for the dog to stay in, then he won't be chasing all your cats. Good luck with finding a home for the dog. Let us know how things turn out with all the animals.
post #10 of 23
if it were me i would get rid of the dog. i know your heart is in the right place by taking the dog in. i probally would have done the same. i love all animals, but....no animal is gonna harrass my cats. no human either for that matter. rather the dog or a tom killed the kittens, i don't know. but your babies must not be to pleased about being chased. it was their home first. and sorry about your loss. poor babies.
post #11 of 23
That is so sad. I am so sorry to her about the kittens. Is there someone you know who is a good pet person to take in the dog? Then you would know that he is ok. And your cats would be, too. Of course, a fenced in cat yard might work, too, as someone else suggested.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I really appreciate it!!!!!

I don't know how I could put the cage up somewhere that the moma could get in, without the babies getting out...the door is very wide, and opens from the top down....if moma can get in, the babies can get out, and they are out that door as soon as I open it.
I have been bringing the moma in to feed them, but she hates the cage, gets excited, knocks the food all over, and poops all over the blankets and the kittens. It's a real mess.

The babies LOVE the canned cat food, and I have seen them drinking water, so I wonder if it is too soon to take them away from moma completely. They are very warm where they are, too. I'm not sure of their age...I was guessing 5 or 6 weeks, but it could be more like 7 or 8.

They seem happy, playing etc.

I'd like to talk more about it here, but I have only about 20 minutes to get ready for church now, so I have to go....but I will be online later, if anyone replies.

post #13 of 23
Debby - first of all I am so very sorry for you and the kittens and the little dog too. Sometimes even when we have the best intentions, things do not work out. How about trying a muzzle for the dog? We had a canvas cloth one for Sheba when she was really into chewing up my son's clothing and bedding. It seemed to work for her.....We used to call Sheba's muzzle her 'face pajamas'.
for your babes.......
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
You know....I've been thinking about what some of you said, about maybe it being a Tom cat that killed them, instead of the dog....and I'm starting to wonder if maybe that IS what happened.
I have seen an old tom cat hanging around down at the barn recently. I know it's a tom, because I got close enough to see him from the back.
The little dog...Peanut, is okay with the cats being around him, like if they are all eating, or just laying on the porch together, he doesn't bother them. It is only when he sees one of them coming up from the barn, or walking away from the house, that he feels the need to chase them, at a dead run, up the nearest tree or wherever.
I don't quite understand that, unless it is just the thrill of the chase. I don't think he would hurt them if he caught them, since he lets them walk around within a foot of him up at the house and doesn't mind, but still, I hate to take the chance, and i hate to see my cats being chased up trees for no reason.
My other two dogs are great with cats...and especially my dog Scruffy...who is also a terrior mix, the cats rub all over him, and sleep with him, and if Peanut gets too close to them, sometimes Scruffy will jump in between them and look down at Peanut (he's slightly bigger) and growl at him. It's like he is protecting them.

I'm not sure what I am going to do just yet....the past couple days everything has been real peaceful, noone getting chased that I am aware of, so maybe this is over....but I am not holding my breath.

Kittens are doing fine, moma is in with them right now...and I am going to have her spayed soon.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
I forgot to add to the post I just made, there is still another litter of ferals somewhere closeby, because this one female who comes around some, but isn't real friendly, is obviosuly nursing, so I am worried for their saftey as well.
post #16 of 23
Debby - I hope that things will continue to go well for all the kittens!
post #17 of 23
How awful for those poor babies. I would think that if it were the dog, the kittens little bodies would have been mangled. However, if it were a tom, he would just bite and leave them. Were the kittens found close to one another?

The dog, whether he killed the kittens are not, should be trained that chasing them is not acceptable behavior. I'm not an animal behaviorist so I can't offer any sound advice, however, you should speak to someone about this behavior. It's of course natural, but the dog can be taught manners and what is acceptable by you.

My dogs are trained that the cats are first and they are first because they are the weaker of the two species. If a cat walks up to one of my dogs while it's eating, the dogs know to walk away and let the cat have their food or else eat around the cat, which my Border COllie does. The cats have to eat real fast to take her food. Never, never is it acceptable for the dogs to growl or threaten the cats.
I adore my cats and my dogs. Neither would be tolerated hurting or threatening each other. They live in harmony or they don't live here. I know that sounds harsh.

Let me tell you a funny story about one of my cats Olive Oil. I rescued Olive Oil one night as she sat waiting by a dumpster. At first glance I could see she was severely malnourished so I brought her home. Luckily she wasn't feral so it was easy to treat her. It turned out she had a flea alllergy, ear mites and hookworms and at first I thought she was a nice cat. Well, as she got to feeling better I soon realized she hated dogs. I mean hated them so much she attacked my mixed terrier whenever she was in the same room with him. And of course he not knowing what it was to be scratched by a cat would scream his head off. Well, Olive Oil was really getting me mad as I watched her try to kill my poor old dog. I had to find a solution besides declawing, so I put soft paws on her front paws. After 6 months of wearing soft paws she stopped attacking the dog and the soft paws came off. Scottie is still afraid of her and won't walk anywhere near her. It also helped to make her a yard cat. Outside she doesn't feel so trapped as she did being inside. I have small rooms so the animals are always in pretty close contact if in the same room.

One day Olive Oil snuck out the yard and was sitting in the front yard when she noticed a German Shepherd dog next door. My neighbor was pet sitting a German Shephard for a frined of hers and when Olive Oil saw that dog she went nuts. She literally jumped a 4 foot fence and jumped on the dog's head. Thankfully the dog wasn't hurt and it was real lucky for Olive that the dog wasn't a cat hater. The only thing my husband and I could figure was that Olive had some horrific dealings with a dog(s) for her to hate them that much. In all my years and many, many cats, I have never seen one cat so dog aggresive. Heck, I've never seen a cat that I thought could kick a dogs butt, but she could.

Good luck

post #18 of 23
Wow - Patsy - that is some story of Olive. She is lucky that you and your husband are so tolerant and patient with her!
post #19 of 23
Heck, my husband is so nuts about her he'd get rid of me to keep the nut! Everytime I walk outside in the yard, there he is petting her and says look at my girl! Yea, his girl, the one that is so fat now people who come to the house say "Are you sure she's not pregnant". And when I laugh and say, "You know better than that". They reply, "But are you sure"?(and they are serious) I should change her name to Brutus now!
post #20 of 23

I'll gladly pay you Tuesday..for a hamburger today......
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Patsy...that is quite a story about Olive Oil! I too have a dog hating cat, but she is better now than she used to be.
The kittens weren't mauled or anything, there wasn't any marks on them that I could see at all.
The dog hasn't chased any cats recently (that I have seen) so maybe things will be better now.(I hope)
The furbabies are doing fine...my husband found another one in the garage...all alone, so I added him to the rest in the big cage in the house. They all have fat tummies, and the moma is feeding them all, even though the other one isn't hers, it is much smaller, I believe it belongs to the other feral.
Moma is going to be spade soon!
post #22 of 23
I wonder if that kitten in the garage was left behind by the other feral? I hope she's not looking for it. It's so sad to think of it out there alone and crying for food. I'm so glad your husband found it and that it has a cozy bed and all the attention it needs. I hate to think of babies getting cold and hungry. I wonder where its mommy went, and why she left him.
post #23 of 23
Debby - a 'good job' to hubby for bringing in this other little lost one. I am glad that he is feeding with your other momma!
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